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The Difference Between Big Data and Small Data

Big Data refers to large volumes of data from which scientists extract information. To a lesser extent, we hear about Small Data. However, it is a concept that should not be left aside because it is the option that some companies might be looking for -especially if they do not handle large volumes of data-.

Small Data is considered, then, as very specific data sets. Its quantity and format make it accessible, informative, and actionable for people who are not necessarily data scientists. Small Data ranges from metrics obtained from social media. This data brings with it a change in the way companies use the data they collect and use.

“Big Data refers to large volumes of data. Small Data as very specific data sets.”

To determine whether you should implement Big Data or Small Data in your company, you need to know what each one is about and the differences between them.

What are the differences?


The first difference is the volume of information each contemplates. While Big Data is characterized by processing large amounts of data, Small Data deals with low volumes.


Small Data is more affordable. This is because it is not necessary to acquire expensive and complex systems that process the raw material to obtain conclusions, as with Big Data.


With Small Data, there is no need for specialized departments or data scientists in charge of algorithms to process all the data, as in the case of Big Data. Although this does not mean that professionals in the field are excessive when dealing with Small Data, as they will always have the best tools to extract information and help you make decisions.


The variety is understood as the types of data contemplated by Small and Big Data. Big Data focuses on general data and information, such as facts. While Small Data focuses more on details, for example, the reasons that lead to those facts, i.e., why users behave as they do.


Continuing with the previous point. While Small Data focuses more on the selectivity of data obtained from users and consumers, it is more likely to get audience segmentation or consumer profiles. Because of this exact extraction of customer behaviors, Small Data is preferred when you want to personalize user experiences.

On the other hand, the information extracted with Big Data has more general purposes. And which are helpful when we talk about large sets of people.


The ROI is higher when there is no need to invest in teams of professionals or specialized programs to process large amounts of data. That is another difference between Small and Big Data.

Small Data and Big Data have different characteristics and purposes. One is not better than the other.

With all of the above in mind, you already have notions about what data your company needs, whether Small Data or Big Data. Not because one is better, but because each has different characteristics and purposes.

XalDigital is a company that helps you to process all the data to gain insights for better decision-making. Learn more about our services on our website.

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