Segment vs mParticle: One Is Better In 2022

Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) are becoming more popular each day, and there’s a good reason why. Businesses, especially SaaS companies are collecting more data than ever before. This data comes from websites, sales, revenue, multiple apps, and pages at the same time, meaning that a complete view of a customer involves data from various sources.

Without CDPs, all of this data is stored in silos that can be accessed by the whole organization. However, these silos often result in inaccurate and inconsistent data, making CDPs that use automation essential.

Moreover, building an in-house data warehouse takes a ton of time and engineering resources. Maintaining it is also quite difficult.

Image from State of Customer Data Management: CDP Institute Member Survey

That’s why in 2020, there has been a sharp increase in the number of businesses that have deployed CDPs, and two of these CDPs are Segment and mParticle. These two platforms are close to each other in terms of age, and their rivalry is known in the industry.

In this article, I’ll outline each tool’s advantages and disadvantages in detail to provide an objective comparison.

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Pro Tip:

If you are not satisfied with both tools, click here to see a better alternative 🙂

About Segment

Segment is a CDP founded in 2011. The main goal of this platform is to help businesses get a bird’s-eye view of their data and to optimize users’ experiences by using it.

Used mostly by cloud-based companies, this platform provides businesses with real-time customer data from web and mobile apps, email and campaign customization features, and analytics API. Segment separates all of these features into three main categories:

  1. Marketing: focuses on targeting the right customer base and customization for effective inbound marketing.
  2. Product: enables businesses to track user events and to integrate Segment with other inbound marketing tools.
  3. Engineering: makes it possible for you to record data from various apps via the APIs of Segment. This means that you can use a single platform to manage all of your data, a crucial feature that all CDPs must have.

Segment’s Features

Segment has a wide range of features, three of the main categories for them are:

  • Journeys: the features under this category help SaaS businesses map out customer behavior, create multi-step interaction templates tailored for each individual journey, and optimize customer engagement.
  • Functions: you can build new integrations, add new data sources, and connect new tools with the APIs under functions.
  • Warehouses: these features help you organize, transfer and store data in a way that makes sense to you and your team. There’s no need to continue using silos with this feature.

A detailed list of individual features includes, but is not limited to:

  • Account Based Marketing
  • Campaign Segmentation
  • Contextual Targeting
  • Customer Segmentation
  • Data Analysis Tools
  • Data Capture and Transfer
  • GDPR Compliance
  • Information Governance
  • Relationship Mapping
  • Target Account Identification
  • Website Personalization

Segment Reviews

Segment has an average of 4.6/5 based on 53 reviews in Capterra. Some of these reviews, positive or negative, stated that:

“The ability to centralize all data in the same tool is the best. You can forget about setting so many different tracking tools and pixels in your web or app.”

“It’s a great intermediary tool, which is what we use it for.”

“Sometimes it is hard to debug or know what is happening if something goes wrong.”

Segment Pricing

Segment has a free plan for up to 1000 visitors per month. There are two other paid plans called Team and Business, and free trials are available. The paid plans start at $120/month, increasing with the number of monthly tracked users.

Screenshot from segment.com

About mParticle

mParticle is another Customer Data Platform that helps businesses with data management and data-driven customization. Founded in 2013, this CDP categorizes its features based on industry or role. The role-based categories for mParticle’s solutions are:

  1. Developers: mParticle helps developers collect data from different platforms with minimal amount of code, helps prevent SDK crashes, and lets them build with any one of twelve SDKs they support.
  2. Product Managers: similar to Segment, mParticle can work with data from various A/B testing, marketing and analytics tools for better experimentation and cleaner customer data.
  3. Growth Marketers: the features under this category are built to increase customer retention and reduce churn via customer segmentation, analysis tools and customized messaging.

mParticle’s Features

The features under the categories above are:

  • Campaign Management
  • Customer Profiles
  • Customer Segmentation
  • Dashboard
  • Data Integration
  • GDPR Compliance
  • Knowledge Management
  • Multi-Channel Data Collection
  • Negative Feedback Management
  • Personalization
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Predictive Modeling
  • Sentiment Analysis

mParticle Reviews

mParticle got a 4.5/5 on Capterra, though there are only two reviews. According to them:

“Overall very positive experience. Our Account Manager is fantastic and questions get addressed very fast.”

“Overall, a pretty solid tool for a CDP, but does not hold the ability to be the one big answer for a CDP if that’s what you’re looking for in your company.”

mParticle Pricing

mParticle does not offer a free trial or a free version. Instead, the pricing is customized based on the Monthly Tracked Users (MTU), data storage, and features your business wants to work with, and for that, you have to contact sales.

Screenshot from mparticle.com

What are Segment’s Advantages?

Users of Segment are satisfied mainly because of the reasons below:

Comprehensive Data

Segment gathers all of the actions of an individual user in various platforms, and historical data about your customers is all-encompassing. You won’t lose data after updating your sites or products.

Accurate Data

Centralizing the data from various apps is a big advantage, but the data Segment provides is also accurate and coherent. This is enabled by a product called “Protocols.” With Protocols, businesses can automatically detect if there’s any discrepancy within the data that’s being used by the whole organization.

Openness and Transparency

The partner APIs of Segment are constantly tested, and their performance can be viewed by the general public on their public status page. Also, Segment’s SDKs and integrations are open-source

Reduced Amount of Code

Segment reduces the amount of code you would need to analyze data from different platforms. Marketers can do most data integrations from a dashboard, which saves engineers time as they don’t need to push code. Also, lots of analytics tools are ready to be used with Segment, and the integration is easy for these partner brands, requiring a minimal amount of or no code.

Privacy

You can set rules to block certain user data from being collected, automatically locate personal data, and assign risk levels to it. Data storage is secure and it’s easy to monitor data erasure, which makes GDPR compliance simpler.

What are mParticle’s Advantages?

mParticle is preferred by users for the reasons below:

User Interface

While Segment’s UI is not understood/found to be lacking by some, mParticle is liked for its user-friendly design.

Centralized and Comprehensive Data

Similar to Segment, mParticle gives businesses a comprehensive overview of customer data from various platforms. It’s possible to record event frequency, record first-time occurrences for events, and to segment customers to create personalized experiences.

Data Model Based on App Data

mParticle started as an app-only platform, but they have been working with the web for almost seven years and have been certified by companies like Google and Oracle. Since their data model is based on app data, their integrations are not solely web-focused, supporting full functionality for mobile apps. Segment’s integrations are based on web data and may not support full feature functionality like mParticle.

Easy to Work with Vendors

To make data connections easier, mParticle has secure APIs and SDKs that help businesses build data infrastructures with secure inputs and outputs. The data flow to any vendor that you’re working with can be controlled via filters, ensuring data privacy and security.

More Budget-Friendly

mParticle also has an MTU-based pricing system, but customers have found the prices more affordable compared to Segment.

What are Segment’s Disadvantages?

The main complaints of Segment users are usually about price or complexity/ease of use:

Complexity

For businesses using more popular platforms (such as WordPress or Shopify) to build their sites, Segment doesn’t cause much of a problem. However, businesses with their own custom built websites tend to struggle while integrating Segment’s tools into their site. This makes it harder to track granular data for said businesses.

UI and “functions” features are complex

The “functions” features are complex: custom integrations, though available, aren’t very easily implemented, and the UI is not intuitive.

Learning Curve

There’s a steep learning curve: setting up and understanding the platform requires a lot of time and effort.

Debugging

Though there’s a web-based debugger tool, debugging has still been hard for some users.

Pricing

Since the price of Segment is based on monthly visitors (MTU), it can get expensive very fast. Thus, it’s important to know every detail about the tool and to make full use of the platform. Also, this pricing system of Segment is not fit for small businesses.

Businesses with a lot of anonymous users/visitors may have problems with their pricing plans.

What are mParticle’s Disadvantages?

There isn’t a main consensus as for what mParticle’s disadvantages are, so I’ll just mention the ones that are cited often:

Limited Data Transformation

While Segment can be used as an ETL (extract, transform and load) tool for your data, mParticle is fit for extracting and loading. Users cannot easily transform data in the data warehouse, although mParticle itself transforms data to fit the platform’s standards.

No Free Trial

It isn’t possible to test mParticle to see if it’s a good fit for your business, while Segment provides users with a free demo upon request.

Hard to Switch Vendors

While it’s easy to set up and work with vendors, making changes and switching vendors seems to be a problem for some users.

Steep Learning Curve

Similar to Segment, mParticle requires some time to adjust, but since both tools have steep learning curves, this factor is probably not a determining one.

A Better Alternative: HockeyStack

HockeyStack is an end-to-end analytics tool for SaaS companies. It unifies marketing, revenue, sales, and product data into one dashboard with no code so that you can understand what really drives revenue at your SaaS. It’s completely no code, and it doesn’t require any setup.

HockeyStack’s Features

HockeyStack offers these features with no code:

  • Step-by-step user journey
  • Custom dashboards
  • Funnels and goals
  • Insights
  • Surveys
  • Revenue analytics
  • Segments

and more

Revenue + Marketing Dashboard

HockeyStack Pricing

HockeyStack has a free forever plan and 3 paid plans. Paid plans have a 14-day trial with a 30-day refund guarantee.

You can check out the pricing page here.

HockeyStack Integrations

  • Paddle
  • Stripe
  • Hubspot
  • Salesforce (coming soon)
  • Zapier (coming soon)

HockeyStack Pros and Cons

I might be biased, but this is an objective evaluation of HockeyStack’s pros and cons 🙂

HockeyStack Pros

The unique benefit of HockeyStack is its ability to unify your marketing, revenue, sales, and product data using no code. This allows you to uncover unique insights that you wouldn’t be able to by using multiple tools as they cause you to have fragmented data.

  1. You can integrate with Stripe, Paddle, and Hubspot and build every single dashboard that you can think of, using all sales, marketing, revenue, and product metrics.
  2. You can create funnels, goals, and surveys, which are rare to get with other tools on this list.
  3. You don’t need any developers, tracking is cookieless, and the script is small, so it doesn’t increase your site loading time.

HockeyStack Cons

HockeyStack generally lacks reporting features as it’s not focused on agencies and other reporting-based businesses.

  1. HockeyStack doesn’t have weekly e-mail reports
  2. The tool lacks some integrations, such as Salesforce, Mailchimp, and Zapier. (which are on the roadmap)

Conclusion

For businesses looking for both a CDP platform and a personalization tool, Segment may be a better option, though it requires a bigger budget as well. However, if you want a tool that provides full functionality for mobile app integrations, and if you have a smaller budget, mParticle is likely a better choice. Keep in mind that both tools provide customers with the main feature that is to view all customer data on a single platform. Also, both platforms require coding and technical knowledge to some extent. So, if you want a no-code and easy setup tool, HockeyStack is the right choice.

FAQ

What is mParticle?

mParticle is a customer data platform that uses APIs and SDKs to collect customer data from various tools. It’s a platform that helps businesses “manage data quality, enforce governance, and drive better customer interactions.”

What is mParticle good for?

mParticle is good for simplifying and modernizing your data structure with minimal amount of code.

What is the main difference between mParticle and Segment?

Segment is more established than mParticle. It has a larger customer base and a wider range of integrations.