Segment vs mParticle: Which 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 simultaneously, meaning that a complete view of a customer involves data from various sources.
Without CDPs, all of this data is stored in silos that cannot be accessed by the whole organization. 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, while data warehouse maintenance is also impossible without an experienced team.
That’s why in 2020, there has been a sharp increase in the number of businesses that have deployed customer data platforms such as Segment, mParticle, and other alternatives. Both Segment and mParticle are known in the industry for their capabilities and for their rivalry.
In this article, I’ll outline each tool’s advantages and disadvantages and share the factors you should think about while considering Segment vs. mParticle.
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Segment is a customer data platform 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. These features can be categorized into three main categories:
- Marketing: focuses on targeting the right customer base and customization for effective inbound marketing. You can map out customer behavior, create multi-step interaction templates tailored to each journey, and optimize customer engagement,
- Product: enables businesses to track event data and integrate Segment with other inbound marketing tools.
- Engineering: makes it possible for you to record raw data and unify data from various apps via the APIs of Segment. This means that you can use a single customer data platform to manage your data, a crucial feature that all CDPs must have.
Here are some other capabilities of Segment:
- 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
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Segment has an average of 4.6/5 based on 53 reviews in Capterra. Let’s take a look at some of these reviews:
“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 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.
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:
- Developers: mParticle helps developers collect customer 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.
- 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. This feature makes both tools versatile product analytics tools.
- Growth Marketers: the features under this category are built to increase customer retention and reduce churn via customer segmentation, analysis tools and customized messaging.
The features under the categories above are:
- Campaign Management
- Customer Profiles
- Customer Segmentation
- Data Integration
- GDPR Compliance
- Knowledge Management
- Multi-Channel Data Collection
- Negative Feedback Management
- Predictive Analytics
- Predictive Modeling
- Sentiment Analysis
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 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.
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What are Segment’s Advantages?
Users of Segment are satisfied mainly because of the reasons below:
Segment gathers all raw data and actions of an individual user in various platforms, and historical event data about your customers is all-encompassing. You won’t lose data after updating your sites or products, as the data aggregation features of Segment are advanced.
Segment offers built-in data validation features which guarantee accurate and cohereent data. This is enabled by a feature called “Protocols.” With Protocols, businesses can automatically detect if there’s any discrepancy within the data that’s being used by the whole organization. Ensuring data quality is one of the features that highlight Segment amongst its alternatives, and it saves you from using data warehouses for storage.
Openness and Transparency
The 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, allowing for greater transparency.
Reduced Amount of Code
Segment reduces the amount of code you need to perform data analytics. Marketers can do most data integrations from a dashboard, which saves engineers time as they don’t need to push code. Also, many analytics tools are ready to be used with Segment, and the integration is easy for these partner brands, requiring minimal or no code. This is one of the factors that put Segment in front of its competitor RudderStack.
You can set rules to block certain customer 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:
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 customer 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.
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:
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 customer 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.
There’s a steep learning curve: setting up and understanding the platform requires a lot of time and effort.
Though there’s a web-based debugger tool, debugging has still been hard for some users.
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?
Here are some limitations of mParticle:
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.
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.
Steep Learning Curve
Similar to Segment, users can find mParticle difficult to use – especially when they are new to the tool.
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Factors to Consider before Making A Decision
The detailed review above must have given you an idea of how both tools can be used for various purposes. That said, there are a few factors that you should take into consideration before you make a decision.
Let’s take a look at some of these factors.
If historical data is important to you, you must choose a tool that allows retroactive tracking. A tool that can track retroactively track event data will allow you to accurately predict user behaviors and map out their journey. Another added benefit of these tools is that via data analytics, they can help you identify which kinds of content have been popular among your target audience, allowing you to create more similar content.
You may be using a number of different tools for your marketing such as Google ads, Hubspot, MailChimp etc. Since making sense of this data fragmented across various platforms can be difficult, you need to ensure that the data analytics tool you’re using allows you to bring this data together without any long or cumbersome technical processes.
When choosing a tool for your business, it’s important to remember that the cheapest (or free) tool may not always be the best option. Take a good look at the features and capabilities of the tool you’re considering, and see if they offer a free trial or money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with it in a certain period of time.
Segment may be a better option for businesses looking for a customer data platform and a personalization tool, though it requires a larger budget. 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, which is to view all customer data on a single platform. Also, both platforms require coding and technical knowledge to some extent.
So, there’s no clear “winner” regarding Segment vs. mParticle, and either one may be a better fit for your business. But if you want to save yourself from building data warehouses or utilizing complex tools to store customer data, using one of the many CDPs on the market is crucial.
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.”
mParticle is good for simplifying and modernizing your data structure with a minimal amount of code.
Segment is more established than mParticle. It has a larger customer base and a wider range of integrations.