Key Concepts

💡The following concepts and nomenclature are essential to getting the most out of a customer data platform (CDP) products like Fueled.

Third-Party vs. First-Party vs. Zero-Party Data

Before defining CDP-related terms, it’s important to understand the three different types of customer data that eCommerce merchants can collect.

Third-party data refers to user data that a third-party (like Facebook or Google) might collect on your website for attribution tracking and ad targeting. This data is sent from your website or other applications directly to that third party. That third party stores that data, and provides the merchant with reporting or targeting features — but the eCommerce merchant don’t technically collect, or own, the data themselves.

First-party data refers to data that an eCommerce merchant directly collects as customers interact with their website or other properties. The eCommerce merchant than collects and stores this data, and can send it along to 3rd-parties (including Facebook or Google) as needed.

Zero-party data refers to data that a user directly, and intentionally provides an eCommerce merchant. Examples of zero-party data include survey submissions, product reviews, and user account creation data.

As consumers demand increased privacy on the Internet, and states across the U.S. pass laws restricting the collection and monetization of third-party data, eCommerce brands must become more and more savvy with respect to collecting and utilizing first-party and zero-party data.

Sources & Destinations

When working with customer data platforms, and specifically Fueled, platform integrations are categorized as either Sources that generate event data or Destinations that consume event data.

Common Fueled Sources include:

  • Shopify (a source of product and checkout-related events)

  • Yotpo (a source of product review events)

  • Gorgias (a source of customer service events)

  • Loop Returns (a source of refund and return events)

Common Fueled Destinations include:

  • Google Analytics 4

  • Facebook Conversion API

  • Various data warehouses

  • MixPanel, Amplitude, or other customer journey analytics platforms

Event Types

Event Types refer to the type of customer interaction that is being tracked. Fueled supports the following event types:

  • Page Views (when a user views a website page)

  • Track Events (events that track an action that a user takes, or an interaction between a user and a merchant — such as order-related events, email interactions, customer support tickets, etc.)

  • Identify Events (a special type of event used for tracking the creation or updating of customer records or customer attributes)

Event and Customer Properties

Page and Track events each support various properties that describe aspects of the event. For example, an Order Completed event, tracking a purchase, includes attributes such as Total Order Value and Order ID.

Identify events, which are used to track changes to customer records, include properties as well, though these properties describe the user rather than the event.

Client-side vs. Server-side Event Tracking

Fueled supports both client-side and server-side event tracking. What this means is that Fueled leverages its own javascript library to track client-side events which occur as a user interacts with an eCommerce merchant’s storefront or website.

Because of the growing prevalence of ad blockers and browser restrictions related to tracking website visitors, Fueled leverages server-side event tracking whenever possible. With server-side tracking, events are sent to Fueled from an eCommerce or marketing application directly, through a “server-to-server” connection. This guarantees a higher percentage of tracked events, getting around ad blockers or other restrictions in the browser.

Why leverage client-side tracking at all?

If server-side event tracking is more reliable, why doesn’t Fueled leverage server-side events for everything?

Server-side events are great for mission-critical events, as well as for tracking “offline” events, such as point of sale purchases and recurring order events (i.e., subscription re-billing events).

However, some data just isn’t available server-side, such as UTM codes or attribution cookies that track the origin of web traffic or a website purchase. Moreover, some user interactions with a website, like clicking through an image carousel, don’t hit the server. Therefore, the only way to track such user interactions is with client-side tracking, via javascript.

How client-side and server-side events are tied together with Fueled

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