The latest innovation in IBM's Marketing Cloud is called UBX (Universal Behaviour Exchange) and it's available to customers and business partners right now. So what exactly is UBX and how can it help me?
The marketing speak says "UBX makes it easier for marketers to design and deliver remarkable customer experiences". Coming from a techie background this description was far to fluffy for my liking to me so let me give you my take on it.
I like to think of UBX as a pipe that can share customer data between different end points. It does NOT store your customer data and is NOT another data warehouse. So it can move data around, what's the big deal?
For anyone who has ever asked their IT team for custom feeds of data to be sent or received you will start to get an appreciation of the value that UBX offers. This is a process commonly referred to as ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) and your IT department will ask for scoping, business requirements, technical specifications and so on every time you want to move your customer data between systems. This is a time consuming process to setup and also requires ongoing maintenance with enhancements and checking that batched feeds don't fail.
At this stage you might wonder, "Well couldn't we just put all our customer data into one place?" Many organisations have gone down this path of building a mega data warehouse, and let me assure you this also carries a mega price tag in terms of software, hardware and man hours. Then just when you think you're done another social platform or analytical tool will pop-up that the business wants integrated, and so it becomes The NeverEnding Story.
From the marketers perspective I can imagine it probably sounds like a lot of work. All you wanted is to share some behavioural data from an analytics tool to deliver more personalised messaging in your upcoming campaign. This is where UBX steps in. IBM Universal Behaviour Exchange is an open exchange that makes it easy to share customer data between certified solutions, bypassing the custom IT work typically required to launch a personalized campaign and speeding time to market from weeks to just one day.
Let's take an example use case to gain some further insight. A marketing team would like to send a retargeting email to shopping cart abandoners. As the marketing team has been using IBM Digital Analytics and likes the level of reporting they are getting, they have decided to purchase Silverpop Marketing Automation Programs and Universal Behaviours to target those users. By enabling this integration, the abandoner information will be sent to Silverpop when the session ends, allowing Silverpop to contact the abandoner with a customized retargeting offer.
By the way, Silverpop is now called IBM Marketing Cloud, just like Coremetrics is now IBM Digital Analytics. I'm pretty sure whoever is in charge of renaming products has been deeply influenced by the 90's UK advertising campaign for Ronseal, "Does exactly what it says on the tin". Anyway, I digress.
In this use case, IBM Digital Analytics will send a cart item purchase and a cart item abandonment events to Silverpop by means of the Universal Behaviour API. As a publisher, Digital Analytics calls the UBX API and publishes customer events as they happen in a matter of milliseconds. Other events that are available to send from Digital Analytics include conversion events, abandoned conversions, product views, searched site and visited site.
But it's not just Silverpop that can receive these events, other subscriber endpoints such as MediaMath, Shoutlet, Gigya and many more can also leverage these web events to engage customers with relevant content.
I came across an interesting article on ExchangeWire entitled "Facebook's DSP: Will the Data Be Enough in a Programmatic World?". This talks about Facebook building out their newly announced DSP (Demand Side Platform) using their own data. The author makes that point that even though Facebook's first party data is undoubtedly strong, it is nonetheless limited and could benefit from supplementary 3rd party data. This is where UBX steps in. A marketer can use their web analytics tool to create a customer segment, for example, high value customers, of which there might be a few thousand. Then through IBM's Marketing Cloud load those customers into Facebook via the UBX API to create "lookalike" audiences with the potential to reach hundreds of thousands.
The use case I just described was an example of Event Syndication in UBX. There is also the option of Audience Syndication whereby you can share target audience segments for engagement and analytics activities. Let's imagine your web analyst has identified a stagnant audience that might benefit from retargeting ads to get them back on the track to conversion. That audience segment is created, e.g. from Digital Analytics or Silverpop (known as the Audience Publisher), and gets scheduled for export in UBX. Within UBX an identity mapping occurs and the user IDs are hashed for privacy. The UBX APIs are used to send an audience to an endpoint destination such as a DSP (Demand Side Platform). The DSP will then display ads in paid media websites for the qualifying audience contacts.
I hope that starts to give you some idea around the capabilities of UBX. Oh, I nearly forgot the best bit. It's FREE to existing customers of IBM Marketing Cloud and other IBM Commerce products!
Try the UBX DEMO
-IBM Digital Analytics Team
Curious about other presentations we've done?Click here and check under Connect With The Experts: Support Technical Exchange (STE) Replays
If you haven't visited the IBM Digital Analytics blog before, click here:IBM Digital Analytics Blog, then bookmark
If you're interested in getting a demo of IBM Digital Analytics click here:About IBM Digital Analytics