Calvin French-Owen, Geoffrey Keating on June 10th 2020

In our new data report, we take an inside look into how tech stacks have evolved since the onset of COVID-19. 

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Calvin French-Owen, Geoffrey Keating on June 10th 2020

In our new data report, we take an inside look into how tech stacks have evolved since the onset of COVID-19. 

Geoffrey Keating, Andy Schumeister on April 29th 2020

Our mission at Segment is to help every company in the world use good data to power their growth. And over the past eight years, we’ve been lucky enough to help thousands of businesses do exactly that.

During that time, most of the people implementing these customer data strategies have come from specific, and largely technical teams, like engineering and analytics. This is not only because of the technical effort involved in data collection, but also user comprehension around what they should collect and why.

But imagine a world where a product manager didn’t have to ping an engineer to instrument a tracking plan for the new feature they just launched. A marketer didn’t have to submit a Jira ticket to track whether an A/B test was successful or not.

Today we’re introducing Visual Tagger — to help everyone in your company collect the website data they need in minutes, without relying on technical teams. 

With Visual Tagger, you can capture all the events that you want to capture without having to touch your code. - Neeraj Sinha, Chief Technology Officer, ScoutMyTrip


In less than 10 years, the amount of customer data being tracked by businesses has grown exponentially. According to Gartner, 82% of organizations have seen an increase in the types of customer data they are tracking over the past five years. 

Just as the overall volume of customer data has increased, so too has its influence across the business. Nowadays, product and marketing teams are as eager to collect and use customer data as engineers and analysts.

How customer data is changing in the organization. Image source: Gartner

The desire to collect customer data may be universal, but so too is the struggle to execute.

Whether you’re an early-stage startup or Fortune 500 company, engineering teams are facing increasingly limited bandwidth. When implementing a customer data tracking plan has to compete for attention with dozens of other priorities, it can be deprioritized, or worse, ignored. 

Driven by these constraints, an entire industry has started to flourish.  Known as the “no-code” or “low-code” movement, tools like Webflow, Airtable, and Zapier (and Segment customers like Buildfire and Hotjar) are democratizing access to tasks that previously required technical expertise.

We now live in a world where you no longer need to become a developer to build a website or build an app. At Segment, we believe you shouldn’t have to be an engineer to start collecting the data you need to understand your customers either.

How Visual Tagger works

Visual Tagger is available free to all Segment customers, so long as you have a Segment workspace set up and the analytics.js snippet installed on your website. While the functionality of Visual Tagger is powerful, the user experience itself is incredibly simple and intuitive. In fact, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

1. Build your events

If you’ve ever used “WYSIWYG” software, Segment’s Visual Tagger will feel familiar. Simply point and click the different parts of your website that you’d like to track.Out of the box, Visual Tagger lets you create three types of events:

  • Button or Link Clicked: Create an event every time a user clicks a button or link on your website.

  • Form Submitted: Create an event every time a user fills out a form on your website.

  • Any Clicked: Similar to button or link clicked, create an event for any HTML element you would like to track (e.g. a banner).

The Visual Tagger interface

From there, you can then add rich, contextual information in the form of properties to help you understand more about the specific action that the user took.

For example, if you wanted to track a button on your homepage, you could add the property Location: Homepage. If you wanted to track a demo request on your pricing page, you could add the properties Location: Pricing Page and Feature: Demo Request. 

If you aren’t sure which events or properties to track, we’ll provide recommended events to track based on your industry right in your workspace. For additional recommendations, you can also check out our industry-standard tracking plans for ecommerce, B2B SaaS, media, and more.

2. Test your events

Your data-driven decisions are only as good as the quality and accuracy of the data you collect. With Visual Tagger, you can preview the results before the event gets created and starts flowing in production.

 In test mode, you can:

  • Target URLs: Specify which URLs or group of URLs that an event is fired from.

  • Preview your events: Test the actions that would trigger the event and verify they are firing e.g. if your event gets fired, then a green checkmark will display.

  • Check all the details: Get granular feedback on where, how, and what event gets fired so that you can fix any issues before you deploy.

This means that you can have complete confidence before you deploy.

3. Publish

That’s it! Once you hit publish, the events you created will start flowing into Segment and will show up in your Debugger. You can use the Visual Tagger console to see what events are live, along with additional context for you and your team on who created the event, when it was created, and any recent updates.

Check out the docs to learn more. 

How customers are using Visual Tagger

Whether it’s helped them to experiment faster or save valuable engineering resources, Visual Tagger has become integral to the workflows of technical, and even non-technical, users alike.

Here are use cases from a few of our early customers and the positive impact Visual Tagger has had on their businesses.

Increase your agility

ScoutMyTrip, an AI-driven road trip planner and travel expert marketplace, relies heavily on quick, iterative experiments to help drive customer acquisition and retention.  However, with a small engineering team, they struggled to make a strong business case for launching and analyzing these experiments. Investing precious engineering resources in capturing data for an experiment (that might not even work) felt wasteful, given other demands from across the business.

With Visual Tagger, ScoutMyTrip can track all the experiments they need without having to touch a line of code. Whereas tracking events for an experiment usually took the team six days on average, they were able to track the same number of events in two hours.

“It took me about two hours to capture 30 events. If I didn't have Visual Tagger, I would have decided not to capture half of the events altogether because that would be too much of a hassle.” - Neeraj Sinha, Chief Technology Officer, ScoutMyTrip

Empower every team

Nationbuilder, a nonprofit and political campaign software platform that combines website, communication, and donation tools, wanted to understand and optimize their onboarding experience.

Unfortunately, getting the data they needed was a highly manual process. Tracking events had to be manually instrumented with engineering, and, quite often, was ignored in favor of more pressing matters. For Alex Stevens, Director of Growth at Nationbuilder, they needed to start tracking with minimal investment of resources, so they could understand product adoption and onboard customers as easily and quickly as possible.

With Visual Tagger, the team now feels comfortable implementing event tracking themselves. 

“It used to take weeks for an analytics request to get prioritized. With Visual Tagger, I can quickly collect the data I need without having to create tons of requests for our engineering team.” - Alex Stevens, Growth Director, Nationbuilder

Make any tool codeless

With Visual Tagger, customers can configure events in minutes and then activate the data in 300+ tools in the Segment catalog.

For example, Voopty, a business management software that connects educators, tutors, and clubs, with families searching for their services, needed better visibility into engagement metrics. 

Voopty’s Founder and Software Developer, Taja Kholodova, needed access to product analytics to provide reporting to the hundreds of partner businesses they work with. Unfortunately, collecting this data was manual and required time to learn every additional tool and platform.

Kholodova turned to Visual Tagger and was able to quickly set up event tracking to understand user engagement in a matter of minutes. From there, Kholodova instantly activated the data across their entire tech stack, including tools like Indicative, FullStory, and Google Tag Manager. 

“We were able to start sending events to destinations in 5 minutes.” - Taja Kholodova, Founder and Software Developer, Voopty


Visual Tagger is a win for both technical and non-technical users alike. Engineers are free from menial and repetitive tasks that take away time they could spend on building product. Product managers and marketers can unlock the myriad of use cases within the Segment product, without writing a single line of code.

But we think the true benefits will be felt by your end customer. By making analytics instrumentation unbelievably easy, data is accessible to everyone in your company. This empowers every individual to use that data to inform their day-to-day work.

And ultimately, that means better products and better customer experiences for all of us. 

Ready to get started with Visual Tagger? Log in to your workspace to set up new events in minutes. 


Want to learn more about Visual Tagger? Join us for a webinar on May 21st at 1pm PST.

Calvin French-Owen on March 18th 2020

Each year, I like to reflect on what’s now different about Segment. Thinking back to a year ago, there’s an incredible amount that we’ve managed to accomplish. 

In many ways, I see the Segment of 2020 as a new company, with fresh challenges and lots of new opportunities. 

But as the famous saying goes—the days are long but the years are short. Without further ado, here are the major highlights from Segment over the past 12 months. 


We helped customers connect anything to Segment

Segment helps businesses connect and use reliable customer data to fuel product experimentation, marketing, analytics, data science, and so much more. And in 2019 we doubled down to ensure that companies could truly add data into Segment and use the data wherever they needed.

With Functions, customers can now build their own sources and destinations with just a few lines of JavaScript. After just a few months in beta, we’ve already seen hundreds of customers building functions which adapt to internal systems and customize to their specific tools.

Simple code editor to build a function

We grew the Segment Catalog to 350+ integrations

While we’ve made it possible to build any connection with Functions, we’ve also added more than one new integration per week in 2019 to our integration catalog.

That means our customers can more easily set up 350+ tools (37% growth from 2018) to connect new sources and destinations. About 1 in every 3 customers has already tried one of the newest tools in our catalog.

We helped customers with privacy compliance

Since the early days of Segment, we’ve stood for privacy and responsible data handling. We’ve tried to avoid dealing with sketchy data brokers and third-party cookies, and instead make it easier for companies to comply with privacy-first legislation like the GDPR and CCPA.

At Synapse, our annual user conference, we launched our new Privacy Portal that allows organizations to automate detect and classify information flowing through Segment, and control where it is sent. It’s currently used by hundreds of customers to help enforce data standards at their companies. 

Aliya Dossa and Tido Carriero announce our new Privacy Portal at Synapse

 We deepened our commitment to privacy

One of our core values is karma, and we want to make sure we treat our customers’ data in a way they would expect. Privacy isn’t just a big deal for our customers. It’s a big deal to end-consumers as well.

We went beyond being ready for CCPA when it became effective on January 1, 2020. We also stood up a Privacy Program and a Public Policy Team in 2019.  We made multiple trips to Washington to help campaign for privacy rights.  We’ve also been very active in California around the CCPA.

We offered unparalleled control over your data

Data needs to be high quality to be valuable. In 2019, we helped customers achieve a new level of data quality with two new features: Destination Filters and Protocols Transformations.

Destination Filters are being used by more than one out of every three business plan customers. They are key in helping customers control their API costs and instrument basic privacy controls. Protocols Transformations allow users to alter their events without changing their code. We’re seeing companies use transformations to help standardize event names between new and old systems, connect previously siloed data, and more.

Simple UI to build a Destination Filter in a few steps

We grew our global team

In 2019, we grew from roughly 350 employees to 500+. In March 2019, we launched our Denver office as a new hub for our Customer Success org with a plucky landing crew of 3. Since then, we’ve grown the office to 17 strong, and made 24/7 customer support possible.

Segmenters around the world

We saw similar growth across our other offices too. In April, we expanded our NYC office to a high-rise right next to Times Square. In November, we expanded the SF office an entire floor. And in November, our EMEA team in Dublin made its 50th hire! There’s never been a better time to join!

We launched the Segment Startup Program

In February 2019, we launched the Segment Startup Program, to give early stage startups access to $50,000 in free Segment, and more than a million dollars in free software from companies like Intercom, AWS, and HubSpot.

We’ve onboarded 3,000+ startups into the program, and continue to add hundreds each month. More importantly, we’ve helped the next generation of startups make data-driven decisions powered with good customer data.

We held our biggest Synapse yet

This year, we expanded our customer conference, Synapse, in a big way. We hosted a record-breaking 1200 attendees. We had two full days of talks from experts and customers, as well as a partner summit.

Main stage audience at Synapse 2019

Synapse was an opportunity to learn from the best, and we continue to be impressed by the level of depth and expertise that customers shared. 

For example, it’s humbling to hear that Segment played a meaningful role in helping Allergan increase revenue by $250 million. We hope to share many more stories like this over the next year.

We told the world that CRM is not enough

Full-page Wall Street Journal advertisement

We have come together with over 100 partners to cut through the noise and make sure that businesses know that there is an entire alternative ecosystem outside of their CRM suites. 

There are alternatives that meet the demands of today’s customers, are flexible, and work together seamlessly, so that businesses can build customer technology stacks that are unique to their needs, versus a one-size-fits-all approach.

We rebuilt our documentation site

Our documentation is one of the most-visited parts of our website, and while it had grown organically over time, it was starting to show the strain. In late November we released an entirely new docs site, with a fresh, readable design, greatly improved information architecture, and better navigation. We also released new content in the form of an all-new intro to Segment, and some introductory guides tailored to different user roles.

We told the world about bad data

In August 2019, we launched one of the more iconic startup campaigns on the market: “What good is bad data?” To highlight the importance of clean, accurate data, we staged a series of mixups that found their way into billboards across Austin, New York, Los Angeles, and more. You can read more about it here.

Our billboard in San Francisco

The campaign created quite the storm, as we saw tweets and Reddit posts shared from celebrities, friends, and customers. 

We got SOC 2 Type 1 attestation

Segment has the privilege of working with many different types of clients, including Fortune 500 enterprises to industry-specific small businesses. In every case, we want to build trust and show every customer our commitment to security.

Throughout late 2019, we completed our SOC 2 Type 1 attestation. I’m excited to share that this is one of many steps we are taking to continue to build trust with our customers.


Thanks to all who made the above possible. If you’re interested in helping us build the next wave of progress, we’re hiring!

Alexandra Agnoletti on March 5th 2020

Updated on March 12, 2020

Our focus remains on three main priorities: keeping the Segment team and families safe, helping contain the spread of COVID-19, and supporting our customers who depend on Segment. Below are the measures we’ve implemented toward these priorities:

Remote work

As of Monday March 16th, all Segment employees in all global offices are either strongly encouraged to work from home or are mandated work from home. This recommendation follows the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus in every region where a Segment office is located. 

We are also restricting all business travel, not just travel to certain locations. We continue to discourage all personal travel. 

Our people

We recognize the period of transition that Segment is undergoing as we adjust to a fully-distributed workforce — we are providing manager workshops on how to manage remote teams and resources for our employees on how to stay healthy while working remotely. 

Business continuity

As a cloud-based platform supported by a flexible, globally-dispersed team, we are able to continue supporting our customers with minimal disruption while transitioning to a remote workforce. Our internal tooling and business systems are comprised of industry-recognized cloud solutions that allow our team to effectively communicate and collaborate both inside and outside of our offices. We are continuing to evaluate our business continuity plans to best support our customers during the developing situation with COVID-19 and to further strengthen our resiliency for future unforeseen events. 


This post will be updated as new developments occur. Original post published March 05, 2020.

Given the current developing situation with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Segment is acutely aware of its responsibility as corporate citizens to employees, customers, and the broader community. Here is how we’re approaching our responsibility to slow the spread of the virus and to keep conditions as safe as possible in all our global offices. 

Segment has implemented the following precautionary measures, effective March 5, 2020:

Encouraging working-from-home, wherever home is

We are allowing all employees to work remotely at this time and encouraging all SF-based employees to work remotely in accordance with the increased pace of the spread of COVID-19 in the region. 

We are also requiring employees who have been to a CDC level 2-3 country within the past 2 weeks to work in self-quarantine for the amount of time recommended by the CDC.

Moving live meetings to virtual and restricting travel

For the safety of our customers, partners, and those in the interview process to work at Segment, we are moving live meetings to occur over video. In tandem, we are restricting all business travel to and from San Francisco and any CDC level 2-3 locations, as well as discouraging personal travel.

We are dedicated to ensuring business continuity for our customers while we take precautions to keep our employees and broader community safe and secure. Due to the nature of our business, we aren't expecting any disruption to the Segment service. We welcome any and all feedback you may have.

Calvin French-Owen, Geoffrey Keating on February 26th 2020

Everything you need to know about customer data platforms but were afraid to ask.

Peter Reinhardt on January 16th 2020

It’s time we set a new standard for marketing and business technology.

Aliya Dossa on December 19th 2019

This New Year’s Eve, businesses will be counting down to something more than just a new year. They will be counting down to the beginning of a new wave of consumer data privacy legislation in the Americas, starting with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) which goes into effect on January 1, 2020. 

How prepared your company is will dictate whether you will be celebrating or scrambling when the clock strikes twelve. 

Our focus at Segment is to help companies easily get their first-party data from where it lives to where it’s most useful for them, and subsequently to enable and deliver personalized experiences for their customers. But to provide an amazing customer experience, respecting consumer data privacy is key. 

That’s why we have built a variety of products to help companies prepare for the CCPA — from Consent Management to help with the CCPA’s “Right to Know” and the “Right to Opt-Out,”  to Deletion Request Management, to Data Subject Access Requests.

Here are the top five ways that Segment can help your company prepare for the CCPA.

1. Consent management solutions for “The Right to Know”

Under the CCPA, consumers have the right to know what data is being collected about them at, or before, the point of collection. At Segment, we’ve built a couple of different solutions that can be used to help with this requirement.

Segment’s Open Source Consent Manager

Segment has an Open Source Consent Manager that anyone can use, free of charge. Better yet — it’s something you can set up in a single day. 

The Open Source Consent Manager works by conditionally loading tools based on a user’s preferences. Segment makes sure that the user’s data will be sent to the tools the user consents to, and not sent to the tools the user does not. 

Take the screenshot below.

If a user selects no to opt-out from having data collected by Advertising tools, the tools listed in that category (in this case, Adwords and Facebook Pixel) would not be loaded, even if the user selects yes to opt-in for the other categories of data collection (in this case, Functional and Marketing & Analytics). 

If you’re already using Segment, your Segment Destinations will automatically pre-populate the tools column using the default Categories they fall under. But what’s great about the Open Source Consent Management solution is that the Categories, Purpose descriptions, and tool-mappings are completely customizable. Your own teams can ultimately decide how to handle and categorize user consent preferences based on your own use cases and needs.

Learn more about how to use our Open Source Consent Manager here.

Integrating Segment with alternative Consent Managers

If you’re not using Segment’s Open Source Consent Manager, you can connect any alternative Consent Manager your teams use (like OneTrust or TrustArc) to Segment instead. This will enable your Segment Destinations (e.g. Google Analytics, Fullstory, etc.) to be loaded appropriately based on a user’s consent preferences. 

To get started, you’ll need to map the alternative Consent Manager’s Consent Groups (usually integers from 0 through 4) to Segment Destinations and pass that mapping when you initialize analytics.js in your site header. 

You can learn more about how to integrate Segment with an alternative Consent Manager by following the instructions in this Github Gist or Video Guide

2. Solutions for “The Right to Opt-Out” 

The CCPA gives consumers the right to opt-out from the sale of their data at any time. With the CCPA’s broad definition of “sale,” the sale of data refers to the sharing of certain cookies. You can use Segment’s Open Source Consent Manager to get one step closer to giving your consumers the ability to opt-out from the sale of data. 

All you have to do is create a new Category for the tools that involve the sale of data — bearing in mind that whether or not a tool involves the sale of data ultimately depends on how you use the tool, and how your own company interprets what counts as selling data. 

We recommend using a perpetual link on your site so users can access the Consent Manager to update their consent preferences at any time — not just at the initial point of interaction with your website.

If you would like to keep a running list of opt-outs, you can use Segment to instrument, and fire track calls any time a user clicks to opt-out from the sale of data. From there, you can use Segment to send those track calls downstream to a Data Warehouse (or any other tool in the Segment Catalog) and query it to pull a list of opt-outs whenever you need it.

Learn more about how to use our Open Source Consent Manager and how to create custom categories such as Do Not Sell here.

3. Deletion request management for “The Right to be Deleted”

Segment has also partnered with a handful of our Destination Partners (such as Intercom, Amplitude, and Braze) so that when you issue a user deletion request in Segment, we not only delete that user’s data from within Segment, but we also forward that deletion request downstream to some of your downstream tools.  

The CCPA gives users the right to have their data deleted. With Segment, User Deletion and Suppression Requests can be handled through a UI or API, based on your preferences.

Learn more about how you can use Segment’s Deletion and Suppression Request Management features here.

4. Data subject access requests for “The Right to Access”

Under the CCPA, users have the right to access information collected about them. You can streamline access requests (also known as Data Subject Access Requests or DSAR for short) using Segment.

With Segment, you can easily enable a raw data integration like S3 or a Data Warehouse to organize data about a given user, so that you can easily share it in a structured format if requested by one of your consumers. 

Because of Segment’s powerful identity resolution engine and our Personas Profile API, you can more easily rectify user data knowing that user profiles and traits are automatically updated in Segment and in downstream tools whenever new information is received.

You can learn more about our raw data integrations here or our identity resolution engines here.

5. Data discovery and data mapping 

The foundation of any best-in-class data privacy posture begins with a strong Data Inventory. It means you can easily keep track of what data you are collecting, where you are collecting it from, as well as where you’re sending or storing that data.

That’s why we built the Privacy Portal for our customers to handle Data Discovery and Data Mapping on the fly — at no additional cost. 

The Privacy Portal helps you automatically detect Personal Information, monitor it, and even block it from your downstream tools.

Learn more about how you can start using the Privacy Portal here


The CCPA may be just around the corner, but Segment has you covered with a number of solutions that can help as we countdown to the new year. 

If you have any questions about how Segment can help your company with getting ready for the CCPA, feel free to reach out to our team here.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. You should contact your own attorney to obtain advice with respect to the CCPA.

Special thank you to Audrey Kittock, Alan Kyle, Andy Schumeister, Geoffrey Keating, and Jonny Marsh for help reviewing and editing this post.

+2

Josephine Liu, Leah Bro, Francisco Alberini on November 18th 2019

When you’re using great data across teams, you need to be able to keep track of what data is going where and be able to make quick changes on the fly. Our latest updates provide more custom views into your Sources and Destinations, the ability to transform data at the source, and environments that match exactly what each group within your company needs. 

Here are the latest features, product updates, and integrations launched at Segment.

Connections

In order to help customers better organize and navigate all of the tools connected to Segment, we’ve created new Sources and Destinations pages. The new Sources and Destinations pages allow each user to decide what information appears in their personal view for each page.

New Source page

On both pages, you can click the stack icon in the upper right-hand corner of the table to see and select Source properties to show. You can select up to five columns of new properties, such as “Created At”, “Type”, “Category” and “Created By”.

Here are a few more Connections updates:

  • More powerful Salesforce Marketing Cloud destination: You can now use any Track event or Identify call to any API Event you’ve set up in your Salesforce Marketing Cloud destination. This means you can now trigger Journey Entry events, send SMS or email messages, and kick off Campaigns based on customer actions. You can get started in the Salesforce Marketing Cloud destination settings, under Actions

  • Updated Braze integration: With our new client-side library, Braze middlewares, you will be able to avoid delivery of duplicate identify events and reduce your API calls. Please reach out to beta@segment.com if you are interested in early access.


Protocols

We recently launched Protocols Transformations so that customers can change data as it flows through Segment to either correct bad data or customize the structure of an event.

Example transformation

The next time you see an event come through with the wrong event or property name, you can easily apply an immediate fix—instead of having to wait for your next app release. And if you find yourself needing a way to change an event to satisfy a destination requirement, transformations are an easy way to map event and property names exactly how you need them. Learn more in our launch blog post

Here’s one more Protocols update:

  • Tracking Plan Libraries: To help Protocols customers scale Tracking Plans within their organization, we launched libraries. Libraries allow you to create event or property groups which can then easily be imported to multiple Tracking Plans, making it much easier to scale consistent tracking across business units, apps, teams, platforms, etc. Learn more here

These new features are available to all customers using Protocols. If you’d like to see how Protocols can help you protect the integrity of your data, request a demo today.


Permissions

Customers can now permission Segment across multiple business units within one workspace using Label-Based Access Control. Workspace owners can then use custom labels to restrict permissions on user access, restrict which sources can be connected to a Personas space through a Connection Policy, and organize sources by viewing these labels as columns in the Sources page. Learn more in our Segment docs

Label management now available to select customers

Here are a few other Permissions updates:

  • Require MFA across the workspace: Workspace owners can now enforce the use of multi-factor authentication for all users by clicking on  “Advanced Settings” under the “Authentication” tab. 

  • Custom Environments: All workspaces can now create up to five custom environments. Users can still use the default “dev” and “prod” options or add their own options, such as “QA”, “Staging” or “Testing.”  Learn more here


Personas

You can now subscribe to Personas activity in User Settings to be proactively notified when an audience is created, an audience or computation sync fails, or when a destination sync fails, among other activities. Not only does this help you create more visibility, but it also makes it easier for teams quickly identify and fix data issues. 

Control your notifications for Personas updates

Here’s one more Personas update:

  • Connection Policies: To ensure that only dev data can enter a dev space, workspace owners can now configure the source labels that a Personas admin can connect to a space. For most customers, this will be restricting “Dev” sources to the Dev space or “Prod” sources to the Prod space. Workspace owners can configure this in the “Settings” page within the Personas space.

These new features are available to all customers using Personas. If you’d like to see how Personas can help you personalize every interaction, request a demo today.


We’re always making updates to Segment! To see everything for yourself, log in to your workspace.

New to Segment and want to learn more? Request a personalized demo.

Francisco Alberini on October 30th 2019

It should come as no surprise that data quality issues are a growing concern among organizations today, both large and small. A recent Forrester report quantifies the impact. It found that, on average, 32% of marketing teams' time is spent managing data quality, while 26% of their marketing campaigns suffered due to the quality of that data. It’s no wonder executives are starting to take notice, with 82% of companies making data quality a top priority. 

So how do companies improve data quality? A well-defined tracking plan that maps business objectives to user actions is a great start. Segment’s Tracking Plan feature was launched as part of our Protocols product last year to proactively help customers improve data quality. Since then, it’s helped hundreds of companies do just that. 

However, it’s a simple fact of life that mistakes happen. 

Even the most exacting data collection processes are subject to human error and organizational complexity, and a single implementation error on a business-critical event, like Lead Captured, can cost your business hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Previously, the only means of fixing bad data was to ask engineering to fix the instrumentation code, a lengthy process that could take weeks if not months. 

For example, let’s say you’re an e-commerce retailer and have followed the Segment e-commerce Spec to track Order Completed events. In your latest app release, a new engineer changes the event name to orderCompleted, a naming convention they used at their previous company. 

This casing change seems innocuous, but it sends your organization into a tailspin as funnel reports, marketing campaigns, and attribution models all break. After a brief moment of panic, you create a JIRA ticket, beg engineering to push the fix, and wait patiently for your customers to update their app version. If you’re lucky, a month later, your data collection has returned to normal.

We’ve heard cases such as the above repeatedly over the past year, so today we’re excited to announce the launch of Transformations, now included in Protocols, to help customers fix bad data immediately.

Transform your data to move faster

With Transformations, you can change data as it flows through Segment to either correct bad data or customize the structure of an event. The next time you see an event come through with the wrong event or property name, instead of waiting for your next app release, you can immediately apply a fix. And if you find yourself needing a way to change an event to satisfy a destination requirement, transformations provide an easy way to map event and property names.

Transformations opens up a slew of interesting new use cases for our customers. Let’s dive in!

Conform to Segment specs with Transformations

Tracking plans can be a somewhat new concept for teams to become acquainted with, so we've developed sample tracking plans for a variety of industries and use cases.

These specs also allow Segment to map key events to the unique requirements of each Segment destination. For example, if a video analytics destination expects to receive Video Content Started with a specific set of named properties, we can build out destinations to format the payloads accordingly based on the video spec. 

For many businesses, there are often situations where events don’t conform to a Segment Spec, which in turn causes issues with your destinations, Transformations makes it incredibly easy to update those events to conform with the spec. To reuse our earlier example, with Transformations you can change an event name from completed_order to Order Completed to conform to Segment’s e-commerce spec.

Example transformation for Order Completed event

Transform your data for destinations

Segment currently integrates with 300+ destinations – business tools or apps that you can connect via Segment with the flick of a switch. Each tool expects to receive data in slightly different formats, which our integrations handle gracefully. 

However, there are unique scenarios in which a destination requires a specific property key or event naming convention to function properly. When multiple destinations require different conventions, customers are forced to send the same property or event twice, with different destination-relevant names. 

With Protocols Transformations, it’s now easy to align your event collection with your business model, and use transformations to map event and property names to satisfy the unique requirements of destinations like Google Analytics, Sailthru, and Iterable

Scale data transformations across the company

If you’ve used data transformation solutions before, you may have noticed that transformations can quickly become unmanageable as individuals look to solve their myopic problem. When researching transformations, one customer told us that in their current system they have a transformation that changes an event like so:

1st Transformation:    order_updated >  orderUpdated

2nd Transformation:  orderUpdated   >  Order Updated

3rd Transformation:   Order Updated >  order_updated

Without strong controls and visibility, every individual will create transformations to suit their specific needs, even when those needs conflict.

In the example above, it’s reasonable to think that the Google Analytics owner might create a transformation to map all the relevant events to Order Completed at the Source. That change would immediately break the analyst’s queries and limit their ability to analyze granular user activities.

To limit these issues and make transformations scale, we built in smart controls and high visibility. Specifically, each transformation rule must have a distinct combination of source, type, destination, and event name. 

This ensures:

  • A single event can only be transformed once, preventing situations like  order_updated > orderUpdated > Order Updated from happening

  • Property level transformations are always grouped by the original event name which consolidates property-level transformations under a single event

  • Transformations can be sorted and filtered quickly across any of the distinct dimensions

To improve visibility, we’ve added advanced filters and sorting functionality so you can see all transformations for a source, destination, event, etc. We also will soon include Destination Filters and Privacy Controls in this view to minimize the risk of conflicting operations.

Protocols Transformations list view


At Segment, we believe that all businesses should be able to collect data once and be able to send it everywhere it needs to go. Transformations is a further extension of this idea – simply collect data to Segment once, and we will help get it everywhere it needs to go, and in perfect shape for your business needs.

Ready to transform your data? Click here to request access to Protocols. Or if you’re a Protocols customer, visit your workspace to give Transformations a test drive.

You can also learn more about Transformations by checking out our docs.

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