Technical information is also available
This is a non-developers' guide to using our Insight data. For a more technical account of Insight data, see our guide for developers.
Insight data is storable information related to your customers’ purchasing histories and habits. It allows you to store collections of arbitrary data against your contacts via our API.
So they’re additional contact data fields, extending the contact data fields we already store?
Yes – but with the prime difference being these are transaction-based ones. Any additional keyed data you have for a contact can be stored as Insight data, with very little restriction on the type of data it can be. As a broad rule, you can store anything that is serialisable to JSON.
Just as you can currently segment upon contact data fields such as gender, age and geography, Insight data gives you the ability to segment upon types of items purchased, regularity of purchases and amount spent on purchases, for instance.
As ever, the quality of your Insight data will dictate how well you can segment address books and personalise your campaigns and offers.
Here are some examples of datasets that could be stored as Insight data:
- For an auction site, a list of all bids a user has made and if they succeeded or not, including the date and time of the bid, the amount of the bid and the category and name of the item bid upon
- For a travel agent, a list of destinations a user has visited via bookings on the site, including the number of bookings for the destination (solo, couple, family, etc.), the amount spent and the type of accommodation
- A list of a user’s likes and dislikes
The key point is that many different types of Insight data can be stored for each contact, and structured in the way you choose.
Once Insight data is stored against your contacts, you can use our segment tool to segment your contacts using this data and create new address books. This will enable you to send targeted, personalised campaigns based upon your contacts’ transactional history, habits and/or preferences. Using the above examples, you'll be able to run segments based upon bids made, countries visited, and likes and dislikes.
For more on segmenting Insight data, read our article on Insight data segmentation.
This is where it gets more technical! But if you’re game and want to know more, read this developer-oriented guide on Insight data. It’s more likely, however, that you'll probably want to leave it for your developer to read and then explain to you in much friendlier terms!
To delete an Insight data collection, simply click the Insight data tab under Contacts > Advanced features. From here, tick the box next to the Insight data collection's name and click Delete. Please note, if the collection is being used in a segment or program, these dependencies must be removed in order to delete the collection.
The Retention Policy is a tool that can be used to take the stress off of your Insight data storage limit, which can be accessed by clicking the person-and-cog icon, located in the left hand navigation menu, and then Account. Here you will find the 'Data storage' bar, which will contain your account's current Insight data storage space, as shown below.
If you wish to modify how often Insight data is removed from your account, click Contacts > Advanced features > Insight data and then the collection you wish to modify by clicking the Properties icon. You will then be taken to the 'Edit Insight properties' area where you will see the name of the Insight data collection, whether the automatic data expiry feature has been disabled or enabled, and the settings for the Retention Policy.
To turn the Retention Policy on, click the Enabled radio button. You will then need to select the intervals at which your Insight data will be removed from your account. The time periods available are:
- 1 month
- 2 months
- 3 months
- 6 months
- 1 year
- 2 years
- 4 years
The start date for the removal process will be based on either the Insight data collection's createdAt date or ModifiedDate, depending on how you've set the Retention Policy. When you're satisfied with your selections, click Save.
Should you wish to turn off the Retention Policy, simply click the Disabled radio button, then click Save.
Given the nature of Insight data storage, you'll probably want to spend some time with your developer thinking about how your Insight data needs to work for you. A little bit of planning will go a long way! What sort of data do you want to store? How might you want to extend this data as you move forward?
The point to remember is that you don’t want to become backed into a corner by initiating a schema that will prove constrictive.
For example, you'll probably want to avoid entering your product ID as an integer. This won’t give you very easily identifiable information and you won’t be able to change it once it's uploaded. To change it, you'd need to start again with a new schema and re-upload all of your data to conform to it. This is definitely something to be avoided!