Making Big Data Fun

Posted on Sep 30, 2014 · 2 min read

Big Data water wordscapeWhile Big Data has fueled some amazing advances in marketing, retail, and healthcare, articles about big data can be a bit…dry. This month, Spotify has been taking a more playful approach to Big Data with their “How Students Listen” campaign. Using aggregated data compiled from verified students who redeemed Spotify’s student discount, Spotify has put together a series of reports to compare how students at different schools consume music differently. In a stroke of PR genius, Spotify released a Top 40 list, which got media attention in local papers and college publications across the country. Pitchfork, Huffington Post,  and USA Today picked up the story, and it was all over Twitter and other social media networks.

While some of the results were predictable- NYU students like hipster music – others were more surprising- The University of Texas is the top R&B school and hates country.  Where did the data come from? As this article in the Chron noted, “In the survey, the number-crunchers looked for schools with the highest rates of students who signed up for Spotify’s discounted premium package last semester, ‘because that plan appeals to students who love music’”.

As you go about your business, you create data in millions of ways. Every time you like a friends’ Facebook status, browse on Amazon or watch a YouTube video, some data is captured. Many your online activities are aggregated so that your identity remains anonymous, but your behaviors are noted and mapped so that researchers, algorithms, and the folks over at Spotify can look for patterns. Big data has other fun applications. It powers your Netflix recommendations, recommends matches on dating sites like, and fills your Facebook news feed with the posts and ads you’re most likely to find interesting.

Depending on your perspective, Big Data can sound scary or boring, but interacting with data collectors and data providers has become a part of our everyday life. We think your data should benefit you, that’s why we work with retailers to offer discounts and special offers to legitimate, qualified customers. To find out what discounts you might be eligible for, check out our list of deals we protect.

Angela Modzelewski by Angela Modzelewski