W3C Digital Data Layer - What is it, and why should I care?

In December 2013 the W3C published the final report of the "Customer Experience Digital Data Layer" specification and Fresh Relevance immediately added support. Great, you may say, but what is it, and why should I care?

The Digital Data Layer (DDL) is a standardised way of exposing data on your eCommerce site. If you implement to the specification, it will mean that you will not have to duplicate your work to expose data to multiple providers (e.g. Fresh Relevance, an analytics provider and a tag management provider).

We were delighted about this development as it had huge implications on our customers and what they can do with Fresh Relevance.  There are two main areas where the DDL impacts our customers:

  1. Speed of implementation, as product data is exposed in a standard way that we recognise and can work with immediately.
  2. Extended use of real-time data and decision making in creative and effective ways.  This is super exciting, so let's touch on it in a bit more detail.

In the past personalised communication required insight from data that sat often in multiple systems.  Utilising the data was a back end integration / aggregation task.  This is complex and expensive and was not attainable by all but the largest, best resourced organisations. Fresh Relevance utilises cutting edge architecture designed specifically to leverage real-time data.  The DDL now allows more data to be exposed at the front end and we can collect and leverage that in some very cool ways.  We need to re-think what we call Product Data, as the DDL can be easily extended to expose different types of marketing-ready data on the font end for real-time processing.  For example, if a product appeals to a specific customer type, say so in the DDL.  This allows us to update your customer records with real-time browse data in real-time.  Sounds simple, and it is but it does require a way to manage marketing-ready metadata on web pages....enter the DDL!

This is a major jump forward for real-time marketing and gives more momentum to the new paradigm of real-time data management.

Fresh Relevance fully integrates with the new specification, which we also had a part in forming.

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(Updated in 2016 to use past tense and add links).

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12/16/2013 Product Info