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In our last newsletter we told you about the impending launch of content recommendations – a new and powerful component built on top of the BlueConic customer data platform. Early feedback has us feeling pretty good about what we've got! We thought you might find some of the under-the-hood story interesting.
An engine built on the best-in-class Apache Spark
With Apache Spark, we're standing on the shoulder of giants. For those not familiar with it, Apache Spark is the de facto market leader for big data processing engines, taking the top spot over Apache Hadoop. To get a feel of how big Apache Spark is, Databricks (the company behind Spark) published some interesting numbers:
- 225,000 Spark Meetup Members (up 240% compared to 2015)
- 1000 Code contributors (up 67% compared to 2015)
- 5100 Spark Summit attendees (up 30% compared to 2015)
A survey for developers on the popular Q&A website stackoverflow revealed similar numbers:
- Developers that know Spark (and Scala, the programming language used for Spark) are in highest demand and get paid the most of all technologies out there
Google Trends also clearly shows the explosive interest in Apache Spark (blue) compared to Apache Hadoop (red):
We strongly believe in the power of Apache Spark, and in the impact of using this next-generation platform as the basis of our recommendations solution. Our customers will get robust recommendations functionality, while Apache Spark also opens up a wealth of other exciting possibilities for customer data intelligence in the future!
An Integral Part of the Customer Data Platform
In addition to the potency provided by Apache Spark, providing recommendations as a native feature of BlueConic has several benefits:
- Leverage dialogues to deliver the actual recommendations. Customers can take advantage of all the BlueConic interaction types and all of the control that comes with dialogues, like segmented delivery; scheduling for specific times; A/B test variables; calculate conversion rates; and very important: visually configure and edit your recommendation!)
- Apply the profiles you have collected over time in new ways. With the deep listening technology embedded in BlueConic profiles are really rich, which consequently can be used for better recommendations.
- Visualize the data with insights. Customers have all kinds of way to present the insights from running recommendations, as you’ve come to expect with BlueConic reporting.
- Get extensible with plugins. And last but not least, BlueConic is indeed a platform, so all kinds of plugins can be added either by us or by you, our customers, in order to add specific functionality that blends recommendations and broader CDP capabilities.
The devil's in the details
We spent a lot of time in October tidying up BlueConic by investing in small improvements and maintenance of the software. Some of those tweaks included:
- In the new Object navigation, the Objects are actual links so you can open them right up ("right mouse button", "open in new tab" ftw!)
- A small banner for Object help that explains what the object is you are looking at (like "what is a dialogue?" or "what is a listener?"), including links to support documentation and in-product video tours to explain the concept
- The BlueConic iOS SDK 3.0 (also available for Swift 2.3)
- Saving your work is made much clearer with updates to Save button highlighting logic
Also, we want to remind you about some awesome features you may have missed in previous releases but we think you'll want to try:
- The Visual Form listener is definitely worth taking a look at. Want to scrape data from an existing form on your website? Step 1: Open up the form listener. Step 2: go to your website and select the form you want to scrape. Step 3: kidding - there is no step 3: you're done!
- The Funnel Insight is also blowing minds. Just create a new funnel insight, click through whatever kind of steps you have on your website, and tag the ones you want to have in the funnel, and voila! When the data flows in (in real-time, of course), you can easily drill down on the largest drop off group and create new dialogues specifically for that group.
- The Facebook connection is also really worth a look if you haven't. Did you discover an extremely relevant segment of people in BlueConic you’d like to specifically target with Facebook ads? Take a look at our server-to-server Facebook connection, along with Customer Match for even more specific targeting!
What you have to look forward to
Here's a quick rundown of some of the things we're working on that should be announced/available soon:
Content Recommendation: Official rollout
Content Recommendation is a key feature for a lot of content producing organizations. Automate the process of getting the right content at the right time to the right person is the holy grail to reach great CTR and longer audience engagement. Watch this space for more!
The form dialogue is already used a lot to quickly create a simple form on your website. Until now it took a lot of clicking to send an email to either the one that filled in the form, or to someone internally. That option will be added soon!
Wouldn't it be great to get insight in how many profiles are connected to a record in your CRM or a subscriber in your email marketing tool? We're working on that, and more!