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Why Data is the New Oil — and Why It Isn’t

AdSpark Team - 5 years ago

In today’s Information Age, data is a valuable commodity. Companies, both private and government, need an efficient data system to function well and charter progress. But it was the rise of the tech titans like Facebook and Google that showed us how an immensely valuable asset data is.



How they were able to see its fundamental value during the rise of the digital economy, and learned how to mine, extract, and use data helped them reap its untapped potential, ushering in a new era of society where everything is powered by data; not unlike a century ago when the first commercially-viable oil well was discovered and triggered the modern oil industry as we know it.


This is why many industry experts believe that data is the new oil.


The comparisons don’t end there, however.


Where similarities meet


If data is the new oil, one has to remember that oil, if unrefined, is still sludge; it first has to be processed to become of value. Likewise, without thoughtful data processing, analysis, and insighting, data will remain as just numbers. As Adam Kleinberg (CEO, Traction) so succinctly put it, “Too often it is assumed that data is the same thing as insight. But without understanding, data is just noise.


Luckily, much like how the oil industry boom brought about various new innovations that made use of oil (kerosene lamps and motor cars, for starters), the rise of data has also encouraged companies to make use of information in more creative ways.


For example, the videos that platforms like YouTube recommend to you are personalized based on your previous views, and the ads that you are served on any website are likely specifically catered to you based on your browsing behavior.



Whether we notice it or not, data and oil make the world as we know it go ‘round.


Where lines are drawn


However, one could argue that data, as a resource, is even better than oil.


While oil is controlled by a few large corporations, a large chunk of data isn’t entirely limited to a few. Companies, irrespective of their size, can make use of internal and external data through infrastructure. In fact, private individuals can also have access to, and make use of, data.


One thing that helps democratize data access is the fact that it is a non-rivalrous resource. Data can be shared and used between many individuals or companies — you can provide websites access to your browser cookies while still able to keep that information on your device.


And the fact that that very same data is probably being stored and processed many times over in various ways is probably making it more powerful. For example, Spotify streams are aggregated to rank the top-ranking songs on the platform.



Beyond this, Spotify also processes the same data to give you your yearly #SpotifyWrapped playlist, and it has probably also used your data to recommend songs you like to someone who has the same taste in music as you.


Moving forward with data


But perhaps the most exciting thing about living in the Information Age is: data is practically infinite. While the world is using oil at such breakneck speed that scientists are now looking for alternative sources of energy, we’ve only ever actually used and analyzed .5% of all data available.


At AdSpark, our mission is to try and wield as much data to power your campaigns. That means collecting and analyzing consumption and conversation data across the web and social media, using that information to plan creatives and media, and using audience data to distribute these campaigns across various channels.


If you’d like to learn more about our solutions, you can check out our portfolio of products and services, or contact us through our website or through email.







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Rajan, A. (2017). Data is not the new oil. Retrieved from
Marr, B. (2018). Here’s why data is not the new oil. Retrieved from
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Palmer, M. (2006). Data is the new oil. Retrieved from
Kleinberg, A. (2018). Marketers’ qualitative insights get lost in big data noise. Retrieved from
New, J. (2018). Why do people still think data is the new oil? Retrieved from
Guess, A.R. (2015). Only 0.5% of all data is currently analyzed. Retrieved from
AdSpark Team

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