5 Companies That Use Big Data to Support Their Success

September 16, 2020 • Shannon Flynn


Big data technology enables businesses to extract insights from massive sets of information much faster than they could without that specialized help. Here’s a look at six companies that use big data to achieve their goals and make progress in the marketplace. 

1. Netflix

Netflix is no stranger to using big data, but people may be surprised at just how many parts of the website and watching experience rely on the technology to function. For example, the personalized video ranker shows different users content from the entire Netflix collection in certain orders based on their past behavior on the site. 

Some of the things that Netflix tracks through big data include:

  • The search terms entered
  • The date a person watches something
  • The device used to stream the content
  • The timestamp related to when a person pauses the media
  • The specifics surrounding whether a viewer watches the credits
  • The ratings that viewers give to movies and episodes

The data-driven approach is paying off for Netflix. In 2018, the company said that its “Bird Box” thriller film starring Sandra Bullock had the best first week ever for any movie offered through the service. More than 45 million people watched it during that time. 

2. United Airlines

Having a pleasant flight requires having accurate information about takeoffs, arrival times and other crucial information. Representatives from United Airlines realized a problem when they got such details from eight or nine distinct services. 

The brand began using big data to take the information from those various feeds and compile it for the airline to use for dedicated purposes. Customers can also access some of the same content, which helps set expectations for them and reduces their chances of dealing with delays. 

The fields of the big data app update continuously as new information arrives. If a person needs to go to a different gate to board a flight or the airline changes the carousel where that traveler goes to retrieve their luggage, the application shows those alterations. 

3. Amazon

Amazon is another one of the major companies that use big data, and it’s safe to say that the brand could not have reached such extraordinary heights without it.  Have you ever noticed how the e-commerce site suggests products that you didn’t know existed, but somehow those recommendations seem perfect?

That’s all thanks to big data. Amazon collects specifics such as what you search for, how long you stay on internal pages and which products you click on during your visit. It uses all those pieces to build a profile about you and your needs. 

It can offer you products based on your previous behaviors or by pointing you to items like the merchandise already in your cart. For example, if you buy a tent, the site might fill the page with suggestions of a sleeping bag that would pair nicely with that new outdoor product. Amazon also applies big data to its self-service advertising platform that lets companies target desired audience segments. 

4. Grubhub

Food delivery has become a big business, especially with more people interested in enjoying tasty cuisine without cooking it or leaving home to get it. Grubhub is one of the leading names in the sector, and big data contributes to its success. 

The brand collects information about restaurant ratings, order history and favorite dishes. The goal is to present individual users with mouth-watering choices while giving them new options to try. For example, the system may encourage people to try new dishes that are highly rated by other people and similar to other options they ordered previously. 

The company also built an algorithm that can tell a user which takeaway near them delivers the most popular dish in a particular area. It has also released its data-driven findings in fun ways, such as by connecting food trends to national or regional cultural or weather-related events. For example, a city’s residents might order more soup and chili to help them cope with being snowed in during a blizzard. 

5. Uber

Uber is another of the companies that use big data to learn more about their customers and make service adjustments accordingly. The brand taps into databases to match up drivers and riders, plus calculate its per-trip pricing. 

The brand’s data prowess likely played a big part in helping it secure marketing partnerships with companies like Capital One and Hilton. Imagine a scenario where a person staying at a Hilton hotel for a business trip could save on an Uber journey after entering a unique discount code. If the brand has data about why people use Uber, and the percentages show a large segment do so while out of town, such a pairing makes sense. 

Uber has even offered its big data collections to city planners and a national organization that works to find missing children. Doing those things keeps the brand in a top-of-mind position, helping it stay relevant in a marketplace filled with other companies that want a piece of the ride-sharing pie. 

Taking a Customized Approach

There’s no single guaranteed way to use big data to move a company closer to its goals. This list of six companies that use big data gives businesses some ideas of how they might customize the technology to meet needs, however.