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One of the most overwhelming experiences a marketer can have is trying to make sense of unorganized mountains of performance data. The average marketer collects data from dozens of sources and channels across social media, search, adwords, web, display ads and many more. Not only is this data collected from multiple sources, these grouping of sources are linked to multiple campaigns that target multiple audiences in different regions. The time and effort it takes to sort, organize and analyze this data can be daunting. Especially if there is no system set in place to unify naming conventions and categorize the data into a navigable hierarchy of information.

In this post, I will go over the basic steps it takes to build an effective and scalable system that will properly name, categorize and organize marketing data that is easy to sort and analyze. The two key areas I will cover are:

  • the types of tags that can be used to identify and categorize marketing data
  • how to build your own tag hierarchy

To get started, lets talk about the different types of tags that can be added to each layer.

Geo Tag Examples

This tag represents the physical location of your brand, product, campaign or demographic. It is useful when working with marketing campaigns that span different regions, continents or countries. Like any other tag, the naming convention should remain consistent no matter what labels you decide to use.

Continent: North America
South America

Country: US
Country: Brazil

Region: North East
Region: Midwest

State: NY
State: CA

Remember to keep the naming conventions uniform. If you want to use abbreviations for labeling states, stick to the abbreviations. The accuracy of your reporting depends heavily on the consistency of your tags and how to name each layer.

How Brand Tags Can be Used

This tag layer is used to help companies identify their different brands. It is a relatively simple tag to use and should be included in any marketing campaign whether you have one brand or 100 brands. The benefit of including this tag even if you have only 1 brand is that it makes a competitor comparison possible.

Another tag at the brand level is the “Type” tag. Not every company will need this tag but it is helpful in differentiating between the types of products that fall within multiple brands. For example, a company like Pernod Ricard owns a number of different brands that each fall into a certain type of alcoholic beverage. With the proper tags, you can sort by type of alcohol and then dive into the individual brands within that type.

Type: Distilled Beverages
Type: Whisky

Brand: Jameson
Brand: Jack Daniels
Brand: Bullet

Campaign Level Tag Examples

Campaign level tags identify the different campaigns being used throughout the marketing organization as well as the different strategies being used within each campaign. Marketers who utilize or test multiple strategies per campaign should include a ‘Strategy’ tag in their campaign level naming convention.

Campaign: Visa Checkout
Campaign: The Oscars
Campaign: Share a Coke

Strategy: Awareness
Strategy: Interest
Strategy: Loyalty

A helpful rule for organizing your campaign level tags is to include the categorizing label before your campaign and strategy names. That means including ‘Campaign’ and ‘Strategy’ in each of the labels. Your systems may not know that “Visa Checkout” is a campaign, a strategy, a region, or a state. It is important to make the distinction clear in your tags.

Channel Level Tag Examples

Most if not all marketing campaigns are executed across multiple channels. The channel level tags are used to identify and sort performance data based on the channels and types of channels used. Channels can be grouped into types that include social channels, search channels or paid channels which could include Facebook, Twitter or AdWords. The more detailed the channel level tags are, the easier it is to analyze.

Channel: Facebook
Double Click

Channel Type: Paid
Channel Type: Social
Channel Type: Sponsored

Tagging in Action

Once the tags and naming conventions of the labels have been established and agreed upon, the next step is to begin the implementation of the tagging hierarchy. The best way to go about building your hierarchy is to determine the level of granularity each tag will represent. Below you’ll find a standard yet effective hierarchy to start with that includes the tag types discussed above.

Level 0 = Geo Tag (Continent, Region, State, City, etc)

Level 1 = Geo Tag + Type Tag (Whisky, Apparel, Shoes, Frozen Goods, etc)

Level 2 = Geo Tag + Type Tag + Brand Tag (Coke, T-Mobile, Visa, Jameson, etc)

Level 2 = Geo Tag + Type Tag + Brand Tag + Campaign Tag (Visa Checkout, Share a Coke, etc)

Level 3 = Geo Tag + Type Tag + Brand Tag + Campaign Tag + Strategy Tag (Awareness, Interest, Loyalty)

Level 4 = Geo Tag + Type Tag + Brand Tag + Campaign Tag + Strategy Tag + Channel Tag (Facebook, LinkedIn, AdWords, YouTube, etc)

The End Result

Continent: North America | Region: Midwest | State: Ohio | Type: Whisky | Brand: Jameson | Campaign: Drink Responsibly | Strategy: Awareness | Channel: YouTube

With this in place, sorting the performance data based on any of the tag types becomes manageable and easy.

You should aim to build your tag hierarchy with at least 3 levels of information. The more tags you include in your naming convention the more accurate and easier it will be to sort your data. This short post only includes a few of the many types of tag categories that can be used to further organize marketing data. There are tags that will help differentiate demographics, budgets, display ad variations and even messaging. But before moving into more complex naming conventions, it is important to build a consistent foundation of tags that are understandable and most of all, searchable.

Hungry to dig deeper into measurement? Check out our Executive Guide!


Next-Gen Marketing Measurement