Marketers want to know everything. Engineers want to connect everything. These paths cross naturally at Segment, a company specializing in connecting marketing data across all related apps. To this end, Segment is today announcing the extension of Segment Sources to extract data from Facebook Ads and Google Adwords.
This extension of Segment Sources replaces a more dreaded method of extracting the same data: Spreadsheets.
It really came down to comma separate values (CSVs)—the raw data that makes up the spreadsheet, noted Peter Reinhardt, CEO of Segment. The task of combining two spreadsheets into a general graph required the user to make sure all the columns and rows aligned to get the comparison right. “We want to eliminate spreadsheet munging,” Reinhardt said.
Where spreadsheet analysis really hits the wall is presenting the depth of a customer interaction. “Interacting with the ad is part of the customer experience,” Reinhardt said. “It has less to do with the amount of data and more to do with the complexity of the data.” A customer may click on an ad to receive a newsletter, but not buy the product. Or they might have passed information about a product to a friend, again without buying the product themselves. All these interactions build a portrait, but one that is hard to perceive in a series of binaries that must be parsed and pieced together.
Segment Sources will also untangle the data stream coming from Facebook and Google, avoiding duplicate attribution should a user click on ads in both sources, Reinhardt said. “Having ad data in one place prevents double-counting.”
Then the app goes one step further: offering visibility into user activity. Campaign cost-per- click can be connected to behavior on the web site, Reinhardt said. Every consumer event can be tracked and analyzed.
All this is happening against a commercial backdrop where marketers view data as gold. The value of that data increases with every connection made between a different source in the online universe.
For example, the value of data generated on a mobile app increases if you can link the mobile source to a help desk. The value of that data Data value increases again if you can link a digital ad to that mobile app linking to that help desk. “There is definitely an exponential effect here,” he said.
“Each customer interaction captures and generates a little data,” Reinhardt said. That in turn can generate interaction with other data points. The heart of this approach is an API crafted to be an abstract data collection tool that can send out queries once to a series of apps, Reinhardt explained. This approach is nice and clean from an engineering point of view because it does not require writing code for every request to every app.
“We already have over 7,000 customers relying on Segment today,” Reinhardt said. Different iterations of Sources already collect data from—and links data with—CRM, helpdesk, mobile, web sites, and various marketing apps. “Marketers and engineers use Segment to collect all customer data into one place,” Reinhardt said.