What comes first – calculation or aggregation?

The value of data is not a secret anymore. Neither is the necessity of leveraging data for decision making or that the closer you are to the source of data generation, the better. The effect of being as close to a raw generating data source as possible vs using 2nd tier data can be the difference between buying an oven pot and a frying pan – both are valuable but only one makes perfect scrambled eggs, the other a perfect Sunday roast chicken.

Understanding data types matter

As Amazon has multiple avenues of reporting for various topics such as stock management, sales planning and campaign performance, understanding how data is processed or represented is important. Amazon reporting consists of dimensional metrics that are either in raw form (ex. units, orders, clicks, impressions) or otherwise a calculation (e.g. ACOS, CVR).

To aggregate or calculate, that is the question

As calculations are dependent on the raw form of data, the principle of aggregation before calculation becomes increasingly more important to ensure decisions are based on data with as minimal dilution necessary. As a rule of thumb, the aggregation of raw data (across a common factor or factors) is always advised before applying a calculation. Especially if you plan to view multiple sets of data across multiple time or hierarchal dimensions.

Aggregate, Calculate, Go

If you want to know your monthly ACOS, instead of taking the average of all the ACOS for all products across a common factor as presented by Amazon try the following:

  1. Aggregate the total of all campaign sales for the given month (across your choice of common factor)
  2. Aggregate the corresponding spend for the given month across the same factor
  3. Divide the aggregate value from point 1 by the aggregate value in point 2

This will allow for minimal dilution and the effect of outliers in the data will be catered for as the data points are kept in raw form for as long as possible.

RT7Digital aggregates then calculates

At RT7Digital we leverage data in several ways to assist in our decision making and we share our insights with our clients. Enigma is our go-to tool for in-depth campaign reporting as well as comparing it to overall account performance. Our measures are based on aggregating first then applying calculations as far as possible. For the rest, our BI team is always looking to find and develop new ways to access data as close to the source, and unprocessed, as possible.