Digital Data Standards – What They Are, & How To Implement Them

It’s often said the web is ruled by digital data standards. And yet, if you looked at many organizations, you’d think this wasn’t the case. But what are digital data standards? Who does and doesn’t abide by the rules? Why are data standards important? And how do you learn and implement digital data standards in your business?

In this post, we will answer all these questions and more. And let you know everything you need to know about digital data standards.

What are digital data standards?

Digital data standards refer to the naming conventions and values that have been agreed upon as a global set of expectations for global digital data. They have agreed for global use to improve digital analytics through improved data integrity and information sharing. And from the learning, communication, and data flow this facilitates, they help by ensuring improved user experiences of digital technology.

Abiding by digital data standards ensures that organizations. No matter how large or small they are. Can work towards common goals. And with a shared understanding of what they are aiming to achieve. There are numerous cross-organizational benefits to applying and abiding by digital data standards. These benefits include:

1. Consistency

Consistent data means consistent results. It also makes it easier to access the right data whenever you need it. And to be sure the data you are using is clean and fit for purpose.

2. Improved communication

Using common standards makes it easier to communicate. When people work in silos, it’s easy for similar, or even precisely the same, words to be used define different things. When teams come together, this can cause massive problems. And if this was used across the digital world, this can and does cause even more dramatic issues, risks, and dangers.

3. Efficiency

It’s easy to see how improved communication can lead to greater efficiency. With clear standards in place, governing data becomes much easier. It makes it easier for people to understand data from broad areas of your business. And means that you save yourself from wasting time creating multiple naming conventions that fast become unwieldy.

4. Knowledge

With improved communication. And more efficient working practices inspired by consistency. It is much easier to learn in greater detail about all aspects of your business. It also makes it easier to monitor success over time and optimize processes.

So whether you learn from a mistake or something, you’ve done well. Standardizing your digital data practices will help protect your business’s future.

Why are digital data standards missing?

Unfortunately, despite all these benefits, many organizations don’t seem to recognize their importance. There has also been little research on how leading companies are seeking to address the lack of digital data standards. This makes it hard to understand to what extent the problem exists. And how people can effectively address issues with their underdeveloped, or worse, missing, standards for digital data.

In a world where over 7 billion people are expected to be using mobile phones this year in 2021. It’s incredible to think that more problems don’t arise from the lack of abidance to digital data standards. Indeed, wholescale changes to digital privacy. Combined with innumerable new digital devices being designed, created, and manufactured daily. This means enforcing digital data standards becomes more vital every day.

From 10,000 platforms offering marketing technology solutions. To 1,000s more offering software applications from areas as diverse as sales and human resources. Platform after platform comes to the market without shared standards, leading to fragmentation of the digital standards. And with cloud sharing now being added to the mix. It is easy to see how organizations can quickly get lost in the world of digital data standards.

Why are digital data standards necessary?

Whilst consumers may benefit at one level from this increase in choice in terms of media platforms and digital channels. The lack of shared standards across these new technologies poses a threat to the ability of these platforms to deliver satisfaction when it comes to customer experiences. There are also risks to meeting the data privacy requirements of customers. As well as risks for the companies themselves in terms of optimization and business intelligence.

Digital data standards would help to defend against these risks. And make it easy to deliver integrated omnichannel experiences for users. Indeed, digital data standards make it possible to integrate data across a variety of digital assets to improve digital experiences for consumers and businesses alike. From campaigns to content and coupons to catalogs. It’s vital to ensure your metadata is consistent.

To understand this, it is informative to consider how a digital campaign might be run. For example, to promote a product on an eCommerce website. Imagine how many of these sorts of campaigns might need to be run. How often these campaigns might need to be run at the same time. And how, without consistent digital data standards, it would be possible (or impossible) to learn from each campaign.

With this idea in mind, it’s clear to see that digital data standards help to ensure:

  • Trusted data: If you have standards in place, then it is easy for your analysts to trust your data analytics. With well-established standards in place, they will know your data is clean and ready for analysis. Helping to ensure their time is spent delivering insights rather than cleaning data for weeks on end.
  • Easy access: Digital standards help to ensure you always know where your assets are. What your best digital assets are. And ensuring streamlined access to your assets for real-time delivery.
  • Cross-channel integration: With digital data standards in place, your omnichannel integration will be clean and consistent. This means learning from sales online, by phone, or in the store will all be feeding into learning for the future.
  • Optimization: Clean content metadata ensures campaigns can be consistently improved upon. Both in real-time and into the future. Improved knowledge capture from digital ad metadata improves the potential for personalization. And long-term optimization of campaigns.

How to implement digital data standards

Organizations that recognize the importance of digital data standards have started to create something known as a taxonomy. This enables them to take note of all of their existing digital assets. And start to bring it into order. So that as they begin to move into using cloud-based systems, they can standardize the complete flow-through of data. And maximize the rewards from all of their datasets.

So how do you stay ahead of organizations by implementing digital data standards by creating your own taxonomy? Here, we outline seven steps to creating your own taxonomy:

Step 1: Identify Stakeholders

Who is involved in digital asset management? You will need to ensure you know all the critical stakeholders before designing and implementing your taxonomy.

Step 2: Research & Discovery

You will need to set up meetings with key stakeholders to see how existing practices function. This will help you to map out how digital assets and metadata is currently being used. And help ensure the resulting taxonomy is useful to those you need to bring along with you when establishing a unified system.

Step 3: Define your Core fields of Business

You need to establish clear structures of how digital data will be managed in the future.

Step 4: Map out your taxonomy

This essentially entails creating your own data dictionary listing all your metadata. How terms are used and who by. What defines each concept. And how they are applied.

Step 5: Review your taxonomy

Once you know how things exist as they are. You can start to consider how they should be. This means finding commonalities and keeping these in the place where possible. But also flagging where current systems are operating differently and finding ways to unify practices across channels, throughout teams, and enterprise-wide.

Step 6: Implementation

This is the stage where your groundwork from steps 1-3 will shine through. If you’ve involved the right people throughout. Then it will be much easier to bring everyone with you when implementing your taxonomy.

Step 7: Full launch

This is where changes go live across systems, platforms, channels, and all your teams in practice. It’s vital that everything is tested thoroughly before this so there are no significant mishaps.


This was a whole lot to take in. But overall, when it comes to digital data standards, it’s clear that most industries and organizations have a long way to go. But without having data standards in place, you will set your business up for a fall. By creating a taxonomy for your digital assets, you can get ahead of the game and protect your digital assets and company successes long into the future.

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