What is Unstructured Data?

The Data of Everyday Life

IDC estimates that by 2020, the digital universe will contain more than 40 zettabytes of data. That’s 40,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. They also estimate that 90 percent of what we call “Big Data” is unstructured data.

Unstructured data includes e-mail, tweets, electronic documents, video, audio files, web pages, and all of their associated metadata. Almost all of the data we produce in a digital world is unstructured. Yet most programmatic marketing platforms can only handle structured data, specifically the audience segment.

The Segment Workaround

From the rise of targeted marketing in the late 1990s to now, audience segments were used because the technology and processing power to mine unstructured data had not yet been developed. Pre-packaged audience segments have some significant limitations in programmatic marketing:

  • Data source is unknown
  • No data visibility
  • Limited insight into recency of intent or action
  • Optimization can only occur at the segment level

A Better Solution: Direct, Unstructured Data

As audience buying evolved, so did the technologies designed for processing unstructured data. At Simpli.fi, we purpose-built a direct data network and a complete programmatic marketing platform specifically for unstructured data. The result: we can break free from the black box of pre-packaged audience segments and make every individual data element, including recency, visible and valuable again.