Preparing for Attribution: How to Build a Data Taxonomy

March 27, 2018 Ginna Hall

Taxonomy: the practice and science of classification

Today’s addressable world requires marketers to move beyond last touch metrics to embrace multi-touch attribution.

Multi-touch attribution (MTA) lets you take advantage of the unique set of data produced by addressable channels to understand your effectiveness at a granular level, by audience, at a rapid cadence.

Making the transition from last-touch metrics to a multi-touch, cross-channel view is an exciting step toward realizing the full potential of your marketing and advertising mix. To make it work, you have to ensure that the data you’re using yields the insights you need.

How Do I Get Started?

Successful data integration needs a taxonomy that can be applied across all inputs. Implementing a multi-touch attribution platform is the perfect time to review and improve your data quality management and standardization practices.

Taxonomies differ across organizations, and there is no right or wrong way to define your taxonomy.

Here are four steps to help you build a taxonomy that maps to your business’ unique terminology and needs.

1. Engage Your Teams

Defining your business’ unique taxonomy will require the input of all your media channel (or region or product line) teams. An important part of building your taxonomy is developing a standard process to engage those teams effectively. This will ensure that your teams don’t define siloed nomenclature that is not consistent across channels, regions or product lines.

2. Gather Your Taxonomy Wish List

A good place to start is by gathering a wish list of dimensions from each channel/region/product line manager. The list can include the dimensions they need to analyze including factors such as media planning, KPIs and reporting requirements for each. You may choose to provide each manager with a template to encourage consistency.

>> Download our ebook Why You Need a Data Taxonomy for a Sample Channel Dimension Template.

3. Streamline and Focus

Once you’ve gathered the taxonomy dimension wish list, you may want to group dimensions by objective for simplicity and focus. For example, if your paid search channel manager wants “keyword” as a dimension and a display channel manager wants “placement” as a dimension, you can consolidate them into a dimension called “placement/keyword.”

4. Build Out Each Channel

Once you have gathered and streamlined your list of dimensions, you can begin to build out each channel (or region or product line).

Here’s an example of a simple taxonomy for a brand that would like to compare the effectiveness of various paid search campaigns and ad groups. You might also want to analyze the performance of a campaign by keywords or by the placement of ads/creatives, but we’ve kept it to four categories here for simplicity.

>> Download our ebook Why You Need a Data Taxonomy for step-by-step instructions.

Brand Q has defined its taxonomy with the terms “Channel”, “Providers”, “Campaigns” and “Ad Groups”.

  • Step 1: List the channel name. In this example. paid search.
  • Step 2: Add the vendor or provider name(s). In this example, Google AdWords.
  • Step 3: List the first dimension you want to track. In this example, campaign name. This will allow the brand to measure the effectiveness of its holiday campaigns on Google AdWords.
  • Step 4: List the ad group names. In this example, the brand groups its keyword by holiday and the first ad group is NewYearsEve_Keywords.

The brand now has a rudimentary taxonomy that standardizes how data about its campaigns is organized, so that the marketing team can easily compare results and optimize performance.

Coherent, Consistent Access to Your Data

Configuring your taxonomy so that it maps to your business’ unique needs is critical to getting the most out of your attribution initiative. With a standardized way to access your data, you will be on your way to getting actionable, audience-driven marketing intelligence.

Learn More

Download our newest ebook Why You Need a Data Taxonomy to learn how define a taxonomy that aligns with your organization’s unique structure and goals.

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