The marketing landscape is under constant innovation with increased automation and ‘always on’ campaigns needed to stay afloat in an ‘always online’ world. In order to keep up with a generation of digitally native, socially aware consumers, marketers need to continually evolve and adapt. Pair that with updates in privacy regulations and consumers opting out of advertising, marketers need to place more value on high quality data.
Whether it’s organic marketing or paid advertising, to generate better results you need to get to grips with how you track, measure and learn from your data to better serve your customers. But tracking poor quality data can ruin insights, send you down the wrong path and waste marketing spend.
First, Why is High Quality Data so Important?
Data is the best decision-making tool in any marketer’s backpocket. It’s the only tangible way for us to understand how customers and prospects respond to marketing and media activities. But, the abundance of data we now have to measure can create issues. If you pull insights from your data, edit your campaigns accordingly, and it turns out it was incorrect, then you could waste time, money and resources on the wrong tactics. On top of that, your customers might see your new strategy and no longer think they align with your brand. Meaning you could jeopardize the brand reputation you’ve built.
Companies now put more pressure on marketing analytics to make decisions. But as this has increased, the more I hear from our customers is that they’re struggling to turn this amount of data into quality insights. Don’t just take my word for it; Forrester conducted a survey with 409 respondents in charge of marketing/media performance and measurement decisions. They found that marketers spend a staggering 32% of their time managing data quality, yet “26% of marketing campaigns were hurt by substandard data in the last 12 months.” That’s a large amount of campaigns affected by poor quality data.
How to Improve the Quality of Your Data
From my 10+ years as a marketer, and now a CEO of a platform that helps marketers learn from their data, here are my best practices for high quality marketing data.
Set Up and Organize Your Data Correctly
It’s near impossible to properly measure your results without first having the right processes in place for how you’ll organize your data. This is something you should sort before your campaigns are live and before you begin tracking anything (although for ‘always-on’ campaigns I know that’s not always possible.)
There are three things to make sure you cover when choosing how you’ll organize and manage your data.
My next suggestion is to set up data taxonomy. In marketing and media planning, taxonomy is a structured set of naming conventions that determines how you classify, categorize and standardize your data. Creating a taxonomy helps you categorize your data so you can quickly find it when you need it. It’s like organizing your kitchen cupboard into plates, bowls, mugs, glasses and so on. Picking up a plate when you want to pour your coffee will end up in a mess. Taxonomy makes it easier to identify and analyze your data based on your own business jargon.
But why is marketing data taxonomy so important? People leave data trails that tell you about them as a person, but with so much data we need to do more than measure clicks or impressions. Developing a taxonomy gives you a holistic view of results, for local and global marketing teams.
According to Under Armour “flexibility, operational efficiency and scalability are the three truths of marketing taxonomy” and I couldn’t agree more. Without it, you leave room for human error, and inaccuracies in your data.
2. Naming Conventions
Naming conventions keep your data and campaign accounts structured, making managing and measuring them much easier. Naming conventions are the name you give your campaign in your campaign platforms such as Facebook Ads Manager. The names are built up of different variables that differ for companies and industries. I’d recommend creating a process to suit your team, that helps any team member who works in the accounts or reviews the data, understand what campaign it is.
Creating a naming convention process ensures that everyone follows the same data organization, saving time and giving you better control of your campaign measurement. It’s also a good idea to use them in the UTM parameters so you can be sure the information tracked from UTM links matches the corresponding campaign name.
Naming conventions can be set up using a range of categories, but most commonly include: geographical target, brand, product, objective, ad type, campaign channel, placement, audience segment and more.
For example, if you’re a fashion retailer launching a new dresses campaign in the summer to generate sales using Google Shopping ads and you’re retargeting a previous audience in Europe, your campaign name may look like this:
GA | EU | SALES | DRESS | RETARGET | SUMMER
[channel] – [geo] – [objective] – [product category] – [audience] – [promotion]
Example from Google Search, image source Search Ads 360 Help.
When you’ve decided on your campaign name and you’ve got a framework in place, you’ll be able to track, filter and attribute performance data more accurately. You’ll also be able to spot trends in your data, and easily see what ads, products, locations etc are performing better than others. So you can tweak your campaign accordingly.
3. UTM Tracking
So, you have your naming conventions and taxonomy all set up and good to go. Now, to make sure your data is tracking properly you need UTM parameters that match, validate the data and ensure it’s clean.
Make your job even easier by creating naming conventions, building a unified taxonomy and UTMs in Mediatool. Measure your campaign results in a couple of clicks and rest assured your data is reliable. For more details on how, check out this guide.
Unify Your Marketing Data in One Place
In a time when we have so many tools and screens to look at, if your data is siloed in different platforms or between different teams, it’s likely to be inaccurate. You’re also doing yourself a disservice as it’s overwhelming to continually have to scour through data sources to collect it yourself.
The best way to make sure your data is error-free is to unify it in one marketing management platform. By breaking down data silos, analyzing a wide range of data sources and channels is more manageable. It also gives you a better understanding of your customers, helping you make better decisions.
Better yet, use a platform like Mediatool and you can organize and report at once. Giving you more time to create innovative campaigns and smash your goals.
High Quality Data Leads to High Quality Results
75% of marketers use their reports to show how campaigns directly impact business revenue. Make sure your reports are painting the right picture, by improving the quality of your data.
The secret to high quality data is how you nurture it. If you want better results, you need to look after your data and take it seriously. Define what high quality data means for your organization and don’t let the standard slip. If you’re reading this and you realize you have issues you need to fix, reach out to me and the team for advice. It might take some time to properly set your data up for success but for high quality, reliable data that helps drive performance, it’s worth it.