Dimension and MetaKey Planning Best-Practices

 How to Plan out a MetaKey/Dimension Strategy

A MetaKey value is an authoritative identifier for something in your account. MetaCX uses MetaKey values to correlate the data you're tracking to the correct something, regardless of the source of the data.

You can set up a MetaKey to represent just about anything. You might create a MetaKey to hold values that identify users or devices, for example. However, every account has a MetaKey to represent its Companies by default, so that's a useful place to begin understanding the concept. That default Company MetaKey is called CompanyID.

To see why a MetaKey is needed to get your data to the right place, you need to step back and look at the data that comes into the account. You create Connections to send events to MetaCX from a variety of business systems, such as your own application, your CRM, your accounting software, your email application, and so on.

Each of those systems uses its own kind of identifier for your Companies, so the events you pass in from those systems contain their own ID values. MetaCX needs a way to understand which events belong to which Company.

Fortunately, the company identifier from each data source (called an AltKey) is mapped to the company ID MetaKey as part of your account setup. All the system needs to do is follow the mapping to the correct company ID MetaKey value.

The following table is a simplified, fictional mapping of company IDs from different business systems:

Company Name

Application AltKey 

CRM AltKey Accounting AltKey Email AltKey MetaKey
Example Inc. 1324 C145 P1010 @example.com 001
Acme Corp 4561 C665 P3422 @a.example.com 002
Sample 3322 C691 P5676 @b.example.com 003


In this example:

  • The Company Name column contains the name of the fictional companies in this example. This column is for the convenience of this document. The system doesn't need it in the real mapping table.
  • The Application AltKey column contains the value that your application uses to identify each Company in the example.
  • The CRM AltKey column contains the value your CRM uses to identify the company.
  • The Accounting AltKey column contains the company ID value your accounting package uses.
  • The Email AltKey column contains the email domain used by the sample Company. MetaCX can use the email domain of the From Address to know which Company the email relates too.
  • The MetaKey column contains the value that MetaCX assigned to your Companies.

When you create your Signals, you indicate which field from the event contains the company ID value and you map that field to an AltKey in MetaCX. The system can take the ID value from the incoming event and use your mapping to find the correct Company.

For example, consider the following event data passing in to MetaCX:

PayerID TransType Amount
P3422 CD $350.45


When you set up the Signal that consumes the data in this kind of event, you mapped the PayerID field to the Accounting AltKey. MetaCX uses that mapping to compare the PayerID P3422 value to the Accounting AltKey column to correlate the data to Acme Corp, the Company identified by MetaKey 001.

- Next in this series 'Why MetaKeys Matter'

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