I’m no soothsayer but I spend a lot of time keeping track of data tools and technologies, and in the process, I sometimes make predictions, some of which tend to come true. So when Amplitude announced its data activation capability via the Recommendations product in early 2021, here’s what I’d written in my newsletter:
Normally, you’d build cohorts in a product analytics tool to analyze the data and then build the same segments in a CDP or in your engagement tools; now you can do it all in one integrated system.
But that’s not it—with two-way integrations with engagement tools, you can now analyze your campaign metrics directly inside the product analytics tool, enabling you to measure the true impact of your engagement efforts.
My assumption was that Amplitude is only trying to fulfill the unmet needs of product and growth teams and that a full-fledged CDP offering was unlikely—prediction gone wrong.
However, late last year, I stumbled upon the fact that Amplitude was processing almost one trillion events per month across its customer base which got me wondering—what’s stopping Amplitude from offering a CDP?
This time I did get it right and a couple of months later, when the Data-led Academy acquisition was official, I learned that there’s nothing stopping Amplitude and the CDP launch was around the corner.
Why the Amplitude CDP makes so much sense
Let’s look at the typical buying process of a CDP.
The product or growth team wants to implement a product analytics tool along with one or more engagement tools. The data or engineering team knows that without a CDP, they’d have to set up event tracking for each of those tools using their respective SDKs and if a new destination gets added to the stack, they’d have to go through the process again.
Someone from either team suggests that it’s best to invest in a CDP so that events are instrumented once and are made available across all the downstream tools that the product and growth teams decide to use. Additionally, a CDP will also enable them to build and sync more comprehensive audiences to all the tools without relying on data or engineering.
However, CDPs are not exactly cheap and a lot of companies, especially at earlier stages, end up implementing product analytics directly, using the tracking capabilities of tools like Amplitude.
As a result, they’d have to instrument the same events again for the engagement tools as they couldn’t directly stream the data from the product analytics tool to third-party destinations. Needless to say, this was a waste of engineering resources and the process was also error-prone, leading to data quality issues.
Therefore, enabling customers to do more with their data was a natural evolution—here are some key facts that prepared Amplitude to enter the CDP space:
- Amplitude has many customers who choose to send data to Amplitude directly
- Amplitude has built-in identity resolution (deterministic matching)
- Amplitude offers integrations with a bunch of engagement tools
- Amplitude Recommend is equivalent to the audience building capability of a CDP
- Amplitude had acquired Iteratively to add more rigor to its governance capability
The only missing piece was the ability to sync events from Amplitude to downstream tools, which is no longer the case—have a look at the supported destinations in the integrations directory.
Learn how to accurately track your event data with The Amplitude Guide to Behavioral Data & Event Tracking.
Why I think this is a boon for go-to-market (GTM) teams
Product analytics tools have enabled teams to quickly understand how users are interacting with the product. However, as John Cutler elegantly summarized it, your company = your product. This implies that every interaction users have with your company across every touchpoint—email, in-app, ads, support—is an interaction users have with your product.
However, getting a comprehensive picture of these interactions that take place across different tools and systems has been one of the biggest challenges for GTM teams so far.
Not anymore though—the ability to send event data to third-party engagement tools combined with the ability to bring event data back from those third-party systems into Amplitude is a game-changer for GTM teams.
Measure the impact of engagement campaigns
This is by far my favorite use case because I have personally struggled with this in the past.
Let’s say you use Braze or Customer.io for lifecycle email campaigns along with Userflow or Appcues for in-app experiences. You’re anyway using the same product events to trigger campaigns in either of those tools. But when it comes to measuring the performance of those campaigns, you are limited to metrics such as open rates, CTRs, and completion rates.
You’re unable to measure whether or not users performed the desired actions after opening an email or completing an in-app guide, nor are you able to ascertain what percentage of users performed desired actions without engaging with your campaigns.
With Amplitude’s source integrations with third-party tools (look at the sources with raw events in the integrations directory), you can easily bring in events from those tools to perform comprehensive analyses via funnels that combine product events with engagement events—you can finally measure the true impact of all your engagement activities.
Measure the impact of customer support
I’ve seen firsthand how good support practices lead to growth and I’m a huge proponent of support-led growth (I just made that up and I like it).
With destination integrations with tools like Zendesk and Intercom, you can sync events captured by Amplitude to those tools, enabling support and customer success teams to view user activity and provide better, faster support (instead of asking users if they’ve done X or telling them that they should try Y when they’ve already done that).
But that’s only half the equation and to measure the impact of support activities, you’d need to bring data back from support tools into Amplitude. That’s precisely why Amplitude also offers source integrations with Zendesk and Intercom.
By combining product data with event data from support tools, you can, for example, build funnels to see what percentage of accounts were upgraded (or downgraded) after an interaction with support.
Or visualize how many users are activated after a ticket is resolved.
Or measure how support interactions impact retention.
The possibilities are plenty.
For support teams, the ability to see how their interactions impact user activation and retention, or in other words, how they’re contributing to the bottom line, is a huge incentive.
Closing thoughts on Amplitude’s CDP
Over the last two years, there’s been tremendous activity in the data landscape with so many new tools and technologies being launched to improve the workflows of data teams.
But at the end of the day, good data infrastructure should enable all teams, especially data-adjacent teams like product and growth, to do more with data in their day-to-day—I’m glad that companies like Amplitude are making this happen.
Besides the CDP, Amplitude just launched a slew of other capabilities, all of which empower GTM teams to own their data workflows and minimize the reliance on data teams. What’s not to love about that?