Braze Alloys

Real-Time in No Time: Reducing Time-to-Insight with Looker Blocks

Jesse Tao By Jesse Tao Oct 19, 2018

Brilliant customer experiences are built on data. While companies usually intend to leverage the information they collect to support smart, data-driven engagement efforts, only 0.5% of collected data is actually ever used or analyzed. That means that the vast majority of that information just sits in silos, growing and growing without supporting anything meaningful.

According Harvard Business Review, access to timely data and the ability to transform that data into insights is a top priority for more than 70% of respondents—but only about 20% of those respondents have successfully adopted that capability.

When it comes to knowing your users, fresh, granular data is ideal: knowing that someone was browsing for red Adidas sneakers two minutes ago is more valuable than knowing they were browsing for shoes last week. Why? Because the likes, dislikes, and preferences of your users change over time. Changes in their behavior can highlight those changes as they happen. If you have the ability to collect and act on that data in a timely way, it can be a major competitive advantage; if you don’t, you’re potentially creating a poor experience for your users and an opening for competitors.

This isn’t a new problem. But it persists. Brands don’t silo their data because they don’t care; generally, they do it because the systems they use make it hard to access, visualize, and understand their data in a timely manner. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Real Granular Data, Real Fast: The Power of Braze Currents

To make the most of the information you hold, to get real insights really fast, there are some key things you need to have. First, you need the data to arrive as soon as it’s generated. Next, the data needs to be easily accessible by you and other stakeholders. Finally, you need easy configurations and connections to the data so you can focus on finding and using insights to create brilliant experiences for your customers—instead of sifting through an ever-growing pile of data.

That’s why Braze launched its Currents data export feature last year. Because Currents is an easy to set up, high volume, raw events data streaming export tool, brands using can get granular data—like who engaged with the brand’s app, website, or messaging, and when they did it down to the second—moments after each interaction occurs with just a few clicks. With this timely data, customers’ inaction can be just as informative as action: declining engagement could be from stale messaging or from changing customer preferences.

Braze Currents opens up a lot of analytics use cases for marketing, growth, and engagement teams, including:

  • Calculating retention using any methodology (e.g. Day N, range, rolling, etc), any cohorting (e.g. first app use, signup, onboarding completed, etc), or any activity metrics (e.g. app open, purchase, playing a song, etc)
  • Creating engagement funnels that reflect the conversion or drop-off at each stage of a given campaign—from message send to delivery to open to click—and digging into specific subsets of the data (e.g. determining if English Speakers are more likely to convert at a given stage than Spanish speakers)
  • Assessing message frequency and channel selection and how they impact customer engagement (e.g. on average, Android app users will engage with the first two pushes and three emails each week, but stop engaging after that)

At Braze, we believe that it’s not enough to just have access to data—you need to be able to make use of it. Currents is a powerful data management tool, but if you aren’t taking steps to analyze and act on the data you’re exporting, you’re just creating another silo. That’s not data agility; that’s data stagnation.

User Behavior Looker Block visualization

Real-Time Understanding: The Braze Currents/Looker Block Difference

It’s important for us to ensure that our customers aren’t just getting data quickly, but also have the ability to act on it quickly. To make that process fast and easy, we’ve partnered with data visualization and analytics platform Looker and released our first Looker Blocks. Our new Looker blocks are a first-party solution that leverage the data collection and data export capabilities built into Braze to provide key insights, fast. Our first two blocks work with our User Behavior event types or Message Engagement event types from Currents:

  • User Behavior Block: Our initial release provides 5 visualizations. Starting with the most granular, we have a Day-N retention chart and graph that describes daily retention over 31 days. If you’re not interested in, say, day 17 or day 25 retention, we have a “skinny” version that reports only days 1-7, 14, and 28. Finally, for brands where it makes more sense to look at retention weekly rather than daily, we also have a weekly retention chart and graph over 12 weeks.
  • Message Engagement Block: Our initial release provides 4 visualizations focusing on push and email. For both push and email, we have engagement funnels for marketers to visualize where engagement drop off occurs and magnitude. The Message Engagement dashboards displays the top and bottom 10 email and push campaigns by various engagement metrics. Finally, the email performance dashboard provides insights on the aggregate performance of your email.

Because Looker Blocks are customizable, they make it possible for brands to focus in on particular aspects of the data by adding, removing, showing, or hiding fields. You can also bring in other factors—like gender or location—as long as the relevant data is in a Looker-compatible data warehouse.

Message Engagement Looker Block visualization

Final Thoughts

At Braze, we see data as central to what we do—and to the customer engagement strategies that our clients’ success depends upon.

Our platform generates and captures a lot of granular data about user behavior and message engagement, which can make it a powerful tool for understanding, reaching, and engaging your customers in personalized, targeted ways. But because of those capabilities, we feel a special responsibility to do more than just help brands generate billions of data points—we want to help them gather the right data, manage it effectively and in real time, and ensure that they can visualize and understand it quickly and easily, instead of creating data landfills where timely information and actionable insights go to rot.

With our new Looker Blocks, avoiding that outcome and gathering timely, meaningful insights from your engagement data just got easier. To get started, take a look at our Looker Blocks page here:

Jesse Tao

Jesse Tao

Jesse Tao runs business intelligence for Braze. When he's not crunching the numbers, you can find him making his own version of Korean fried chicken and cornbread.

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