Category Deep Dive: Customer Data Platform | AppsFlyer

Chapter 5

Category Deep Dive: Customer Data Platform

As the customer experience becomes increasingly mobile-centric, consumers expect brands to be able to understand and speak to them as they jump from device to device, without skipping a beat. Brands now face the problem of piecing together a current, coherent, and—most importantly—complete customer identity from the sea of data points created during every brand interaction across web, app, email, and beyond.

In the Connected Era, marketers need to be able to track the customer journey in real time, at scale, across channels and devices, while complying with industry privacy standards. They also need to be able to connect that data with new tools and vendors to continuously test new avenues of growth. This is where a customer data platform (CDP) comes into play.

Modern, foundational CDPs like mParticle help brands use their own customer data to improve user journeys on mobile and web alike through identity resolution.

More specifically, CDPs facilitate:

  • Standardized implementation of new SDKs via CDP partner plug-ins, as well as standardized alignment of data identifiers across each SDK
  • Real-time data flows between stack partners that can be used to enrich and unify customer identities for multithreaded customer journeys
  • Consistent regulation of privacy standards for customer data across partners

MarTech is More Specialized Than Ever

To keep up with the evolving customer journey in the Connected Era, the average brand’s marketing stack requires more and more tools.

If you look at the martech landscape that has emerged over the past few years, there is a strong trend towards specialization. That’s both good and bad for marketers; good in that specialized technologies are better suited to address hyper-specific needs like mobile attribution and fraud protection on mobile vs. web, but also “bad” because it warrants a bigger martech stack to gather all of the data necessary to create a continuous marketing experience.

Specialization continues in the supply chain

A bigger stack wouldn’t be a problem were data identifiers standardized across tools, but brands are currently faced with a variety of naming systems. Fortunately, CDPs are able to transform and piece together data from different systems across a data stack to create a single view of the customer, regardless of incompatibility between systems. This allows marketers to send their customer data seamlessly to pre-built integrations with 250+ vendors across analytics, marketing, business intelligence, and data warehousing.

CDPs help marketers launch and test new tools quickly, as these pre-built integrations require almost no support from developers to set up and maintain.

Real-Time Data Enables Multithreaded Customer Journeys

The operating word in the Connected Era is connected. Mobile devices have made it so that we are not just constantly connected to each other, but also to our emails, social profiles, apps, and so on. This translates to heightened consumer expectations for brands, who are tasked with anticipating and reacting to customer actions across platforms and devices.

To minimize reaction time and effectively leverage the goldmine of customer data available through best-of-breed stacks, marketers need to be able to access and activate this data across devices in real time.

Most data architecture is slow

This is what most companies’ data stacks looked like before CDPs came about, where connections between sources often lagged by 1-7 days. This model has become outdated in the Connected Era.

In contrast to DMPs before them, CDPs use APIs to collect real-time data across the entire customer lifecycle to create comprehensive customer profiles—no matter the source—that can then be forwarded to the services and platforms in your stack so you can take immediate action.

Create a real-time source of truth

Effective marketing execution in the Connected Era requires customer data management to connect to all of your data sources bi-directionally.

Using real-time data provides brands with a way to contextualize engagements with customers, making their experiences relevant to customers’ preferences and current circumstances.

For example, sneaker retailer GOAT uses AppsFlyer as the source of truth for mobile attribution and mParticle as the CDP to sync data across all the tools in their stack. mParticle connects GOAT’s event history across mobile and web, such as screen views and items added to cart, which the GOAT team exports to analyze cross-channel reporting. GOAT also uses mParticle to create audiences and update their marketing automation campaigns in real time to ensure they deliver the most relevant remarketing message. This allows them to optimize the customer experience by designing a user-centric flow that is channel and platform agnostic.

Another prime example of integrated, multithreaded customer journeys can be seen from Burger King’s award-winning “Whopper Detour” campaign. By using mParticle to link real-time location data from Radar to their paid advertising and marketing automation campaigns, Burger King offered a free Whopper via the Burger King mobile app whenever a customer was within 600 feet of a McDonald’s. This campaign not only propelled Burger King’s app from a ranking of #686 to the #1 across all app store categories, but it also drove the highest foot traffic in 4.5 years.

As these best-in-class examples illustrate, CDPs open a world of options for seamless, interconnected audiences, messaging, activation, and reporting.

Privacy by Design

Brands have to accept that customer data is the most valuable asset available to them in 2019, just as customers have started to demand increased control over how their personal data is collected and used.

The wild west of customer data management is no more, with GDPR in full force and upcoming regulation from CCPA in the United States.

Companies relying solely on outdated data management systems that are unable to meet GDPR standards can be forced to face fines equating up to 4% of global revenue or stop collecting data altogether in an effort to avoid punishment. It doesn’t have to be this way; CDPs are designed with privacy and identity at their core, allowing them to meet the new regulatory data standards without sacrificing the insight and actionability provided by customer data.

Bringing it All Together

As the glue to unite an interconnected mobile marketing tech stack, there is obviously a huge advantage of integrating a CDP early on for bread-and-butter needs like privacy compliance, cross-channel reporting, and streamlined partner onboarding. For companies with more mature tech stacks that don’t yet have a CDP in play, adding a CDP may become a more tactical move to streamline old processes and unlock new use cases (e.g. real-time triggering, synchronized audiences for paid and owned re-engagement, cross-channel A/B testing, etc.).

What this all boils down to is the customer experience; the moments that matter in the Connected Era are fleeting and so the margin for conversion is razor-thin. In 2019, the answer to the marketer’s maxim of creating the right message, to the right user, at the right time, in the right place, is to get the right data, to the right system, in real time. Simply, you can’t expect to do that if the right system isn’t mapping the right identity, to the right system, all the time.

If you’d like to learn more about how mParticle helps brand win in the Connected Era, feel free to reach out. Or, to learn more about CDPs, check out our in-depth CDP guide.


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