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The non-developers' guide to Insight data
The non-developers' guide to Insight data

What Insight data is and how you can make use of it.

Laura Russell avatar
Written by Laura Russell
Updated over a week ago

Before you start

Things you need to know:

  • Technical information is also available

    This is a non-developers' guide to using Insight data. For a more technical account, see our guide for developers.

Insight data is made up of collections of structured data that you can store at either a contact or account level. Each piece of data within a collection is called an Insight data record. There is very little restriction on the type of data you can store in an Insight data collection; essentially, you can store anything that is serialisable to JSON.

In the same way that you can segment on contact data fields like gender, age, and geography, Insight data stored against your contacts allows you to segment on additional data sets like purchases, browsing behaviour or product reviews. The higher the quality of your Insight data, the better you can segment your contacts and personalise your communications.

Insight data also provides the power behind many of Dotdigital’s ecommerce features, and is a key component of the majority of our integrations.

Types of Insight data

There are two types of Insight data that you can store in Dotdigital. We refer to these as contact-scoped or account-scoped.

Contact-scoped Insight data

This means Insight data stored against individual contact records, and relating to contact activity. For example:

  • ConsentInsight - consent records for a contact

  • WebInsight - web behavior tracking data

  • orders - purchase history

Contact-scoped Insight data can be viewed in two places:

Account-scoped Insight data

This refers to Insight data stored at an account level; data that doesn’t relate to any specific contacts. The most common example of account-scoped Insight data is a product catalog.

To view your account-scoped insight data collections and records, go to Connect > Account insight data.

The Insight data tab displays all of your account-scoped Insight data collections. To view the records within a collection, select the collection name, then select an individual record from the left side panel.

Insight data collections

There are a number of standard insight data collections that you can store; these are collections with a naming convention and schema—or structure—defined by us. You can also store custom insight data collections, where the name and schema is defined by you.

Our standard insight data collections are the power behind our ecommerce features, so it’s important that you stick to our provided schema in these cases.

Standard collections

The collections that you have access to can vary depending on your account type. To learn more about this, reach out to your Customer Success Representative.

  • ConsentInsight: Lets you store individual consent records for your contacts.

  • Catalog_[store_name]: Product catalog collections used by ecommerce connectors and 3rd party integrations.

  • Orders: official collection storing all online and offline transactions for your contacts. It powers the ecommerce dashboard, RFM personas and product recommendation.

  • Webinsights: the underlying collection powering our Web Behavior tracking capability.

  • Cartinsight: the underlying collection powering our abandoned cart module.

  • Reviews: collection of reviews data used by a number of review-based integrations as well as the Magento connector.

  • Wishlist: a collection of customer wishlist data synced from Magento.

There are also a number of other standard insight data collections used by some of our integrations. Details of these collections can be found in the relevant documentation in the Integrations section of the Help Centre.

Import Insight data into your account

There are a number of methods you can use to import Insight data into your account:

What can I do with Insight data?

Once Insight data is stored against your contacts or account, you can:

These are just a few examples; because Insight data allows a great deal of flexibility in the kinds of data you can store, correspondingly, there is a wide range of things you can achieve with it.

Edit Insight data properties

The properties of an insight data collection that are available for you to edit vary based on the kind of data within the collection.

Retention policy

A retention policy is available for any insight data collection which includes a date type field in its records. The retention policy is a tool that allows you to expire insight data records after a period of time that you set. Expiring insight data means deleting it from your account. This tool can be helpful in managing your insight data allowance.

For a date field to be available to use for the purposes of setting a Retention policy, it must be included in the root (top level) of the JSON structure. You can see examples of this in our data schemas.

To view your current Insight data storage, expand the User menu and go to Settings > General > Usage. The Data storage bar displays your account's current Insight data usage against your total allowance.

The Data storage figure does not include records for non-billable Insight data collections, as such collections aren’t counted towards your limit. Which of your insight data collections are non-billable depends upon your account package.

To edit the retention policy for an Insight data collection:

  1. For a contact-scoped collection, go to Connect > Contact insight data.
    For an account-scoped collection, go to Connect > Account insight data.

  2. Select the Properties icon.

  3. To apply a retention policy to the collection, set Automatic data expiry to ENABLED.
    To remove a retention policy, set Automatic data expiry to DISABLED.

  4. If applying a retention policy, expand the first drop-down menu for Delete insight data and select the time period you want the data to be deleted after. Possible time periods to select are:

    1. 1 month

    2. 2 months

    3. 3 months

    4. 6 months

    5. 1 year

    6. 2 years

    7. 4 years

  5. Expand the second drop-down menu and select the date type field to use.

    For example, setting Delete insight data to 6 months after createddate deletes an insight data record from this collection once 6 months has passed since the date in the createddate field.

  6. Select APPLY.

Additional settings for catalog collections

  • Product recommendations settings
    You can edit a number of settings for the Product recommendations feature at a catalog level.

  • Tax settings
    For Insight data collections that contain a Price field, you can set whether the figure in this field is inclusive of tax. If the figure is exclusive of tax, you can set a default tax rate to be applied.

Delete an Insight data collection

  1. For a contact-scoped collection, go to Connect > Contact insight data.
    For an account-scoped collection, go to Connect > Account insight data.

  2. Select the checkbox for the Insight data collection you want to delete.

  3. Select DELETE.

  4. A window opens asking you to confirm the deletion. Type delete into the Confirm field, then select DELETE.

If there are data dependencies in place for the collection you’re trying to delete — for example the collection is in use inside a program or segment — you see a warning message informing you of this. You must remove these dependencies before the collection can be deleted.

Plan ahead

Given the nature of Insight data, we’d advise that you spend some time discussing with your developers how you need insight data to work for you. What sort of data do you want to store? How might you want to extend this data as you move forward?

You don’t want to find yourself in a position where your initial data schema (the way your data is structured) needs to be entirely replaced as it no longer works as you need it to. To help with this, you can refer your developers to our Developer’s guide to Insight data, which explores data schema and other technical details in greater depth.

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