The abbreviation CSV refers to a text data type in data processing with which large quantities of structured data can be recorded, stored, and processed. The term CSV stands for “comma-separated values.” CSV files are frequently used for product catalogs of online shops. These files are edited using common office programs. The file ending is .csv.
Structured data can be used and processed with the CSV format. There are no fixed encoding rules for creating CSV files. Typically, UTF-8 is used and written in 7-bit ASCII. Different characters (commas, tabs, etc.) are also used for line breaks. Common representations are tables, in which further tables can also be nested.
The following structure is typical for a CSV file:
There is no uniform formatting for CSV files. When data is collected for special read-out software, the formatting must be defined beforehand to avoid errors. Thus, problems occur when date or time data are to be read out. Similarly, it might be possible that too much text causes readout errors.
CSV files are used in many areas. Here are some application examples:
The advantage of CSV files in marketing is that this raw data can be easily analyzed with popular office programs and displayed clearly in charts or diagrams. Moreover, the data can usually be collected with many CMS or analysis tools through a simple file export. For the SEO area, CSV files are suitable to create regular reports on keyword positions or to generate overviews of existing URLs, for example.
It can be disadvantageous that there are no fixed formatting rules. Date formats being read out differently, or blank fields being interpreted incorrectly can lead to false conclusions from the analysis in the long term. It is therefore important that all formatting is clearly defined before data collection.