Metadata is data that contains information about other data. Metadata, in general, is used almost everywhere. The most common example is the use of meta tags in a web page. Search engines use these meta tags to identify a web page’s relevance, then rank the page among others based on what was searched.

Many types of data have more information within them. Just like how a book has information on its author, year of publication, and title, many other sets of data have information that describe them. For example, a document has information on when it was created, who it was created by, when it was last edited, etc. All this information is the metadata for the document.

Digital marketers mostly collect metadata by tracking each click of an individual (if they are permitted to gather information from the individual). Cookies are used to collect the individual’s data; this metadata can be location, age group or any other information. Based on the collected metadata, digital marketers can appeal to the individual’s preferences.

Types of Metadata

Metadata is classified into three types: Descriptive, Structural, and Administrative.

  • Descriptive Metadata—Used for searching, browsing, filtering and identifying an object/information. Descriptive metadata may contain elements including keywords, description or author.
  • Structural Metadata—As the name suggests, this metadata describes the structure of the object. An example of structural metadata is the organization of multiple pages as chapters in a book.
  • Administrative Metadata—Provides information for managing the source and discusses technical information such as file type.