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Datorama Reporting Tips:
Empty Parent Hack in Parent-Child Connections

June 30, 2022

The Parent-Child Connection is a nifty feature in Datorama reporting to normalize data from two or more data streams that share a common entity key. We can best visualize this connection by looking at the tables below.

In this example of Datorama reporting, there are two data streams with the parent having the full set of hierarchy while the child only has the main entity key with the spend details.

Parent Stream Child Stream

While using Parent Child-Connections, the date from the parent and Child’s data streams can be combined to a single table as shown below:

Combined Stream Table

Parent-Child connections have minimal impact on dashboard performance against data fusion, which is performance intensive.

However, in terms of scalability, Parent-Child connections do have their limitations. For example, a Child cannot be under more than one Parent at a time, nor can it simultaneously be a parent for another Child stream. As a result, when there are hundreds of data streams with overlapping entity relations between them, defining a linear parent-child connection will be unfeasible.

For example, if we have multiple third-party reports supplying data for different ad servers, the child streams can be a part of only one Ad server parent at a time. Due to this, one of the Parent ad servers will not be able to connect to the child streams and we will be forced to use data fusion or split the child streams to multiple streams based on the parent data.

Parent Child Chart

Datorama Reporting: Empty Parent Hack

To overcome this limitation, we can use an Empty Parent technique to manage the Parent-Child connections. In this method, we will create a dummy dimension data stream with the mapping as shown below:

dummy dimension data stream

“Dummy Dimension” is a system entity that is provided by Datorama to aid in creating these empty bucket type data streams so that it stays passive and doesn’t interfere with other data.

Once this data stream is created, it can be used as a Parent for all subsequent data streams that have overlapping entity key relations between them. The Empty Parent will then serve as the bucket to store the final table built from all the other streams. This is illustrated below:

Empty Parent Flow Chart

One example of a use case for this method was to create multiple Empty Parents called: Display Parent, Search Parent, and Social Parent. Different channel data, like Search, Social, and Display, were then segregated under these parents and a homogenized final table was created for each channel. Hundreds of data streams can be defined within this Empty Parent-Child connection without the fear of maintaining manual connections.

About Decision Foundry

Decision Foundry is a top-tier Salesforce integration partner supporting Datorama, CDP, Tableau, Tableau CRM, and Marketing Cloud, proper. Our global team includes some of the industry’s leading practitioners in data analytics and visual communication. As Salesforce consultants, we help make sense of your data by connecting scattered data points while blending and visualizing performance marketing data. We organize marketing data across our clients’ entire tech stack — from delivery to IO management to billing and reconciliation to automated insights and sales lift.