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June 12, 2019

The difference between real-time and instant data is the difference between personalisation success or failure

By Joe Cripps, Celebrus

190613 Celebrus Redefining Real Time.jpg

In the context of technology marketing, the term real-time has been ubiquitous for as long as I can remember. And for those who are responsible for evaluating and making decisions to procure technology solutions, real-time has become a concept to be wary of. So why the scepticism? Real-time is perhaps the most over used and certainly the most abused phrase in the history of technology. Quite simply, the number of technology vendors who have laid claim to being real-time and the vast range of their capabilities, has made the term meaningless.

Perhaps we should draw a parallel with another industry whose marketers are obsessed with speed – the car industry. This highly regulated market obliges manufacturers to publish auditable performance figures relating to the speed and economy of their products, and these figures are a significant/important evaluation consideration to would be customers. Ironically in the tech industry, where purchases involve much higher levels of investment, and in theory more sophisticated and professional evaluation and procurement processes, there is no such objective performance data available in many cases. If the car industry was like this, budget low powered shopping cars would be claiming supercar performance.

In a market where anyone can claim to have real-time, it is very hard to accurately establish whether a software vendor’s solution is actually capable of enabling your intended use case. Of course, many uses of CDP technology does not require real time capability. For example, most analytics projects do not require data instantaneously because the insights from analytics are generally not applied in-the-moment. Similarly, if your customer data is being used to personalize email or social media campaigns, the data simply needs to arrive before the campaign is launched rather than within milliseconds of the data being captured.

However, if you are aiming to activate customer data for use in-the-moment, it’s hard to deny that you will need the data instantly. For example, if you are using your data to personalize the content of a web page or mobile app, the data needs to arrive within milliseconds, in significantly less time than it takes for the page to load. Even if the data arrives in one second, this in-the-moment personalization, because the data needs to arrive within a decisioning solution which generates a next best action and personalized content must then be created and served to the CMS. All of this needs to happen in significantly less than a second, because the page content will load in less than this time.

Now, it seems reasonable to assume that a vendor claiming real-time capabilities would be able to achieve what I have described above, but not everyone’s definition of real-time is quite this exacting. In reality, the marketing departments of many vendors make bold ‘real-time’ claims for solutions that take multiple seconds, minutes or even hours to connect data. That is why we at Celebrus have found a better term to describe the speed of our data connections. Because true real time capabilities should involve zero latency. In-the-moment personalization requires data to be available instantaneously, and Celebrus is one of a very exclusive selection of solutions that can deliver instant data.

Celebrus instant data is connected within less than 500 milliseconds of the customer interaction taking place. Celebrus’ unique tagging free technology captures the interaction data, identifies and profiles the customer, detects key signals of opportunity or threat within the customer behavior and connects either these signals or the entire data stream within the customer profile to the chosen campaign end point or decisioning solution.

We think the instant data term makes our capabilities a little less ambiguous for anyone considering which CDP to implement. But ultimately it’s not the name that the CDP vendor uses to describe their capabilities that’s important. It’s about defining your use case and determining how quickly you will need data to be available in order to achieve your desired outcome. If you want to achieve genuine, real-time personalization across digital channels, you will need a CDP that can capture and connect customer data within significantly less than a second.

Find out more about Celebrus instant data capabilities. Click here to contact our expert team.