At Amplitude’s Amplify conference last week, we announced the launch of our new CDP offering. Since the Customer Data Platform (CDP) space is very fragmented and confusing, Amplitude has resisted calling ourselves a CDP even though we have had many CDP-like features for several years. Amplitude has always been able to ingest data from multiple sources, had great identity resolution, had excellent data governance, and the ability to send data and cohorts of users to downstream data stores and partners.
We don’t chase markets but continuously talk to our customers, who tell us what functionality we can add to our products to help them get more value. Recently, many of these requests have focused on functionality that falls under the realm of CDPs. While you will hear much more about our entrance into the CDP market over the next year, I wanted to explain why I think Amplitude brings a unique perspective to the CDP landscape.
Don’t Pay for Your Data Twice!
Over the past decade, many organizations have realized that they need a place to store all data related to customers. This need gave rise to the CDP space. In the last few years, there have been many standalone CDP products that have hit the market. These products allowed customers to send in multiple data types and aggregate them under unified customer profiles. However, these standalone CDPs have one Achilles heel – most of their customers are paying them to collect and store this data, and they are paying another vendor to collect and report on the same data.
In most cases, the additional vendor they are paying is a digital analytics platform since so much data collected today is from websites and mobile apps. We believe that no CDP customer should have to pay to manage their data twice, so we have built our CDP to be integrated with our digital analytics platform. Collect your data once and use it for analytics and CDP use cases.
Shrink your Stack!
In addition to paying for data twice, it is common for organizations to use different vendor products for digital platforms, CDP, and testing/personalization. We see many organizations using vendor combinations to meet their use cases. Organizations might use CDP products like Segment or mParticle with digital analytics platforms like Amplitude or Google Analytics with testing/personalization products like Optimizely or Launch Darkly. While Amplitude will continue to integrate with all types of vendors (even competitors!), our customers tell us that the more we can help them shrink their tech stacks, the better. Each integration point represents a potential point of failure. In addition, when using multiple vendor products, organizations are often forced to spend unnecessary time explaining metric discrepancies between the products instead of focusing time on improving customer conversions and digital experiences. If you caught our CDP launch keynote at Amplify, Thrive Market shared that this was one of their key considerations.
Analysis-Driven CDP Actions
Most organizations use digital analytics platforms to improve conversion and digital experiences. Using exploratory reports provided, digital analytics platforms help uncover opportunities for improvement but cannot always take action on those opportunities. With Amplitude CDP, analysts can identify conversion and experience issues as they perform analysis and immediately take action. Whether it be kicking off an email campaign or automating in-app messages, Amplitude CDP is analysis-driven. Analytics drives the use cases for digital experience improvement. This is not the case with the majority of CDPs out there today.
Analytics-Driven CDP Audiences
CDPs allow you to collect data, build unified customer profiles and build audiences. These features empower hundreds of use cases, from cart abandonment re-marketing to personalization. But how do traditional CDP customers know which audiences they should create? The answer to this lies in traditional digital analytics. For years organizations have relied on digital analysts to leverage data to find different audiences (cohorts) of users. Using charts, graphs, reports, and data science, analytics teams have helped find broken journeys, conversion funnels, and data anomalies.
But most standalone CDPs don’t offer an advanced analysis interface to help customers identify new audiences that can be targeted for improvement. Without this, organizations have to trust their gut or make guesses about the audiences they want to go after. An analysis interface integrated with CDP audience creation helps organizations conduct data-driven audience discovery. We believe there should be a logical flow from uncovering audiences via analysis to taking action on these audiences within the CDP. Amplitude is one of the few CDP options available in the marketplace that has an entirely integrated analysis and CDP interface.
In today’s competitive landscape, speed is essential. Competitors are one click or swipe away. This has forced organizations to up their game and take action on data as soon as possible. Many organizations use an internal data warehouse or a standalone CDP to combine customer data and build audiences. Data and audiences then need to be routed back to MarTech tools so behaviors and audiences can be acted upon.
This process takes time and can negatively impact the ability to take action or personalize experiences in real-time. For example, suppose an organization wanted to personalize a website experience while the customer was still on the website. The organization may not be able to personalize the experience since data is going back and forth between the digital analytics product and the CDP. But with Amplitude CDP, pre-built audiences can be “listening” for specific behaviors and personalize the experience in real-time using Amplitude Experiment or Amplitude Audiences. Amplitude CDP also has real-time integrations with best-of-breed MarTech vendors for campaigns, journey orchestration, etc.
Anyone who has been part of digital analytics or CDP implementations can tell you that identifying the data you want to collect and architecting that in a vendor tool is a lot of work. You have to identify the business questions you want to answer, specify the events and properties needed to answer those questions, have developers generate the data in a data layer or SDK, and then govern it within the vendor product. The process can take weeks or months.
This work is often doubled if you use a different vendor product for digital analytics and CDP. You have to build two data taxonomies since few organizations can mandate that the same taxonomy be used for digital analytics and CDP. Even if it is possible, the two taxonomies tend to diverge over time as teams get too busy to regulate new data elements. In addition, the same events or properties can often have different names in each product, which increases the burden for stakeholders that leverage both products.
Amplitude CDP leverages one unified taxonomy for both digital analytics and CDP. Every event and property has one name and definition managed by world-class data management tools. There is no need to constantly verify that new data elements added to one vendor product are added to the other. Everyone in the organization has one common understanding of the data being collected.
One UI to Learn
Your data stakeholders are busy. They have a lot on their plate, and getting them to learn vendor products and use them habitually is always a challenge. If your organization uses different products for analytics, testing, personalization, and CDP, you are asking some stakeholders to learn multiple products. That means more training and more confusion, leading to low adoption.
Amplitude has created a platform with a single interface for analytics, experimentation/personalization, and CDP. Building audiences in one product seamlessly works in the others and uses a similar user interface. This means that users who know one product can easily use the others. This helps increase stakeholder adoption while reducing training and on-boarding nightmares.
One of the best parts of using a CDP is the ability to build audiences that encompass data from multiple sources. These sources could be web, mobile app, CRM, call center, etc. These audiences can be leveraged to buy digital advertising, personalize experiences, send emails, or any other number of use cases. But to take full advantage of your CDP, you need to be able to share these audiences with other vendor products easily. Unfortunately, some CDPs make it challenging to share audiences unless you want to share them with different products owned by the same vendor!
At Amplitude, interoperability has always been one of our core values. We understand that there will always be other vendors that do things that we will never do. You should be able to easily share your data and audiences with any product used by your organization in an automated way or with the click of a button. Amplitude CDP has integrations with many leading vendors and will continue to add more based on customer needs.
Digital Product Data Included
Many CDPs do a great job of collecting and unifying marketing, sales, and support customer data. It’s typical for web analytics, CRM, and customer service vendors to send customer data into CDPs. But in today’s hyper-digital world, more and more customer touchpoints are taking place within digital products (e.g., mobile apps, kiosks, etc.). What customers do after converting is as important as before converting. If a CDP wants to have a truly 360-degree view of the customer, it needs to include this product data. Amplitude is the leader in product analytics, and in addition to collecting sales, service, and marketing data, its CDP includes all digital product touchpoints by default.
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the CDP space is vast and somewhat overcrowded. Amplitude likes to cut through the marketing speak and provide functionality that helps our customers. We will always be a product analytics vendor at heart but will continue to be driven by customer needs.
If you are an existing Amplitude customer and want to learn more about our new CDP features, we will be hosting a webinar you can register for here. If your organization is currently using a standalone CDP, a digital analytics platform, and an experimentation product and would like to have a more streamlined solution, please get in touch with us.