Big data has gone global, and is already making a profound impact on industries around the world. It is largely a silent trend that is poised to define 2015 and beyond – in particular in the digital marketing sector. Big data represents an opportunity to change your business operating modus and truly become a metrics-driven organisation leveraging deep insights to make better decisions about your global advertising spend.

As marketers increasingly work on international campaigns, here are five ways they can use big data to drive success in the year ahead.

1. Figuring out mobile marketing

With mobile devices now accounting for the majority of internet media consumption across the globe, this is a prime area for growth. However, we still don’t have a clear understanding of how to maximise mobile market — and that’s where big data can help. Data is being used for cross-device targeting, honing in on your audiences, and inspiring creative strategies that work. The mobile channel is growing internationally, so now is the time to understand its role in the consumer journey.

2. Cracking the personalisation code

Personalisation means more than tailoring an email to your customer base. Big data technology is allowing for a 360-degree view of the customer, so why not dig deeper and really customise your approach?  Site-side promotions, CRM functionality, discounting, and creative elements are all leveraging the same segments and profiles built from purchase, browsing, and joined international demographic data. Reaching your customers where they are, how they like, and when they are making purchasing decisions is easier now than ever before.

3. Creating a unified data view

The value of big data relies in having the data sets together to achieve a 360-degree view of the marketing activities and customers. However, the reality for most digital marketing departments out there is that their data lives in independent silos. There is often a separate website analytics view that may be used for marketing decisions. The CRM system is completely separate, and more crucially, all of the marketing buy data lives in dozens of disjointed systems. In 2015, we expect marketers to take a major leap toward by unifying this data into a centralised, singular and trusted view of all their marketing data. Whether this means working with media partners in their own currency or utilizing metrics across many geographical locations at once, today’s digital marketer needs one hub that meets international needs.

4. Adoption of attribution methodologies

There is an old saying in marketing, “I know 50% of my marketing spend is working, but I don’t know which one.” With the advent of digital marketing and tracking, figuring this out became easier. However, historically the data was based on the idea that only the last click or final ad view should get 100% of the credit for a sale. We have moved on from the old days and from “last click gets all of the credit” to an era where we can actually prove the contribution of each media provider in the consumer journey. Using high tech modelling tools, marketers can build a model that works for their business to give credit where credit is due in the consumer’s path to purchase.

5. Gaining advantage through predictive analytics

In a recent Forbes article, Marc Benioff called our era the “AI spring.” I could not agree more. The inherent problem with big data lies in the fact that it is big. We are not equipped to manually review it to find the interesting correlations and revelations that are hidden within it. That is where predictive algorithms and data mining comes in to play. We’re already seeing vendors like Google incorporate artificial intelligence and it is incredibly useful if you already have the raw data. This year you will see more and more vendors adding predictive elements to their offerings and companies looking to gain an advantage to deploy these methodologies internally or through their technology partners.

Companies that drag their feet and ignore the big data era run the risk of being left behind as their competitors gain the advantage of better, data-driven decisions on a global scale. It starts with marketing, but truly benefits the whole business. Keep in mind that common sense is the control mechanism that keeps data science in check. Never number crunch without the safety net of common sense.