At BlueConic, the core organizing principle of our platform is the unified profile. This is where all of the first-party customer data is stored.
What is a “unified profile”? In BlueConic, a unified profile is the single source of truth where all data about an individual customer is stored in a centralized place.
Put simply, it is your single customer view.
This may seem like an easy enough concept to grasp on its own, but there is a lot more to building persistent unified profiles than one simple definition. In fact, it requires being familiar with many terms, including those about data collection methods, profile property types, and use cases.
We’ve put together this glossary to provide all you need to know about building unified profiles and why they are a crucial piece of your data activation strategies.
Collecting data for your unified profiles
First, to create unified profiles, you need to collect data about your customers and visitors. This can be done in various ways depending on the tools you use, but some of the most popular include:
AI notebooks are built with code and used to train machine learning models that can be used to analyze customer profile data and return new, richer data. Examples of AI notebooks include those that generate customer lifetime value scores or propensity to churn values. In BlueConic, AI notebooks can be found or created using our AI Workbench feature. With this feature, you can use one of our pre-built, white-box learning models or create your own.
Connections are data integrations with other systems, such as marketing platforms, email service providers, customer relationship management platforms, and more. Connections let you integrate your customer profile data with existing data sources to help make the most of your technology stack. BlueConic offers several kinds of connections, including pre-built connections to major platforms, universal connections to SFTP, S3, and Webhook, and firehose connections to event-streaming services.
An external tracker is a data collector that can be used to monitor customer or visitor activity outside of your domains. For example, an external tracker can be a tracking pixel that records whether someone has viewed a newsletter, email, or web page or whether a hyperlink has been clicked. It can also be used in social channels to track the social origin of visitors to your channels.
Listeners are data collectors that can be placed on specific pages or features of your owned channels, including mobile, to gather behavioral information from customers and visitors. Once this data is collected, it is added to those individual unified profiles to enhance important profile properties. Types of listeners in BlueConic include behavior, form, funnel, interest, and scoring listeners.
Storing information in your unified profiles
Once you have your data collection methods down, the next part is understanding what type of customer information you are most interested in and how they map to specific profile properties. A few examples of what might be found in any given unified profile include:
Anonymous profile property
An anonymous profile property is a customer attribute that can’t yet be assigned to a known visitor. In BlueConic, anonymous user behaviors are still tracked and once that individual becomes identifiable, those profiles are merged.
Behavioral profile property
A behavioral profile property is a customer attribute that relates directly to a customer’s actions and interests. These values track how frequently customers are active on your site, their level of activity, the intensity of their visits, and relative increase or decrease in activity. Behavioral profile property scores range from 0 to 100 and are created by the BlueConic platform automatically, making it easy to compare profiles on the same scale. These behavioral profile properties allow for the simplified creation of behavioral customer segments, too.
Demographics are a category of data that can be stored in profile properties and that relates to the statistical characteristics of different populations. Examples of demographic profile properties include age, race, ethnicity, gender, marital status, income, education, and employment. Using demographic information can help brands identify their target audience and better inform marketing strategies.
Engagement listening dynamically buckets visitors into high, medium, and low levels of engagement, and gives them an engagement score. Engagement scores are measured by the number of visits and clicks an individual makes over time in relation to all other visitors. Recent activity is weighed more heavily than older activity. This information helps you do behavioral segmentation, enabling you to differentiate messaging to customers based on their level of engagement.
Groups are used to organize, segment, and target profiles in a set that share a common attribute or are assigned a common profile property. Group types include households, accounts, companies, or a custom group that aligns with your targeting plans.
A profile is considered a known profile if it contains data that uniquely identifies a customer or visitor. For example, a profile with name, contact, and device information. Anonymous profiles become known profiles once a unique identifier is collected, then, several unknown profiles that belong to that customer can be merged into one known profile.
Profile origins are profile properties that provide detail and visibility into where and when a customer first became a profile. When profiles are created or imported, BlueConic registers details about whether customers first arrived over the web (mobile or desktop), via a mobile app, or from other systems through a connection. Profile origins are stored in three profile properties: type, source, and detail.
A segment is a dynamic grouping of customers or visitors characterized by a defined set of attributes, interests, behaviors, preferences, or demographic, psychographic, or technographic properties. Known and anonymous individuals can be segmented with a single filter or a complex set of filters so you can engage with visitors at the right moment with a meaningful and relevant dialogue. Customers can belong to multiple segments. For example, a single individual might be included in the segments “under 35 years old,” “interested in football,” “referred by social media,” and “read December newsletter.”
Timeline events are time-based actions that occur for a profile. Examples of events include ordering a product, clicking a page, or opening an email. A BlueConic Timeline stores events that are either collected by the platform or from other systems via connections, to capture information about timing and sequencing of events for a BlueConic profile. A Timeline belongs to a profile and includes the set of all events belonging together for that profile.
A unique identifier is a profile property value that distinctly recognizes a specific customer or visitor. For example, there are several types of customer data that uniquely identify customers, including email address, login name, customer ID, or mobile phone number. Note that for a profile property to be unique, only one profile should contain the value.
Using your unified profiles
After you have a robust set of unified profiles, you may be thinking, “Now what?” The short answer is, the possibilities are endless, but here are a few use case terms you can use as inspiration:
Dialogues are interactions with a customer or visitor to your website, mobile app, or other channel. Personalization of dialogues can be based on a visitor’s profile properties or behaviors, as you can trigger dialogues that directly start a conversation with your customers related to their interests. They range from forms and popup windows to overlays, toasters, notification bars, and many more.
Dynamic segmentation is the process of dividing profiles into groups with set criteria, providing a constant count of the people in each segment. Individuals that meet the criteria are added to the segment in real time, and those that stop meeting the criteria are moved out. Because BlueConic segments are not static lists, they are not immediately out-of-date, nor do they require constant re-processing for updated counts.
Interest ranking is the process of assigning individual profiles potential interests based on actions they take. By using an interest ranker, you can add interests to a visitor’s profile based on a points-based system. In BlueConic, points for an interest are scored based on the visitor’s behavior, which includes actions like viewing content, clicking something, or coming to a website from a specific referring URL. For example, you can set up an interest ranking listener that adds interest points to a profile for making a purchase within a given category, such as sports equipment. Once an interest has been added to a visitor’s profile, you can create segments to target customers and visitors based on these interests.
Profile merging is the process of identifying two profiles that belong to the same individual and consolidating them into one profile. As customers and visitors interact with your online channels, BlueConic creates profiles for both known and anonymous visitors. Individual users might have several different profiles because they visit on different devices and browsers. Using the profile merging feature in BlueConic, disparate profiles can be combined and unified using deterministic or probabilistic methodologies and match on any combination of unique identifiers.
Progressive profiling is the process of building on the same persistent profile, session after session, making your customer information progressively richer over time. When a website visitor visits channels in your domains, a profile is created for them that includes information about their activity. This allows you to, over time, learn more about each visitor’s interests and behavior, enabling better targeting with relevant dialogues, offers, and messages that fit their needs.
Now that you’re equipped with all the terms you need to understand and command unified profiles, it’s time to put them to use. But you don’t need to do it alone! Choosing the right partner for your customer data platform can be half the battle.
Learn how to build a single view of your customers with BlueConic. Request a demo of our pure-play CDP today.