Free data is fairly self explanatory. But what are the best ways to acquire free data and how can businesses use it?
For starters, when we talk about free data in a business data analytics context, it is most often third party data we are referring to. Third party data is data that is collected by outside parties with no direct connection to your business or end customers. However, these types of data sets are often valuable pieces to augment internal and other bought data sets with information that would be impossible to collect otherwise from within your normal business activities.
Free, third-party data sets are often made available by public resources such as governmental institutions, non-profit organizations, or academic institutions. But other sets come from private businesses where there is some obvious benefit to sharing certain data sets publicly (one example would be the MOZ, which shares general SEO data with the public).
Types of Free Data
Free data comes in many varieties, sometimes via raw datasets and other times in more structured packages. For example, free weather data for a certain geography can help B2C retailers tailor certain clothing or accessory offers towards specific weather period where specialized clothing may be more popular. Data around foot and auto traffic in certain locales can help a franchise better determine where to expand. And demographic data around average income or housing prices can help better determine what to stock in a certain bricks-and-mortar locale or even how to better geo-target online offers.
To acquire or share free data, you need, of course, a platform from which to both load and access the data. This is where the concept of the or data exchange comes into play. A data marketplace is a online transactional location that facilitates the sharing, buying and selling of data. As more businesses look for augmented data to help better inform their market strategies and tactics, cloud-based data marketplaces are appearing at a rapid rate to satisfy this demand.
The Snowflake Marketplace gives data scientists, business intelligence and analytics professionals, and anyone who desires data-driven insights, access to a growing number of live and ready-to-query data sets from third-party data providers and data service providers. In addition to providing a platform for data vendors and consumer to meet, the Snowflake Marketplace provides a wide range of free data sets that Snowflake users can easily access to help augment their internal data and improve their decision-making.