Segment was founded in 2011 as a start-up. Headquartered in California, the company also has locations in New York, Vancouver and Dublin. Its customers include enterprises in a wide range of sectors and sizes. In addition to start-ups such as Bonobos and Instacart, users of Segment also include industry giants such as IBM, Levi's and trivago.
Customer data platform - categorizing Segment
Segment specializes in merging data from a wide variety of sources into a consistent database. This is done, firstly, via various interfaces directly integrated into Segment, and secondly, via a standardized API simplifying connection of data sources. Segment advertises massive reductions in the amount of code required to connect sources, thus serving to accelerate and simplify connectivity. In addition, Segment offers many connectors to other platforms for straightforward routing of data to downstream systems.
At its core, Segment is meant to reduce data within a CDP to a (customer) identity, and thus prepare it for other systems. This includes functionalities which simplify handling in terms of data protection. Via a graphical interface, data and their sources can thus be blocked for exports, or their processing can be encrypted. This functionality is supported by an open-source program which can regulate consent management at websites to ensure correct implementation of the GDPR.
Segment can accordingly be assigned as follows to the CDP categories:
CDP key features
The customer data platform of Segment contains the following key features:
At its core, Segment is devised for handling data. The tool is almost entirely designed to load data into a CDP as easily as possible, monitor the data's quality, and control data export. Policies can be used to define which data are to be stored in the CDP, and which data may be further processed in which form. In addition, they can be catalogued and thus handled uniformly. Through standardized scripts, Segment reduces the amount of code which must be written in order to connect new data sources.
In the area of analytics, Segment focuses on creating segments. Algorithms or AI are not used for this purpose, customer groups instead being created directly from a graphical interface. The segments formed in this way can thus be easily adapted to business requirements without the need for BI or data-science staff. For more in-depth analytics here, it is necessary to access external tools which, however, are easy to connect to Segment.
With Personas, Segment enables management of a single user identity across multiple systems or channels. IDs from different sources can be merged, and depending on the employed software, the information from this central profile can be transferred to other systems.
Of course, target groups can also be formed in Segment. A graphical interface allows persons to be grouped on the basis of their behaviour, and maintained up-to-date at all times. These groups can then be relayed to different tools such as Facebook Ads or Marketo, to allow targeted contacting of the customer segments.
Protocols is a graphical overview which allows monitoring of data imports into a CDP. With the help of common data catalogues, data throughout an enterprise can be easily described, and the data's transparency enhanced. At the same time, the quality of data can be checked within the platform. Finally, Protocols enables control of data deliveries. This allows unforeseen data shipments to be blocked before they enter the CDP.
Correct handling of personal data is more important today than ever. Segment directly ascertains whether incoming data is personal, and then uses a traffic-light system to classify the information in terms of criticality. This makes it possible to directly determine which data should be collected in the first place, and how such data should be further processed. A special feature is the open-source consent manager which can be integrated directly into the own website, and via which users can grant or revoke the different opt-ins.
Segment is worth considering by any organization looking for a data CDP or data hub. At the same time, Segment supports GDPR-compliant data storage and processing. Segment can be employed in a targeted manner especially if there are already several source systems from which data need to be merged into one participant identity.
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