Josephine Liu, Sherry Huang on June 9th 2021

Our latest feature, Journeys, empowers teams to unify touchpoints across the end-to-end customer journey.

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Andy Schumeister, Netto Farah, Roland Warmerdam, Stephanie Evans on May 22nd 2018

After building our own consent management solution, we learned how difficult it is to develop a tool that both meets the requirements of the GDPR and aligns with Segment’s approach to privacy. In particular, we needed a consent management solution that was technically dependable, transparent, and easy for visitors to use, in addition to being compliant.

Through conversations with many of our customers, we learned that they had similar requirements and were also struggling to find an adequate solution. That’s why we decided to open source our solution and make it available to our customers and the community. 

In this post, we’ll walk you through what exactly consent management is and how the Segment Consent Manager works, share details on the key features, and show you how you can build it into your website in less than a week.

What is consent management?

Consent management is the process of systematically informing users about how your business collects and uses private data, and giving users the opportunity to provide (or deny) consent to this usage. The purpose of consent management is to provide users with control over how their data is used, while also ensuring compliance with data privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

What is a consent management solution? 

A consent management solution (also called a consent management platform, or CMP) is a tool that automates the process of requesting consent for data usage, stores data on user privacy preferences, and updates these preferences when users request changes.

Why do you need a consent management solution for the GDPR?

The GDPR requires that companies have legal grounds to process and collect EU residents’ personal data. There are a number of approved grounds, and businesses may have different grounds for processing different kinds of customer data.

The Consent Manager was built to help with one of the approved grounds for processing personal data: consent. If your company is using consent as the legal grounds for processing data, you’ll likely want a technical consent management solution to collect, manage, and ultimately honor your website visitors’ consent preferences to ensure you're GDPR-compliant. 

How the open source Segment Consent Manager works

At its core, the Segment Consent Manager is a way for website visitors (mobile or desktop) to control and customize their tracking preferences. They can opt out entirely of being tracked, or selectively opt out of categories of tools from which they don’t want their information processed. 

The Segment Consent Manager is built off of our analytics.js library, so you need to be using Segment to deploy it.

Diving into the details, here’s how we built the open source Consent Manager into Segment’s website: 

  1. Visitor from the EU lands on our site 

  2. Visitor sees a banner giving them the option to change preferences

  3. Visitor selects change preferences, and is presented with a modal that allows them to opt in or out of certain categories of tools

  4. Visitor saves their preferences, and we honor their preferences whenever they visit our site

  5. If the visitor dismisses the banner or starts to use the site, they agree to our website data collection policy, and tracking will begin (as explained in the banner)

Here’s a look at how it works on our website today.

Key features of the Segment Consent Manager

The Segment Consent Manager is built to help you collect and manage consent from your website visitors while ensuring you comply with data privacy regulations. Here are some key features that enable you to do so:

1) Analytics.js is optimized to honor consent preferences

We first request the customer to consent to data collection and then configure a custom build of analytics.js at runtime to respect the visitor’s preferences. We do this by surfacing a banner to give visitors the ability to configure their consent preferences. If a user sees the banner and then closes it out or continues to use the site, the default preferences are treated as accepted. For jurisdictions that require affirmative opt-in consent, we set the default preferences to "opt out" to comply with local requirements. Our banner makes it clear that by using our site, the user is agreeing to this policy. The visitor can, of course, access the modal to change their preferences at any time by clicking on the “Website Data Collection Preferences” link in the footer of our site.

When a customer has chosen their tracking preferences, analytics.js only loads integration libraries for the categories that the user has consented to. If they don’t allow any categories, we don’t initialize analytics.js at all. We use a browser cookie to store the user consent options, so their preferences persist across the entire website when they return. If the user clears their cookies, their preferences will reset. If this happens, they will see the banner the next time they visit the site. 

2) Privacy-conscious EU traffic detection

Detecting EU traffic presents a classic “chicken and egg” problem. How do you decide where the user came from without using their Personally Identifiable Information (PII)? The most obvious and common way to do this is to look at the IP address, but this compromises end-user privacy and can often be inaccurate. 

Instead, we use time zones to determine if a user is physically in the EU, and also utilize their language preferences as a hint to determine whether they might be a European resident visiting another country. While this approach is more inclusive than necessary (meaning non-EU residents may also see the banner), we wanted to prioritize privacy and compliance at the expense of accuracy. You can check out the technical documentation of this EU traffic detection feature here.

3) All of the Segment integrations connected to your website are covered automatically

The Segment Consent Manager will account for all of the integrations connected to your website Source in Segment, whether they’re configured via Device Mode like the Facebook Pixel (has to be loaded in the browser) or they’re configured via Cloud Mode, like Zendesk (where data is sent from the server). The Segment Consent Manager also detects when new tools are added to your website via Segment and automatically updates the modal to include it. As an additional layer of precaution, if you add a new tool to your site, the Consent Manager will re-ask visitors for consent the next time they visit your site. This way you can update your marketing and analytics stack and continue to be transparent with your customers. 

4) Fully customizable user experience

We have two versions of the Consent Manager you can use depending on what you’re optimizing for. If you want to get a solution live on your website as soon as possible, you can use our out-of-the-box solution that we use on our website today. If you’re looking to align the user experience with your product or brand, we offer React Components that allow for full customization of the UI.

How to use the Segment Consent Manager

You can get started with the Consent Manager using one of these two options. As a quick reminder, both versions require you to have a Segment account.  

Option 1: Out-of-the-box Consent Manager

To use this version of the Consent Manager, simply include our script tag on the bottom of your page (as pictured below). The full UX that we’re using on our site is available to you, including a web and mobile optimized UX. All you need to do is finalize the copy for your modal, and you’re good to go. 

Option 2: BYOD (Bring Your Own Design)

For this version, we provide a few React Components (our favorite framework for building UIs) that you can use to customize the Consent Manager according to your preferences. 

While this option requires more investment from your team, it allows for full customization and alignment with your brand. You can create your own custom categories in the consent modal (e.g., marketing and analytics), and customize the UX to seamlessly integrate with your own website or single-page app.

To use this option, import our ConsentManager component, mount it anywhere on your page and add your customization. Check out the full documentation here

Check out the Segment Consent Manager project on GitHub for more advanced examples and a deep dive into how you can build a consent manager that is tailored to your user experience and empowers your visitors to control their data collection preferences.

If you have any questions about the GDPR or want to learn how Segment can help you be compliant, please get in touch or visit our new GDPR resource page.

Kevin Niparko, Doug Roberge on May 15th 2018

Twilio Segment Personas is now part of Segment’s Twilio Engage product offering.

The best way to acquire, serve, and retain your customers is to better understand their interests and needs. You need to know which actions your customers have taken over the course of their relationship with your brand, no matter where these interactions happen. Ideally, each conversation should incorporate context from a customer’s past interactions. However, synthesizing this data into actionable insights is a massive data and infrastructure challenge. We’re here to help.

Today we’re releasing Segment’s latest product to the world: Personas. Personas is now out of beta and generally available so you can treat your customers like people, not data points.

Using Personas, our beta customers have already been able to drive a 50% lift in customer engagement, 10% reduction in ad spend, and 33% increase in ad conversions. 

The three core pillars of Personas

Personas is a new product built on Segment’s customer data infrastructure. Personas is powered by all of the first-party data you’re already collecting with Segment across every customer touch point, including mobile, web, server, and even cloud sources. Here’s how it works:

Identity Resolution: Personas automates the manual process of resolving disparate event data across devices and channels. With the Segment Identity Graph, Personas intelligently merges user data into complete, customer-level profiles in near real-time. 

Trait & Audience Building: Next, you can use an intuitive drag-and-drop interface to build Computed Traits, or per-user metrics like lifetime value, on top of these profiles. You can also develop Audiences, or cohorts of users, like dormant big spenders. For instance, you might include anyone with a lifetime value Computed Trait of over $1,000 who also hasn’t been back to your store, site, or app in 2 months in this audience

Activation: Lastly, you can sync Computed Traits and Audiences to your Segment Destinations with just a few clicks to personalize messages across channels, optimize ad spend, and improve targeting. You can also use the Profile API to build in-app and onsite personalization. No more uploading and downloading CSVs or querying frenzies to find the right audience to target. Personas enables you to build traits and audiences from your historical data that are continually refreshed as you learn more about your customers.

Personas is compatible with all server-side Destinations as well as Facebook Custom Audiences and Google AdWords.

Customer wins powered by Personas

Now that you know what Personas does, let’s dive into how companies are already using it to improve the customer lifecycle. From acquiring new users, to streamlining communications, and experimenting faster, Personas has become integral to many growth teams’ workflows. Here are use cases from a few of our early customers and the positive impact Personas has had on their businesses.

Improve campaigns by identifying and targeting high-value customers, an online education platform for entrepreneurs, relies on Facebook for new user acquisition. However, they were limited by Facebook’s audience builder, which doesn’t allow for advanced event property and user trait filtering. Using the Identity Graph and event-based Audiences, was able to build a seed audience of their best users and activate it in Facebook to build lookalike campaigns. Their new campaigns increased return on ad spend by 10%. 

Similarly, DigitalOcean, a cloud platform for developers and their teams, was able to improve their cost per conversion with Personas by an impressive 33% compared to Google’s in-market audiences. 

Keep audiences consistent and messages in-sync across channels, a post-production video collaboration software platform, used Personas to implement a cross-channel marketing strategy by syncing their audiences across each of their previously independent end tools for in-app messaging, email, and live chat. Building centralized audiences within Personas and activating them across a variety of tools ensured that each customer received consistent messages and improved’s performance in those channels by over 50%.

Experiment faster with new audiences and simplified work streams

Personas enabled the user acquisition team at DigitalOcean to build new audiences based on high-value customer attributes 5x faster because they no longer had to pull lists from their analytics tools and manually upload them to their marketing tools. Similarly, was also able to reduce campaign coordination time by 50% by activating traits and audiences to each end tool they used. 

What will you do with Personas?

These are just some of the most popular use cases for Personas that we’ve seen to date. However, they aren’t the only exciting use cases explored during the beta. 

For example, in addition to coordinating their messages across channels, the team also leveraged profiles in Personas to streamline their customer support function and decrease the resolution time for complex support tickets by up to 80%. Moreover, a number of customers have used their customer data in combination with the new Profile API to personalize their digital experiences with customer-specific product or content recommendations.

Your customer data infrastructure

We believe that putting customers first is largely a data challenge. We’re on a mission to provide the customer data infrastructure you need to remove the technical hoops preventing you from best serving your customers. Our core platform enables you to collect, organize, and distribute your first-party data. Personas is a huge step in helping you synthesize that data and make it actionable. 

Personas not only helps growth teams lower customer acquisition costs, increase lifecycle conversions, and provide a consistent experience, it also provides benefits across your organization. Support teams can more quickly resolve tickets. Product teams can personalize in-app and onsite experiences. Analytics teams can reduce query time with a comprehensive users table. 

Getting everyone on the same page about what is happening with your customers is a huge win in itself, as few companies ever agree on a single source of truth. Now that you have it, we can’t wait to see what you do with it. 

Ready to get started? Click here to request a demo of Personas. 

Or to learn more about how used Personas to coordinate marketing messages across channels and reduce ticket support time, sign up for our upcoming webinar here.

Chris Sperandio, Andy Schumeister on April 24th 2018

When enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) begins next month, EU residents will be able to exercise a number of rights that give them more control over their personal data. They can request access to their data, object to the processing of their data, or even ask for their personal data to be deleted altogether. 

If your customers request that you delete their personal data, you have 30 days to comply. That’s 30 days to determine what data you have collected about them, where that data is stored, and which vendors are processing the data. Once you’ve identified these locations, you then have to actually delete the customer’s data from your own systems and ensure your data processors delete that customer’s data from their systems too. And, that’s just for one request for one customer for one right. We want to make this easier for you. 

To help you operationalize this aspect of GDPR compliance, we’re launching a new API and end-user privacy tools to fulfill and manage requests.

Here’s what you can do with our new end-user privacy features:

  • Issue deletion requests to delete a specified user’s data from Segment

  • Forward user deletion requests to supported Destinations, including Amplitude, Braze (formerly Appboy), Intercom, and Iterable

  • Suppress data collection for specific users

  • Monitor deletion and suppression status from a user interface

These new features are available to all customers.

Manage user deletion across Segment and supported Destinations

You can now issue deletion requests from a simple interface in the Segment app or use our API to programmatically delete a specified user’s data from Segment. Issuing a user deletion request will delete that user’s data from all of Segment’s internal archives and environments within 30 days. 

To be compliant, you’ll need to make sure the data is deleted from wherever it is stored or processed. While it is your responsibility as a data controller to work with all of your data processors (including Destination partners on the Segment platform), we’re simplifying this process for you. Here’s how:

  • Delete user data directly from Segment: Issue a deletion request to delete a specified user’s data from wherever it is stored by Segment, including our internal archives and staging environments.

  • Delete user data from supported raw data Destinations: Issuing a delete call will also delete a user’s data from all tables in Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, Postgres, Snowflake, and Amazon S3.

  • Forward deletion requests to supported Destinations: Segment automatically forwards deletion requests to supported Destinations, like Amplitude, Braze (formerly Appboy), Intercom, and Iterable, so you don’t have to. Supported Destinations should then process the deletion request, but we recommend double-checking with those tools to ensure the data is properly deleted.

  • Identify where you’ve sent a user’s data: See which other enabled Destinations have received the user’s data, so you know which tools you need to contact to request a deletion.

  • Keep track of rights requests to demonstrate compliance: To help you monitor and audit rights requests, all user deletions will be documented in the app. That way, if your customers or even regulators request confirmation that a request has been processed by Segment, you’ll be able to tell them exactly when it was honored.

Check out the API documentation to learn more.

Block data collection for specific users with one-click suppression

Under the GDPR, your customers have a right to object to having their personal data processed. When your customers withdraw consent, you can now add them to a suppression list to restrict their data from being sent to Segment and Cloud-based Destinations. Any user associated with a deletion request will automatically be placed on the suppression list.

You can also suppress user data collection programmatically through our API or from a new interface in the app. All you have to do is enter your customer’s userId, and they will be added to your suppression list. You can use the suppression list to easily add or remove users if their preferences change over time. 

Check out the docs to learn more about user suppression.

Our ongoing commitment to privacy and security

In November, we shared our commitment to helping you comply with the GDPR. We know that working with Segment is likely one part of a larger compliance roadmap you are working towards. That said, we want to help as much as we can. These new features, along with our existing functionality, enable you to facilitate the key end-user rights requests under the GDPR. 

While the GDPR does require some legwork, we welcome the Regulation and believe the legal requirements will raise the bar for protecting individuals’ rights and privacy. 

We also predict the Regulation will diminish data controllers’ reliance on third-party data sources for marketing and acquisition, as these data sources are often obtained and processed with questionable user consent. Ultimately, we expect that the GDPR will help businesses transition to activating first-party data to successfully provide a delightful user experience.

Check out the docs or visit the new “End-User Privacy” section of the app (accessible from your “Workspace Settings” page) to get started. Over the coming months, we plan to add support for more Destinations and share best practices for managing consent with Segment. 

If you have any questions about the GDPR or want to learn how Segment can help you be compliant, please get in touch or visit our new GDPR resource page.

Doug Roberge on March 20th 2018

Most companies struggle to build a single source of truth for every interaction with their customers because they have data siloed in scores of different tools. Often, they don’t realize the full extent of an engineering investment to bring all of their data together until they embark on an infamous “data lake” project. Not anymore. 

To help you access your data without the extra leg work, we’ve added Snowflake to the Segment platform as a new data warehouse Destination. 

Break out of the box

While standard analytics tools give you a good sense of what actions customers are taking, you can only do so much with an out-of-the-box tool. You’ll need a data warehouse to incorporate all data sources so that data can be queried in its rawest form. With a data warehouse, you’re prepared to answer business critical questions. 

How much revenue is at stake from unanswered support tickets? What percent of customers renew after using a certain set of product features? A data warehouse helps deliver these insights in a scalable way by unifying customer data and preventing data silos. Armed with the right insights, you can more effectively drive product design and development, evaluate marketing campaign effectiveness, and spot potential issues in your user experience. 

Segment + Snowflake: Easy to implement, scale, and manage

With Segment and Snowflake, you don’t have to build your own ETL pipeline to stream data from your mobile apps and websites into a data warehouse. You can also stream data from other sources like your CRM, help desk, payment systems, or email marketing tools. Segment schematizes and loads all of this data for you with no extra configuration required. Snowflake’s cloud data warehouse adjusts to your scale automatically and supports fast queries, no matter how many analysts access it at once. 

Automating this process will save your engineering team a significant amount of time. On average, our customers reported it would take 108 engineering hours up front and 40 hours of maintenance per month to implement a warehouse pipeline on their own. With Segment, that time shrinks to just a few minutes spent authorizing your Snowflake account.

Why choose Snowflake?

Selecting the right data warehouse for your business is no easy task. There are a number of strong solutions on the market, each with a slightly different feature set and sweet spot. To make the right choice you need to consider how much data you need to store, how quickly and often you’ll need to access it, and your engineering team’s experience managing a warehouse. These factors will dictate the best and most cost-efficient choice for you.

What makes Snowflake different from the other options out there? Here are some key benefits:

  • Instant, unlimited scalability. Snowflake’s multi-cluster cloud architecture is able to scale up and down automatically based on usage. Snowflake’s infrastructure separates storage from compute clusters so loading and querying can happen at the same time. This guarantees that your queries will be fast no matter how much data is being stored or how many people are accessing it. Their architecture can also reduce cost because you only pay for compute when you use it.

  • Standard SQL.You can get up and running faster because your analysts won’t need to learn a new language. Snowflake uses standard syntax for data warehouses, which means you can write your queries with standard SQL. 

  • No management burden. With Snowflake, all you have to do is run queries. It's fully managed and has no infrastructure or admin costs. Snowflake doesn’t require any indexes, list keys, partitioning, or vacuuming. As a result, you don’t have to dedicate your team’s time to making sure that your warehouse stays fast and efficient.

There are a number of Segment customers already using the integration including Yesware, Handshake, and Doximity. Doximity, a social network for medical professionals, saved days of engineering effort by using Segment to switch to Snowflake. 

Get your data into Snowflake today

Check out the full setup instructions here to get your data loading into Snowflake today.  

Still deciding which warehouse to use? Learn why Doximity and Yesware chose Snowflake in our upcoming webinar on April 19, 2018 at 11am PT.

Debbie Yeh on February 8th 2018

This post is a guest submission by one of our customers and friends at InVision. The InVision team’s clever use of Segment, combined with our partners ClearBrain and Clearbit, has led to some pretty advanced programmatic predictive models. We’re grateful they took the time to share how they did it in this writeup.



These days, it seems like every marketer on the internet is talking about using machine learning. There’s this promise that just by plugging in a few numbers, you can deliver a more personalized experience than ever before. 

It sounds hip, sophisticated, and exciting–but we’ve found there’s a lot of noise out there.

Amid the myriad tools and techniques on the market: how does one actually create personalized campaigns with machine learning?

That’s a question we found ourselves asking at InVision two months ago. 

InVision is a digital design platform with tools for ideation, design, prototyping and design management. Our platform has over 3 millions users from individuals to large enterprise companies on both free and paid plans.  

As a marketing team, our focus is specifically on acquisition and activation of users on these various plans. Last year alone, we sent over 500 email campaigns and ran 250 ads, across 6 different channels to drive growth. 

Across all of those efforts, we’ve found that creating personalized messages has by far the most outsized return. It’s led to a 7% (statistically significant) increase in user activation, which in turn has had a massive impact on our business and revenue numbers.

To reach that 7%, we combined three separate data collection tools:

  • Segment helps us collect data about our users

  • Clearbit enriches the data we’ve collected with additional ‘traits’ like company or geolocation

  • Clearbrain takes that full set of traits and applies machine learning to create ‘predicted traits’

Below we walk through the steps we took to enable such programmatic predictive modeling at InVision, and how we leveraged it to power all our marketing efforts.  

Instrumenting Your Data for Machine Learning

A predictive marketing infrastructure requires three things: data enrichment, instrumentation, and inference.

Data enrichment and instrumentation here is key. Predictive marketing at its core relies on building a statistical model of your users’ past behavior to predict their future behavior. So to identify and retarget which users were most likely to increase product utilization (e.g. create prototypes in InVision), we needed a complete picture of our users’ journey from signup to prototype-create.

By instrumenting tools such as Segment and Clearbit, we were able to automatically instrument and enrich the necessary traits for that user journey.

Segment powered the core of our instrumentation efforts. Instrumenting Segment allowed us to represent every stage of the user journey as a distinct track or identify call—from visit to signup to engagement. Additionally, Segment’s reserved traits on each identify call gave us powerful demographic inputs such as the referral source (context_page_referrer), campaign information (context_campaign_medium, context_campaign_source), and device type (context_user_agent).

To supplement our core instrumentation efforts, we used Clearbit - an API service that enriches third-party user attributes by email address. These attributes included information about our user’s employment history (traits_industry, traits_industrygroup, traits_sector), their location (traits_geo_country, traits_geo_state, traits_timezone), and their demographic details (traits_gender, traits_employment_role, traits_employment_seniority).

Combining Segment and Clearbit enabled us to instrument and enrich our user personas, providing a digital map of user behavior to power our predictive marketing campaigns.

Converting Segment Calls into Machine Readable Data

With the necessary data instrumented, our predictive marketing campaigns had sufficient inputs to infer who would perform the `prototype-create` event in the future based on the data we had tracked about them in the past.

But statistical models require data to also be in the right format. The data collected by Segment and Clearbit is stored in time-series and nested JSON objects. Machine learning models, by contrast, only understand inputs as booleans or integers.

To automate this process, we used ClearBrain (no relation to Clearbit!). ClearBrain automatically ingests Segment data to handle the data transformation and inference phases of a predictive marketing infrastructure.

Under the hood, ClearBrain converts each Segment trait and track call into the appropriate machine readable format. For instance, a Clearbit traits_industry property normally outputs as a string (e.g. software, specialty-retail, etc.). ClearBrain instead transforms the trait to a set of distinct boolean values (e.g. clearbit_industry_software = 0, or clearbit_industry_specialty-retail = 1).

ClearBrain in turn is able to transform each distinct Segment property into a consistent machine readable schema of booleans and integers:

  • Segment tracks → weekly count rollups (integer)

  • Segment traits (timestamp) → days count since date (integer)

  • Segment traits (string) → categorical pivot by value (boolean)

  • Segment traits (boolean) → true / false (boolean)

All of these transformations are performed automatically on connecting our Segment account to ClearBrain, and didn’t require any additional code or engineering.

Creating Predictive Traits in ClearBrain

With our data now instrumented and transformed, we were ready to identify which users were most likely to create a prototypes, and target them in our predictive marketing campaigns.

ClearBrain made it easy to identify which users to target. Using a point-and-click UI, we simply had to select the specific Segment track call as the goal we wanted to predict. We chose our prototype-create event, and in minutes ClearBrain analyzed every user who had performed the action in the prior week, building a statistical model for which users would perform the action in the coming week.

The benefit of using a statistical approach here is the automation. Instead of selectively guessing which combination of Clearbit and Segment attributes were most indicative of a user performing the prototype-create action, ClearBrain automatically scanned thousands of permutations in attributes, assigning weights to each by their relative importance to performing a prototype-create action.

These attribute weights in turn carry their own analytical value. Similar to the classic Facebook discovery of “7 friends in 10 days” leading to an active user, ClearBrain helped us map which of our other user actions were most indicative of creating a prototype. We found that:

  • Users who used the “hotspot” feature > 0 times in the past week had a 4% - 10% probability to create a prototype

  • Users who did the drag-and-drop action > 0 times in the past had a 4% - 7% probability to create a prototype

  • Users who completed the tutorial video > 1 times in the past week had a 4% - 7% probability to create a prototype

  • Users who used the “build-mode” view of the app > 3 times in the past week had a 4% - 5% probability to create a prototype

Combining these respective insights, ClearBrain consolidated these attribute weights automatically into a single predictive trait. A composite propensity score between 0.0 - 1.0, this predictive trait represented each user’s relative likelihood to perform the prototype-create action as a function of a users’ prior actions. The higher the score, the higher the likelihood that the user would perform the action in the current week—enabling us to know whom to target at the right time and place in our predictive marketing campaigns.

Increasing Lift Through Predictive Campaigns

The ease of using Segment + ClearBrain helped us to identify the top 25% of users most likely to engage or perform the `prototype-create` event in a given week.

Rather than inefficiently using all our marketing spend on all our users, we focused it to just those with the highest propensity (ClearBrain Score > 0.5) to create a prototype. We set up persistent omnichannel marketing campaigns to target these 25% of users in our Facebook ads and Hubspot emails.

And indeed we saw a measured lift in engagement from the targeting of these users. In just one week of running the campaign, we found that email CTR increased by 40%, and ad CTR in Facebook rose 70% relative to a control.

Downstream, these respective marketing campaigns resulted in an overall increase in the use of the prototype-create feature by 7%.  The initial results are strong and we have plans to continue to optimize our campaigns to further increase performance.

This was a paradigm shift for our team, as rather than guessing the ideal target of email subscribers to drive engagement in prototype creation, we were able to selectively target an intelligently designed group of users. Rather than segmenting users by their current stage in the user lifecycle, we segmented and retargeted users by their likelihood to perform an action and proceed to the next stage.

Building our omnichannel marketing campaigns around predictive traits instead of historical segments in turn provided a powerful tool for driving engagement and transforming our customer journey.  The end result is not only a more efficient and higher performing outreach but a more relevant and meaningful experience for our users.

Peter Reinhardt on November 29th 2017

Reducing Indoor Carbon Dioxide

Elevated carbon dioxide impairs decision making. And it doesn’t take a lot of carbon dioxide either! Normal atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen from 280 ppm to 415 ppm in the past century, but in poorly ventilated buildings and stuffy meeting rooms, concentrations can easily get into the thousands of ppm. Unfortunately, above 1000 ppm theres a substantial and measurable reduction in decision making performance.

A company lives and dies on decisions made every day at all levels, and we couldn’t tolerate an office environment that might be making our decisions worse! So we decided to measure carbon dioxide levels rigorously and see if improvements were necessary. (In the past we’ve also experimented with ways to improve focus by reducing noise and reducing stress & exhaustion by trying to minimize commute time.)

Luckily, measuring carbon dioxide levels turns out to be extremely cheap and easy to do. You can purchase an Eve Room online for $80 and drop the puck anywhere in your office. Here’s ours:

After letting it collect measurements for a couple days (or a month), you can export the raw data as a CSV:

We graphed the data and were surprised by what we saw.

First, there were some massive spikes to 2,500 ppm. And one several-day period of 1,000 ppm.

To understand what was going on, we contacted our building’s HVAC engineer and walked through the data with him. We learned that up until roughly July 23, the building had been completing the installation of new HVAC equipment and getting the hang of operating it. Also, the building had redone the roofing material, necessitating a partial shutdown of the HVAC system to prevent toxic roofing gases from entering the building. So that explains the first month of chaotic carbon dioxide levels. After that, it settles into a consistent daily rhythm well within reasonable carbon dioxide limits.

We also naively assumed that carbon dioxide would rise during the day when people were breathing, and fall at night after the HVAC system had cleared it out. We found the opposite.

If you look closely at the above graph, you can see that carbon dioxide peaks around 11pm, and falls to its minimum during the day when people are around. After discussing with our HVAC engineer and running some rough calculations, we believe this cycle is driven by two factors:

First, the HVAC system shuts down late in the evening, and turns on early in the morning. So during the day, we’re mostly breathing fresh air from outside. Plus, the exuberant family of plants we have in our office is greedily consuming carbon dioxide too.

Second, when the HVAC system shuts down and people go home, night falls and the large number of plants in our office switch from photosynthesis to respiration. So at night we lose circulation of fresh air from outside, and the plants start producing carbon dioxide to stay alive. This drives up carbon dioxide levels.

After some initial concerns about the high carbon dioxide levels we were seeing in early July, we’re now happy with the levels we see day-to-day.

Given the substantial negative impact that carbon dioxide has on decision-making, I strongly recommend you spend the $80 on a carbon dioxide meter, run some analysis (here’s our data), and talk to your building’s HVAC engineer. And if you’re feeling adventurous, order some plants for a little extra boost.

PS. Our Head of Infrastructure suggested in jest that we use a geiger counter to check radiation levels. 😜 We’re happy—although slightly disappointed—to report that we were not able to find any radiation sources in the building.

Peter Reinhardt on November 16th 2017

In less than six months, your business will face the greatest regulatory change in data privacy policy in the last 20 years: the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The European Union will begin enforcing the GDPR starting on May 25, 2018 in an effort to strengthen the security and protection of the personal data of EU residents. 

In keeping with our ongoing commitment to privacy and security, Segment will be ready for the GDPR before May 25, 2018, when the law goes into effect. But that’s not all. As the central record for your user data, we are also committed to making it easier for you to comply with the GDPR.

Respect for our customers, and the end users they seek to understand, has always been central to Segment’s values. We recognize that protecting privacy requires a holistic security program. Whether it’s encrypting data or securing data in transit and at rest, we want you to have confidence in how your user data is being collected, transported, and stored. Preparing for the GDPR is just one of the ways we’ll be supporting our customers with secure data management.

Specifically, here is how we’ll support our customers with GDPR readiness:

  • An updated Data Processing Agreement (DPA) that reflects the requirements of the GDPR and ensures compliant data transfer with storage outside the EU.

  • New product capabilities to help you be compliant when users request you delete or suppress their data.

Our commitments as a data controller and processor 

The GDPR has different requirements depending on how your business interacts with personally identifiable user data.

Data controllers are companies that supply goods or services to EU residents, or that track or monitor EU residents and decide why and how data is collected and processed. As one of our customers, you are likely a data controller under the GDPR. One of your requirements as a data controller is to only work with compliant data processors.

Data processors are vendors or businesses that process data on behalf of data controllers. As a customer data platform, Segment is considered a data processor. We will be ready for the GDPR as both a data controller and when acting as a data processor on your behalf. 

Here are initiatives Segment is committed to as one of your data processors:

  • Updated Data Processing Agreement: Our previous Data Processing Agreement (DPA) conveyed our commitment to protecting customer data. Our updated DPA reflects the additional requirements of the GDPR.

  • Secure data transfer and storage outside the EU: Transfers of personal data outside the European Economic Area (EEA) are permitted as long as certain safeguards apply. Our customer DPA contains the EU Model Clauses, which are industry standard for data safety. This means that Segment agrees to protect any data originating from the EEA in line with European data protection standards. 

  • Technical and organizational security measures: Segment takes a holistic, risk-based approach to security. This means the platform secures your data in transit and at rest, restricts and secures data access, and provides continuous incident monitoring.

  • Processing according to controller instructions: As has always been the case, we only process personal data according to instructions from the controller (our customers). 

  • Prompt breach notifications: In line with our current policies, Segment will promptly inform you of any incidents involving your users’ personal data. 

Helping you achieve compliance

If you collect data about EU residents, you are likely considered a data controller under the GDPR. One of the biggest challenges you will face as a controller will be managing individuals’ requests to exercise their rights as defined by the Regulation. 

Upcoming Product Capabilities

To help you comply with user requests related to the right to erasure (the right to be forgotten), the right to object (the various rights to halt certain processing), and the right to restrict processing (the right to restriction), we are developing new capabilities that will be available to all Segment customers in early 2018:

  • Support for deletion requests: We are making it easy for you to honor requests related to the right to be forgotten by adding a new, secure endpoint to our existing HTTP API: /delete. Issuing a /delete call for a given userId via this endpoint will ensure all personal data related to that userId is deleted from Segment's archives and your connected warehouses. 

  • Automatic suppression: To help you comply with requests related to the right to object or restrict, any userId associated with a /delete call will automatically be placed on a suppression list. For any userId on the suppression list, we will block all incoming personal data pertaining to that userId from being tracked by Segment and sent to connected Destinations.

Existing Product Capabilities

With regards to the additional rights defined in the GDPR, including the rights to access, data portability, and rectification, Segment already enables you to be compliant: 

  • Honor the rights to access and portability: Under the GDPR, EU residents have a right to access their personal data and are entitled to obtain their personal data in a commonly used format, such as a CSV file. Segment’s raw data integrations and warehouses enable you to build a complete picture of all data you’ve ever sent to Segment about a given end user to then share with them in a structured format. 

  • Rectify user data: The GDPR also empowers individuals to correct any personal data that is deemed inaccurate or incomplete. When you fire an identify call, Segment will create or update a user and their traits in our platform and in downstream tools. As such, rectification of data in a given profile inside of Segment and in downstream Destinations is a simple identify call away. You can use a tool like Postman to send an updated identify call for any userId.

What’s next

As a company, we believe the new legal requirements will raise the bar for honoring end users’ rights, and we welcome the legislation. Not only will the GDPR make it easy for end users to exercise their rights, but we also predict the Regulation will diminish data controllers’ reliance on third-party data sources for marketing and acquisition, as these data sources are often obtained and processed with questionable user consent. Instead, we expect that the GDPR will help businesses transition to activating first-party data in order to successfully provide a delightful user experience.

For the latest updates and for more information on the GDPR, check out our Preparing for the GDPR guide. If you have any questions about the GDPR or want to learn how Segment can help you be compliant, please let us know.

Peter Reinhardt on October 25th 2017

Your customers expect you to remember who they are, no matter where they interact with your company — whether through your mobile app, website, emails, ads, push notifications, live chats, in-store, or the support and sales team. To them, you are one brand, one company, and they are one person. They should be treated like one, and each conversation you have with them, no matter which channel it’s on, should incorporate context from your past encounters. 

Of course, actually delivering on these continuous conversations presents a massive data and infrastructure challenge. You need to compile the complete history of every user across devices and channels into one profile and make that profile accessible across the tools you use to interact with customers. You need to be able to surface what’s actually important to each user from a wealth of raw data, so you know what to say to them next. 

Segment’s newest product, Personas, will help you understand the people behind your data, so you can deliver more human, personalized experiences. 

Learn more and request early access at:

Andy Schumeister on October 12th 2017

As part of our ongoing commitment to security, we are excited to announce support for Single Sign-On (SSO) and new user access levels.

With SSO and new user access levels you can:

  • Centrally manage your policies for authentication and access

  • Enforce policies like two-factor authentication and password rotation

  • Grant users read-only access to your workspace

These new features are now available to all customers on a Business plan.

Enforce authentication and access policies with Single Sign-On

SSO lets you use your existing SAML-based identity provider (such as Okta, OneLogin, or Duo Access Gateway) or GSuite to centrally enforce your policies for authentication and access in Segment.

We’re pleased to share that you can enable SSO through a self-service workflow. Check out the docs to see how easy it is to get set up today.

Control access to your account with new user access levels

Customers on a Business plan can now manage access to their account by assigning team members to one of three roles: Owner, Source Collaborator, or Read-Only Member. With the latest upgrade, you can let team members access your account to view your Schema or use the Debugger to troubleshoot tracking issues while limiting their ability to add new Sources or Destinations.

To help you select which role is right for each Segment user in your workspace, here is an overview of each role:

  • Owner: Owners have read/write access to all settings and Sources inside of a workspace. Owners can add or delete Sources and Destinations, update billing settings, add new team members, and more.

  • Source Collaborator: Source Collaborators have read/write access to all data and settings for specific Sources only. Source Collaborators cannot view or make changes to other Sources in your account or workspace. They also do not have access to any other workspace, account, or billing details.

  • Read-Only Member: Read-Only Members can view any Source or sub-resource to see their layout, settings, and live data in the Debugger. However, they cannot create or modify any Sources or Destinations. Read-Only Members can also view workspace settings, but cannot modify any settings.

To update your team members’ roles, go to Workspace Settings > Team Settings, and select the appropriate role.

To add a Source Collaborator, navigate to the Settings page for a given Source, and click Collaborators from the left-hand menu.

These updates reflect our ongoing commitment to data security and privacy at Segment, as well as our commitment to making your experience with our product as frictionless as possible.

If you’re a customer on a Business plan, check out the docs to get started with Single Sign-On or to learn more about new user access levels. If you’re interested in managing SSO or user permissions and are on our Team or Developer plan, get in touch!

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