You may have heard of nomenclature, taxonomy, naming conventions but what are they and what should they mean to you? There may have been times where you are looking at a report for a campaign and are trying to understand what creative ran during it. The creative name on the report is coming up as Creative A and Creative B but how do you know what each creative looked like?  Unless you can see a screen grab it or preview it you probably won’t have a clue. But that’s where a good naming convention comes in!


Where to get started with naming conventions?


A good naming convention will help you organise and search for files as well as be able to understand the data in front of you without having to delve deeper and ask more questions which in turn will save you time. What you need is a good structure.

The structure needs to be consistent for each area, whether that is a campaign name, placement name, creative name or anything else. If you are changing it up you will still be dealing with something that is not organised and confusing, if they are consistent then you will know exactly what you are looking for and understand what you are looking at.

Very importantly every single person needs to follow the structure. If one person is naming campaigns one way, and someone else is naming their ones differently, once again you will be left with an unorganised mess. Once a structure has been created then every person should be trained up on it, so it is followed properly.

Understanding is another important part of naming conventions and for this to happen you need to be descriptive but relevant. The description does not need to be long, just straight to the point. If for example we have our two creatives, one has a red background and another has a blue background, naming them Creative A and Creative B as above will not help as identify which one is which. However, if we name them CreativeA_RedBackground and CreativeB_BlueBackground then already we are able to understand the difference between the two and know what they are about. You could easily have named them just CreativeA_Red and CreativeB_Blue but someone who has not seen the creatives before would know it has something to do with the colour but still not understand exactly what, so if we name it RedBackground and BlueBackground, now they will know the difference between the two will have to do with the background colour.


Coming up with structures for naming conventions


The first thing you need to do is think about all the different aspects that will need to have a structure. For example this could be Creative Names, Campaign Names, Placement Names or UTMs. The structure might have to be different from each of those examples or it could be the same, depending on what you are trying to get from these. You also need to work out whether you will use spaces between words, or for things like file names where spaces can break, will you have underscores or hyphens. For creative names it might be good to take into account the Advertiser, Creative Messaging/Type, Version and creative size. Once you have all that you can put it all together and have something along the lines of Here instead of spaces we have put everything as one word and capitalized the letter of each new word, and the different aspects have been separated by underscores so are all easy to differentiate and understand. For Campaign Names we can have something like creatives where we consider Advertiser, Campaign Name, Date (Month/Year). If we put these all together this will become something like Theatre Advertiser – The Show Must Go On – July 2022. Here we are happy to use spaces between words as this won’t break anything and each aspect has been separated by hyphens. For placement names if we take programmatic campaigns for example we can use DSP Name, Campaign Name, Targeted Audience, Creative Size. This will come up as DSP1_TheShowMustGoOn_TheatreGoers_970x250.


So What?


As mentioned, the above examples relate primarily to programmatic display advertising, however from my experience within digital marketing, the techniques mention can definitely be translated to paid social, paid search and beyond. There is no right or wrong structure the most important thing is you can understand it and is consistent throughout. Invest in a good naming convention structure for everything that you do and then anyone will be able to easily find and understand the contents of files and anyone looking at reports should be able to understand what the data is for – saving everyone involved time and increasing efficiency!

By Hasan Paracha,
Senior Technical Ad Ops Manager

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