The Key to Multi-Channel Campaigns? Be Consistent

Matt Hertig Alight Insights

Everybody loves multi-channel campaigns — they’re the smoothies of marketing! Just combine your favorite individual ingredients into something that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

But pretty much nobody likes reporting on multi-channel campaigns. They generate massive amounts of data, which tends to be disorganized and difficult to bring together as a single, easy-to-analyze dataset.

Unless, of course, you name your campaigns consistently across platforms and channels. 

When you set up a campaign on Facebook, you should use the same name that you did on Twitter, MailChimp, Google Ads and all the other platforms and ad networks that are part of that larger campaign. Sounds simple, but this is one of the single most powerful habits that a marketing team can practice if they want to produce useful, actionable analytics.

For starters, consistent campaign names make it easier for marketing analytics software to unify data from different sources into a common dataset. Even the flashiest piece of martech won’t automatically do this if your campaign names are all over the place. 

And even if you’ve got the time to unify all your data by hand, you might not remember that “spring 2019 campaign” and “blue sneakers special offer” are referencing the same campaign. 

Here are a few best practices that make it even easier to consistently name marketing campaigns across different data sources. 

A good campaign name should contain the most important details about the campaign. 

Your campaign names should consist of a string of descriptive, relevant variables, such as medium, region, product, season and year. Here’s an example:

search|newyork|shoes|summer|2019

At a glance, you know this is a search campaign promoting shoes to a New York audience, running in the summer of 2019.

If you’re using a consistent naming convention across platforms, it’s easy to combine datasets from each one while retaining the ability to filter results by each variable, in case you only want to see results for “shoes” or “newyork.”

This example uses medium, region, product, season and year as variables. But you should spend time considering what variables make the most sense for your reporting and analysis. Maybe something like line of business or SKU would work better. An advertising agency, for instance, probably needs to include its client name in each campaign name. 

All your campaign names should use the same structure. 

However you order the variables in your campaign name, they should be in the same order for all your campaigns, on all ad networks or mediums. Again, this will make it easier to unify all of a campaign’s datasets across platforms. 

Don’t use spaces between the variables in a campaign name. Use another character — a delimiter such as a pipe, semicolon or underscore — to show where one variable ends and the next begins. The delimiter you choose should be one that you are pretty confident won’t appear naturally in your campaign name.

Handling values that include multiple words is often a question that comes up. It’s best to just implement an easy-to-understand rule that is universal, like “no spaces.” Spaces can be replaced with underscores for multiple word values in your campaign names — use “campaign_1” not “campaign 1.”  

Other best practices for multi-channel campaign names

It’s also a good idea to use only lowercase letters when creating variables, so you avoid problems with case-sensitivity. Plus, an all-lowercase rule is easier to remember and follow.

Avoid abbreviations. You might think you can decode those abbreviations later, but it inevitably turns into a mess. It’s just not worth the trouble for what you get back. 

Nobody wants to add another chore to their to-do list. But the time you spend standardizing campaign naming will ultimately result in more accurate and complete data.

This article originally appeared on MarTech Advisor. The full, original article can be found here.

Ready to Take the Next Step? 

Check out Alight’s webinar, “How to Create Better Campaign Names for Better Insight,” and learn powerful, actionable tips for campaign naming.