Analyzing Segment’s Mobile API Traffic

Aug 3, 2016

By Ilya Volodarsky

A customer data platform’s most important job is making the entire customer journey accessible across all the major touch points. Segment focuses on collecting 10 core customer data streams: mobile, web, server, offline, support, sales, email marketing automation, advertisement, and payments. It’s fairly rare for us to see customers collect data from only one source. In fact, 90% of our business tier customers collect from multiple sources, and the average is 4 or more sources.

Even though we were seeing our customers turn on multiple sources, we were curious about the actual volume of data coming in through the API. We had the hypothesis that mobile, web, and server would be roughly similar. In this article, we analyzed the global API traffic on to see how all of our most popular app sources stack up by traffic:

API Traffic by Source

Comparing mobile vs. web vs. server, mobile turns out to be the largest traffic source. Our iOS and Android libraries have been open sourced since March 2013, and are now powering the analytics stack for over 3,000 mobile apps, including HomeAway, HotelTonight, Instacart, VSCO and DraftKings. Collectively, these apps have over 500 million downloads.


Note: mobile web is counted as web here. (P.S. if you’re collecting data from the mobile web, Segment can now collect analytics from AMP-powered sites).

Traffic by SDK

Which mobile SDK is most popular? Out of the competitors (AndroidiOS and Xamarin), Android takes the cake!


Server Wars

Server data makes up 25% of our total API traffic. Because our server libraries perform batching and validation automatically, we see customers almost always preferring to send data from our server libraries rather than directly to the HTTP API. Eighty-two percent of total server traffic originates from Segment-supported server libraries. Across all the server libraries, traffic from Segment’s node library is by far the winner.


Better Together

Segment customers do amazing things once all their data is one place, like calculating:

  • conversation rate of email campaigns (email + web/mobile/server)

  • revenue per email campaign (email + payments)

  • conversion rate of customers you have support conversation with (support + web/mobile/server)

  • ticket load by plan type (support + payments)

  • average revenue by first page viewed (payments + web)

At Segment, our goal is to make customer data easy to use and accessible across your entire organization.

  • Collect — Gather user data from your website, mobile apps, servers, and cloud services.

  • Structure — Abstract your data into user identities, actions, and business objects.

  • Integrate — Send the data to more than a hundred tools for analytics, email, and more with the flip of a switch.

  • Access — Load your raw data into a relational database without building a data pipeline.

With each new source, we are building a more complete customer data platform.

Want to learn about and grow your mobile users? Sign up today.

Interested in building infrastructural components for mobile apps and SDKs? We’re hiring.

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