Naming Conventions: The Secret Weapon Of The In-House Programmatic Practitioner

Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Katrin Ribant, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Datorama.

You’re a digital media practitioner, and you’ve joined a company that has decided to in-house its media execution.

You are now accountable for driving the strategy and execution of a complex marketing machine that may include paid search and SEO, across web and mobile. With great power comes great responsibility.

Adding to this, you may need to coordinate asset production with an in-house creative team or agencies while ensuring the web and mobile teams have landing pages, apps and microsites ready when ads go live. You’ll need to cultivate an infrastructure of tools and processes to craft your media strategy and execute on it, regardless of whether you own the entire strategy and execution or use agencies or external partners to handle part of the work.

Once you have mapped out all the pieces of the marketing puzzle, you will need to make sure you have the appropriate mar tech stack. Likely this will include a bidding engine, a demand-side platform (DSP), a data management platform (DMP), an ad server, a marketing automation platform and a way to measure performance across all activities.

The cornerstone of the reporting, optimization, insights generation and, ultimately, action process is the not-so-sexy setting up of rules that dictate the naming conventions used across execution. Without this, you can kiss your valuable insights goodbye.

After seeing countless iterations of this over the years, a few common but preventable mistakes stand out. For example, never underestimate the power of a typo. Make sure you check all spelling and abbreviations. This may seem obvious, but think of all the possible ways to misspell Google: Goggle, gogle, goog and so on. The same goes for abbreviations: If you’re advertising in the UK, are you recording campaigns under UK, GB, GBR or England?

Often, it’s helpful to create a coding system and look-up table to make your life easier.

Order your elements wisely. Think about how your business is run. Do you tend to organize your departments by category, brand or product? The best way to order your elements is with the business unit hierarchies that are most widely used across the company.

Take, for example, country, category/brand, product, channel, etc.

If you are looking at a multimarket setup and you need to accommodate local needs, think about the insights you want to have globally and mandate that those elements are first in your naming conventions, thereby leaving local markets to add elements to campaign names after the mandatory global ones.

Next, you’ll need to decide the level at which you’re going to set the product or business line targeting in your execution platforms. Ideally, this will be between the campaign level – also called line item – and the media-buy level – also called ad set, ad group, placement, etc. Make sure you have standardized naming conventions across each level.

Here is a sample campaign level ID: US, Auto, Car Brand, Car Model, Awareness.

Pick one delimiter. Now that you’ve selected the main fields you’ll be analyzing, you need to pick a standard delimiter that will be used as the separator of each element. I recommend using an underscore.

Here’s an example with the delimiter inserted: US_Auto_CarBrand_CarModel_Awareness.

Although tedious, it is important to remember that this is the foundation of your ability to measure marketing performance, demonstrate results and find those all-so-important nuggets of insight. For example, by consistently naming the same audiences and creative concepts across your platforms, you can have visibility into the platforms that performed best for your campaign and specific target audience.

  • US_Auto_CarBrand_CarModel_Awareness_Adults55+_Google
  • US_Auto_CarBrand_CarModel_Awareness_Adults55+_Facebook

You can also investigate targeting trends for a particular video creative that’s gaining traction on YouTube and accelerate it with a paid campaign. Then, you can share these newfound insights with cross-functional product management and sales teams.

The lesson? With the right naming conventions, anything is possible.

Follow Datorama (@Datorama) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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