Twilio Segment Releases 2021 CDP Report, A Look at How Pandemic-Driven Digital Acceleration Ushered the Industry into a New Era

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Report finds that companies have significantly invested in building out their tech stacks to accelerate digitization and adapt to a multi-channel customer journey
By the end of 2020, Segment processed more than 1 trillion API calls per month, an increase of 575 billion since December 2019

Twilio Segment, the world’s leading customer data platform (CDP), published The Customer Data Platform Report 2021. The second annual report, which reflects the findings of anonymized platform usage data from Segment’s thousands of customers, uncovers how the rush to digital in the wake of the pandemic impacted businesses across the world.

The volume, velocity, and variety of data tracked across organizations nearly doubled in 2020. To illustrate, in December 2019, Segment was processing nearly 500 billion API calls per month. By the end of 2020, that number had grown to over 1 trillion. In order to handle the influx of customer data, many businesses were challenged to upgrade their technology stack and data strategy.

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“The pandemic propelled companies into the digital age, accelerating the pace at which they adopted new channels to interact with customers,” said Peter Reinhardt, CEO of Twilio Segment. “As the number of digital interactions increased, so did the volume of customer data, making it crucial for companies to have the right technology to rediscover and predict their customers’ preferences. We’re facing a turning point where the companies that fail to take hold of their data strategy and adjust their customer approach, simply won’t survive in the era of digital-first business.”

The multi-channel customer data strategy

In the past, most organizations collected and organized data according to the channel where it originated, creating data silos. This strategy is no longer a viable option.

In 2020, customers hopped from channel to channel like never before. For example, a single retail customer could use live chat to connect with the support team, talk with the sales team via email, click on a Facebook ad, and much more. Additionally, remote work highlighted the operational inefficiencies of having data spread across disparate systems and functions throughout an organization.

Most of the data flowing through Segment’s CDP came primarily from four different sources — web, mobile, server, and cloud — illustrating that the customer journey is happening across multiple channels. To combat this, companies were forced to coordinate their data strategies around the customer and invest in new tools to improve access to data across their organizations. CDPs were one of these strategic investments, as they sit between data collection, marketing, sales, and customer support tools, ensuring every customer interaction is informed by all the data a company has on them.

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The new enterprise tech stack

Segment’s CDP both collects data from hundreds of sources and sends it to a variety of tools, providing unique insight into the tools and technologies companies are using the most. Mirroring consumers’ multi-channel behavior, the average number of apps used by customers on the Segment platform increased by more than 30%, from eight in 2019 to 11 in 2020. This growth was particularly pronounced among enterprise customers, who used an average of 14 apps in 2020.

Companies most frequently sent data to the following tools — many at much higher rates than previous years:

  • Analytics (e.g. Google Analytics, Amplitude, Mixpanel)
  • Digital advertising (e.g. Facebook Pixel, Google Ads)
  • Customer success (e.g. Zendesk, Help Scout)
  • CRM (e.g. Salesforce, HubSpot)
  • Email marketing (e.g. Mailchimp, Braze)

The frequency in the use of these tools indicates that many companies are continuing to lean into digital engagement and transformation efforts, despite the uncertain economic circumstances.

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