A lot of people who work in business and technology have been throwing around the phrase “big data” recently. But what the heck does that mean anyway, and why should you care?
Companies of all sizes are realizing that they have huge and growing piles of data, and they use the phrase “big data” to describe this phenomenon. Big data means different things to different people. For a small business, it might just be a couple of terabytes of information that have maxed out the existing IT storage capabilities. For a very large organization it might be petabytes—or more—of information that is changing every day.
Big data poses some significant challenges—storing and keeping track of huge amounts of digital information can be complicated and expensive. But it also presents an opportunity. Businesses are realizing that buried somewhere in all that data are valuable insights that could help them improve their businesses.
Recently at ClickBank, we’ve been taking some time to calculate the size of our “big data.” We’ve been totaling up our clients, products and sales, as well as looking at how quickly each of these areas is growing.
But even with an infographic, it can sometimes be difficult to grasp just how big a given number is. So in this blog post, we’re taking a closer look at the size of ClickBank’s data and what it means for your business.
Currently, ClickBank has about 5,403,628 clients (although it’s getting higher every day). That’s A LOT of vendors and affiliates. I don’t know about you, but I find it really hard to picture 5,403,628 people.
So, how big is that?
As we said in the infographic, that’s about as many people as live in the country of Finland. And not only that, it’s bigger than the population of 30 different U.S. states (and Puerto Rico). In fact, it’s bigger than the population of Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Delaware and Montana combined.
If all the ClickBank clients stood in a single file line holding hands, it would stretch from our headquarters in Boise, Idaho, all the way to Sao Paulo, Brazil (assuming, of course, that we found some way for them to stand across the Panama Canal). And for those of you who aren’t real clear on where Boise and Sao Paulo are located, it would also be a line long enough to stretch from New York to L.A. and back again.
If our ClickBank clients were particularly good acrobats and all stood one on top of the other, they would make a tower 956 times as tall as Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth.
Or maybe sports are more your style? All the ClickBank clients together would fill up the arena at Madison Square Garden about 284 times… or Wrigley field about 151 times… or the Rose Bowl about 59 times.
And if all of our clients took a field trip together, and we loaded them all up in buses, it would take 60,040 to hold them all. If, instead, we put them all on the world’s largest passenger jetliners, we would need at least 6,335 planes (and we would need even more if we let some of them sit in first class seats).
And we’re adding a new account about every 50 seconds. That’s 1,728 per day, 12,096 per week and 63,720 per year.
Now, not all of these clients have booming businesses yet, but we know they aspire to. And ClickBank handles the data for those businesses. Starting to sound “big” yet?
We also mentioned on the infographic that ClickBank has about 1.1 million products, which is about 10 times more than you would find in the average Walmart. Or 27.5 times as many as you would find in a Home Depot.
If you put each of those products in a standard shirt box, the stack would reach 34 miles high (that’s more than 5 times as high as Mount Everest, for those of you who are keeping track).
Of course, as you know, most of the products sold through ClickBank are digital products, which means it might make more sense to put each one on a DVD. In that case, it would make a stack 4,308 feet tall, or about as high as Mt. Vesuvius.
We add a new product about every six minutes, which is 240 per day, 1680 per week, 87,600 per year.
Not tired of big numbers yet?
In ClickBank’s 15 year history, we’ve sold about 100 million products. That’s about twice as many as all the iPhone 5’s Apple has sold.
By comparison, it took McDonald’s about 21 years to sell their first 100 million hamburgers. (But Taco Bell sold that many Doritos Locos Tacos in ten weeks, so we do have some room for improvement.)
Microsoft has sold about 100 million licenses of Windows 8.
And people have bought 100 million copies of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. All the James Bond books together have sold about that many copies, and that’s about twice the total sales of all the Hunger Games books.
No album in history has every sold 100 million copies. The top-seller, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, sold about half as many copies as we have sold products. And we’re about triple the sales for The Beatles’ Abbey Road.
If you want to compare our sales to movies, 100 million is about how many people went to see The Return of the Jedi and The Empire Strikes Back in a theater. And it’s twice as many as went to see Toy Story 3.
Of course, our sales are also growing. We make another sale about every three seconds. 28,800 per day, 201,500 per week, 10,512,000 per year. We’ve probably made at least 10 sales since you started reading this blog (a little less if you’re a fast reader).
The Bottom Line
At this point, you might be asking, “What’s the point of looking at all of those huge numbers?”
It comes down to this: ClickBank has more data about affiliate marketing than just about anyone else on the planet. That’s important because, as a lot of companies are discovering, analyzing your data can give you valuable insights about what works for your business and what doesn’t.
ClickBank’s big data means we can offer vendors and affiliates more than just a platform for doing business on the Web—we can offer help for making your Web business succeed.
We’re learning from our big data all the time. And we’re more than happy to share with our clients so that you can learn from our big data too.