Segment is a customer data platform (CDP) service that looks after data governance, data integration and audience management all in one place. It allows organisations to collect data on customers from multiple touchpoints into one location through a single API. This data can then be broken down into meaningful audiences and activated in a number of ways.
What is Segment Used For?
Segment is used to centralise data collected from all of the various platforms that a business uses like analytics platforms, customer service departments, product development departments or sales teams. Once data has been collected, it can be pushed between the connected platforms. For example, data from website page visits that are stored in the CMS can be pushed into a CRM. Because Segment collects data across all of your customer touchpoints, it creates a single source of truth that can be accessed by all business units to boost productivity and decision-making speed.
Segment allows for inter-platform integrations of your data. Image source.
The suite of tools is created by Segment, a San Francisco Bay Area based analytics, big data and cloud computing firm in the United States. There are 3 core Segment products;Connections
Segment pulls data into a central hub from defined ‘sources’. This information can be sent to set ‘destinations’ to execute marketing activities or share data with other platforms, databases or warehouses using a single API. Segment natively integrates with many different sources and destinations like Salesforce or Facebook Ads (see full list here) and users can also build their own custom source and destination.
‘Protocols’ safeguards the quality of data being collected with diagnostic and de-bugging tools to monitor the quality of incoming data as well as the ability to put in place rules to to ensure only clean and valid data is collected - without needing to edit code.
Personas is the smarts that can be used to ‘wrangle’ the combined data. Using data collected from various platforms, Segment can build unique customer profiles with their own set of traits. These profiles can be leveraged in downstream tools to personalise your website or marketing activities or to help you better understand customer behaviours as part of customer experience works.
What Can Segment.io Improve?
Customer data is spread out over a range of touchpoints – an organisations website, customer service team, email systems, CRMs and so on. Data may be fragmented or siloed and therefore not be available across different activity units in an organisation, creating inefficiencies and inaccuracies in your customer view. This leads to a narrow, siloed view of the customer in each platform and a lost opportunity to leverage the valuable data that is being collected across disparate systems.
With data split across an organisation it can be impossible to have an accurate and complete view of your customer. Unifying this data provides a Single Customer View (SCV) and allows teams to more effectively connect with customers with deeply personalised experiences based on all touch points and interactions.
Segment improves your data by:
- Standardising data collection across your tools so that all teams have access to single source of truth when it comes to your data.
- Eliminating the need for multiple custom integrations with data sources by utilising one API for all.
- Creating amalgamated single view of the customer by piecing together all data sets from online and offline platforms, leading to deeper analysis work and enhanced marketing capability
- Increasing confidence in the accuracy and completeness of data being collected. In turn this makes your insights more accurate.
Is Segment GDPR Compliant?
Segment is GDPR compliant. Within its ‘Privacy Portal’, users also have the ability to isolate any Pii data collection and immediately block further tracking of this information before it is passed to other platforms and tools. Additionally, data deletion requests from users can be managed within Segment and forwarded to partner platforms.
Is Segment a DMP?
Segment is not a DMP but rather a customer data platform (CDP) that allows marketers to create personalised advertising and customer journey experiences for consumers based on their behaviours and interactions with your organisation. DMPs instead allow marketers to advertise to large groups of consumers with similar profiles, so they have a more limited scope.
With a DMP, most data is anonymised 3rd party data, purchased with the specific intent of using that data to advertise to large groups of users. Segment, as a CDP, allows you to use your own 1st party data (and potentially 2nd party data) easily by streamlining the collection and integration of your data and democratising it across silos.
What Makes Segment so Powerful?
Segment has hundreds of connections to data sources available out of the box, so there is no need to develop custom integrations that connect specific platforms up to your data sources. This eliminates the need to develop and maintain expensive custom solutions for every data stream.
Benefits of Segment CDP:
Save time in setting up tracking across multiple platforms, since you only need to do it once.
Utilise out of the box connections, so in many cases there’s no need to develop and maintain custom pipelines that connect specific platforms.
Build a single customer view spanning online and offline platforms.
Spend less time spent reviewing and fixing data tracking.
Quickly address data privacy issues and action data deletion or modification requests.
On top of being a robust and scalable platform, Segment has strong documentation and provides excellent customer service which makes it easy to implement and maintain.
Real World Use Cases
Segment can be used in a range of business use cases as it can solve a wide range of business challenges around data unification that will lead to better business decisions, better business outcomes and more efficient operations.
SpotHero aligned all team from product development to analytics around what a “conversion” meant in different markets so all teams were speaking the same language and leveraging a unified data set.
LogMeIn gained the power to track data once, regardless of device or browser quickly and efficiently, cutting down on data request processes that may have normally taken a week when requested from other departments.
IBM Cloud achieved a 70% increase in revenue for cloud customers the 3 months after utilising Segment to create a single source of truth across a number of API’s in their data pipeline.
Frame.io reduced ticket support time by 80%, campaign co-ordination by 50% and increased customer engagement by combining all marketing and customer support data streams into one location.
Segment is a powerhouse when it comes to improving your ability to leverage data. In a world where the volume of data being collected is growing at almost every point of the customer journey the ability to exploit that data asset provides an undeniable competitive advantage that can positively influence an organisation’s bottom line.
Learn more about integrating Segment into your organisation.