Tuesday, September 30, 2014

So What's The Context?

Taking words out of context is one of those distortions which never fails to amuse. Whether it be entertainment, politics, or history, everything seems vulnerable to removing a few choice words. And context isn’t just reserved to just the world of words, photography is fair game as well, as this example illustrates:



So why is context important for events and data collection? The answer is that an event, perhaps a customer visits a certain page on your web site, is rarely clear in a vacuum. The information surrounding the event provides a perspective through which the event makes sense and can be accurately understood.

In this example, perhaps the customer is visiting a product page for lawnmowers and has done so a few times in the last week. The result of understanding the context is that we can make better decisions. A marketer might like to offer the customer a discount to turn their repeated browsing into a purchase.

Every event which the Celebrus platform collects and processes has a context added to it. What does this mean in practice? Well actually it’s really simple. First we identify the core attributes for an event, for a completed transaction that might be: the currency, the total purchase value, the set of items in the basket. Then we supplement this with a much larger set of context attributes which complete the picture.

For example, a few of the context attributes include the customer email address, where in the world they are browsing from, and what kind of device are they browsing on.  This combination of the key (primary) attributes, and the context attributes, defines the event. And every event can be fed in real time into your data warehouse.

This understanding of context becomes even more critical when we talk about path analysis. Path analysis allows us to chart a voyage over time for some set of attributes. For example, a simple path analysis allows us to view the set of pages a customer visited before they left to join a competitor. Understanding pages might be very useful to identify potential churn. This ability to gather really meaningful business information is why feeding data into our partner products like Teradata Aster is one of the biggest growth areas in our product.

Interested in more blogs from the Celebrus team? Click here to get to our data hub.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Top Tips for Looking at Data Analytics – the Five W’s

Celebrus is all about data. Specifically data which tells you what your customers are doing and via which channels. If I were a marketer, instead of a software developer, I’d probably call this ‘audience behavioural intelligence’, or some such fancy term. When we talk about data we really mean events. Events are the lifeblood of Celebrus. Our software captures, crunches, transforms and processes billions of them every day. And it’s these events which give you the insight into what your customers are doing.  

So what does this all mean in practice?

The answer we will explore in this blog post is guided by one of the world’s greatest writers of childrens’ stories, namely Rudyard Kipling.

Let’s get started with an extract from The Elephant’s Child:

I keep six honest serving-men:
    (They taught me all I knew)
Their names are What and Where and When
    And How and Why and Who.

When considering events, the what, where, when and who are exactly the questions we need to ask. And by using data analytics to develop deep insight from the data you can answer not just those questions, but also the why and how.

Every time an individual does something on your web site, an event captures essential information about their activity. For example, a customer might type some words into a text box and click ‘submit’. On the face of it that’s not very interesting, but stay with me, it gets better.


Celebrus can tell you whether an individual visitor arrived via a search engine or typed the URL directly into the browser, as well as understanding the referring campaign information. It also lets you know that during their visit they viewed several products in the gardening department and put one into their basket but sadly left the site before completing a checkout. You’ll also learn that the same visitor returned a few days later following an abandoned basket email they received and did indeed complete their transaction this time. That customer is now in the top quartile of most valuable individuals to your web site, and has been for over a year.

A simple example, but hopefully it illustrates the point. What Celebrus does is to take that torrent of events coming from your web applications (and elsewhere, such as mobile applications and social media interactions), and convert them into a stream of contextualised business events. The business events identify who the customer is, what they did (transaction, wish list add, search, basket add and much more), where in the application it happened, and when it occurred. The business events are fed into your data warehouse in real-time, where they are available to really understand your online business.

It’s this ability to capture, collect and transform business events which sets Celebrus apart.

Interested in more blogs from the Celebrus team? Click here to get to our data hub.