What is Unstructured Data?


In an age where we live most of our lives digitally, companies have access to all sorts of data that can help them drive sales, improve operations and beat the competition. But what exactly is this data, how do you get hold of it and what should you be doing with it?

What is unstructured data?

Data comes in several different forms, structured, semi-structured and unstructured. Put simply, unstructured data is any kind of data or information that doesn’t fit into a structured database.

How can I get hold of unstructured data for my business?

Unstructured data can be found in an endless list of various sources such as video, audio, text and image files. It can also be found in various formats including emails, powerpoint presentations, word documents, social media posts and call center transcripts. You can even find unstructured data from website servers, mobile apps, manufacturing equipment and indeed anything that is connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). There are many data aggregation platform through which data can be acquired from diverse industries.

But having access to all this data is just the beginning. In order to make full use of this information, you need to understand how to collect, collate and analyze the data. This is where you should consider using outside help. Hiring a team of experts who source and analyze this kind of data day in day out will help you understand the information and utilize it accordingly.

How should my business use unstructured data?

Unstructured data can give you vital and extremely valuable information about customers’ likes, dislikes, purchasing behaviors, browsing habits and so much more. By correctly analyzing this information, you can build your business and help it evolve around what your customers want and need.

Eliminating technical issues

One fantastic use of unstructured data is for self-improvement. By analyzing data about your customers and looking at how they interact with your business, you can identify your weaknesses, So for example, if you have weak servers, technical issues or other issues that affect the customer’s experience on your website, you can identify and address the issue.

Market research

Unstructured data can also help you scope out and stay ahead of the competition. With access to the right data, you can carry out market research on a massive scale. From pricing information across several different regions, currencies and languages to competitors’ successful and unsuccessful products or marketing campaigns, you can use this information to put yourself head and shoulders above the rest.

Targeted advertising

Targeted marketing is also something that can benefit greatly from unstructured data analysis. By taking a closer look at your customers’ likes, dislikes, browsing habits, social media engagement and more, you can design your marketing efforts around the people you want to attract. Using unstructured data to inform your targeted marketing campaigns can help you get the most out of your budget by reaching your targets in the right place and at the right times.

Customer relations & satisfaction

And finally, you can improve your customer service by using unstructured data. Using this kind of data, you can uncover positive and negative feedback about every aspect of your business. From products and services to pricing and website faults, you can find out exactly what’s working for your customers and what isn’t. This gives you a very clear and almost real-time idea of your brand perception amongst customers. And you can then use this information to improve your customer service, boost your brand’s image and profile and drive sales.


Unstructured data can open up a wealth of information that can help you improve your own operations as well as beat the competition. By correctly analyzing the information you can find out exactly how your customers are interacting with your business and identify any areas of improvement. You can also use the information to inform your marketing campaigns and help you get the most out of your budget by getting in front of your customers at the optimal time. And finally, you can use unstructured data to find out what your competitors are doing. From pricing to marketing campaigns, you can use the information you get to advise your own strategies and place you ahead of the competition.

It’s important to remember however that whilst unstructured data is right in front of us on a daily basis and can be captured from an endless list of sources, knowing how to collate and analyze the data can be tricky. In order to get the most out of your unstructured data, you should invest money in hiring a team of experts to collate and analyze it for you. Despite costing money to do, the opportunities and information it will unlock will be well worth the effort.

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