SDN Journal Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Destiny Bertucci, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @DXWorldExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Log Management, @CloudExpo, SDN Journal

@DXWorldExpo: Article

Data Analytics Bring Rapid Results for Cardlytics

Cardlytics on HP Vertica powers millions of swiftly tailored marketing offers to bank card consumers

The next edition of the HP Discover Podcast Series delivers an innovation case study interview that highlights how data-intensive credit- and debit-card marketing services provider, Cardlytics, delivers millions of highly tailored marketing offers to banking consumers across the United States.

Cardlytics, in adopting a new analytics platform, gained huge data analysis capacity, vastly reduced query times, and swiftly met customer demands at massive scale.

To learn how, we sat down with Craig Snodgrass, Senior Vice President for Analytics and Product at Cardlytics Inc., based in Atlanta. The discussion, which took place at the recent HP Vertica Big Data Conference in Boston, is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Here are some excerpts:

Gardner: At some point, you must have had a data infrastructure or legacy setup that wasn't meeting your requirements. Tell us a little bit about the journey that you've been on gaining better analytic results for your business.

Snodgrass: As with any other company, our data was growing and growing and growing. Also growing at the same time was the number of advertisers that we were working with. Since our advertisers spanned multiple categories -- they range from automotive, to retail, to restaurants, to quick-serve -- the types of questions they were asking were different.


So we had this intersection of more data and different questions happening at a vertical level. Using our existing platform, we just couldn't answer those questions in a timely manner, and we couldn't iterate around being able to give our advertisers even more insights, because it was just taking too long.

First, we weren’t able to even get answers. Then, when there was the back-and-forth of wanting to understand more or get more insight it just ended up taking longer-and-longer. So at the end of the day, it came down to multiple and unstructured questions, and we just couldn't get our old systems to respond fast enough.

Gardner: Who are your customers, and what do you do for them?

Growing the business

Snodgrass: Our customers are essentially anybody who wants to grow their business. That's probably a common answer, but they are advertisers. They're folks who are used to traditional media, where when they do a TV or radio ad. They're hitting everybody, people that were going to come to their store anyways and people who probably weren’t going to come to their store.

We're able to target who they want to bring into their store through looking at both debit-card and credit-card purchase data, all in an anonymized manner. We’re able to look at past spending behavior, and say, based on those spending behaviors, that these are the types of customers that are most likely to come to your store and more importantly, most likely to be a long-term customer for you.

We can target those, we can deliver the advertising in the form of a reward, meaning the customer actually gets something for the advertising experience. We deliver that through their bank.

The bank is able to do this for their customers as well. The reward comes from the bank, and the advertiser gets a new channel to go bring in business. Then, we can track for them over time what their return on ad-spend is. That’s not an advantage they’ve had before with the traditional advertising they’ve been doing.

It works inside of retail, just as well as restaurants, subscriptions, and the other categories that are out there as well.

Gardner: So it sounds like a win, win, win. As a consumer, I'm going to get offers that are something more than a blanket. It's going to be something targeted to me as the bank that’s providing the credit card. They're going to get loyalty by having a rewards effort that works. Then, of course, those people selling goods and services have a new way of reaching and marketing those goods and services in a way they can measure.

Snodgrass: Yeah, and back to this idea of the multiple verticals. It works inside of retail, just as well as restaurants, subscriptions, and the other categories that are out there as well. So it's not just a one-category type reward.

A customer will know quickly when something is not relevant. If you bring in a customer for whom it may not be relevant or they weren’t the right customer, they're not going to return.

The advertiser isn't going to get their return on ad-spend. So it's actually in both our interests to make sure we choose the right customers, because we want to get that return on ad-spend for the advertisers as well.

Gardner: Craig, what sort of volume of data are we talking about here?

Intersecting growth

Snodgrass: We're doing roughly 10 terabytes a year. From a volume standpoint, it's a combination of not just the number of transactions we're bringing in, but the number of requests, queries, and answers that we’re having to go against it. That intersection of growth in volume and growth in questions is happening at the same time.

For us right now, our data is structured. I know a lot of companies are working on the unstructured piece. We're in a world where in the payment systems and banking systems, the data is relatively structured and that's what we get, which is great. Our questions are unstructured. They're everywhere from corporate real estate types of questions, to loyalty, to just random questions that they've never known before.

One key thing that we can do for advertisers is, at a minimum, answer two large questions. What is my market share in an area? Typically, advertisers only know when customers come into their store with that transaction. They don't know where that customer goes and, obviously, they don't know when people don’t come into their store.

We have that full 360-degree view of what happens at the customer level, so we can answer, for a geographic area or whatever area that an advertiser wants, what is their market share and how is their market share trending week-to-week.

The other piece is that when we do targeting, there could be somebody that visits a location three times over a certain time period. You don't know if they're somebody who shops the category 30 times or if they only shop them three times. We can actually answer share-of-wallet for a customer, and you can use that in targeting, designing your campaigns, and more importantly, in analysis. What's going on with these customers?

For us, with Vertica, one of the key components isn't just the speed, but how quick we can scale if the number of queries goes up.

Gardner: So the better job you do, the more queries will be generated.

Snodgrass: It's a self-fulfilling prophesy. For us, with Vertica, one of the key components isn't just the speed, but how quick we can scale if the number of queries goes up. It's relatively easy to predict what our growth and data volume is going to be. It is not easy for me to predict what the growth in queries is going to be. Again, as advertisers understand what types of questions we can answer, it's unfortunately a ratio of 10 to 1. Once they understand something, there are 10 other questions that come out of it.

We can quickly add nodes and scalability to manage the increase in volumes of queries, and it's cheap. This is not expensive hardware that you have to put in. That is one of the main decision points we had. Most people understand HP Vertica on the speed piece, but that and the quick scalability of the infrastructure were critical for us.

Gardner: Just as your marketing customers want to be able to predict their spend and the return on investment (ROI) from it, do you sense that you can predict and appreciate, when you scale with HP Vertica what your costs will be? Is there a big question mark or do you have a sense of, I do this and I have to pay that?

Snodgrass: It is the "I do this and I'll have to pay that," the linearness. For those who understand Vertica, that’s a bit of a pun, but the linear relationship is that if we need to scale, all we need to do is this. It's very easy to forecast. I may not know the date for when I need to add something, but I definitely know what the cost will be when we need to add it.

Compare and contrast

Gardner: How do you measure, in addition to that predictability of cost, your benefits? Are there any speeds and feeds that you can share that compare and contrast and might help us better understand how well this works?

Snodgrass: There are two numbers. During the POC phase, we had a set of 10 to 15 different queries that we used as a baseline. We saw anywhere from 500x to 1,000x or 1,500x speed in return of getting that data. So that’s the first bullet point.

The second is that there were queries that we just couldn't get to finish. At some point, when you let it go long enough, you just don't know if it is going to converge. With Vertica, we haven't hit that limit yet.

Vertica has also allowed to have varying degrees of analysts’ capabilities when it comes to SQL writing. Some are elegant and they write fantastic, very efficient queries. Others are still learning the best way to go put the queries together. They will still always return with Vertica. In the legacy world prior to Vertica, those are the ones that just wouldn't return.

In a SaaS shop, there are a lot of things that you're going to do in SaaS that you are not going to go do in SQL

I don’t know the exact number for how much more productive they are, but the fact that their queries are always returning, and returning in a timely manner, obviously has dramatically increased their productivity. So it's a hard one to measure, but forget how fast the queries have returned, the productivity of our analyst has gone up dramatically.

Gardner: What could an analytics platform do better for you? What would you like to see coming down the pipeline in terms of features, function, and performance?

Snodgrass: If you could do something in SQL, Vertica is fantastic. We'd like more integration with R, more integration with software as a service (SaaS), more integration with these sophisticated tools. If you get all the data into their systems, maybe they can manipulate it in a certain way, but then, you are managing two systems.

Vertica is working on a little bit better integration with R through distributed R, but there's also SaaS as well. In a SaaS shop, there are a lot of things that you're going to do in SaaS that you are not going to go do in SQL. That next level of analytics integration is where we would love to go see the product go.

Gardner: Do you expect that there will be different types of data and information that you could bring to bear on this? Perhaps some sort of camera, sensor of some sort, point-of-sale information, or mobile and geospatial information that could be brought to bear? How important is it for you to have a platform that can accommodate seemingly almost any number of different information types and formats?

Snodgrass: The best way to answer that one is that we don't ever want to tell business development that the reason they can't pursue a path is because we don't have a platform that can support that.

Different paths

Today, I don't know where the future holds from these different paths, but there are so many different paths we can go down. It's not just the Vertica component, but the HP HAVEn components and the fact that they can integrate with a lot of the unstructured, I think they call it “the human data versus the machine data.”

It's having the human data pathway open to us. We don't want to be the limiting factor for why somebody would want to do something. That's another bullet point for HP Vertica in our camp. If a business model comes out, we can support it.

You may also be interested in:

More Stories By Dana Gardner

At Interarbor Solutions, we create the analysis and in-depth podcasts on enterprise software and cloud trends that help fuel the social media revolution. As a veteran IT analyst, Dana Gardner moderates discussions and interviews get to the meat of the hottest technology topics. We define and forecast the business productivity effects of enterprise infrastructure, SOA and cloud advances. Our social media vehicles become conversational platforms, powerfully distributed via the BriefingsDirect Network of online media partners like ZDNet and IT-Director.com. As founder and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, Dana Gardner created BriefingsDirect to give online readers and listeners in-depth and direct access to the brightest thought leaders on IT. Our twice-monthly BriefingsDirect Analyst Insights Edition podcasts examine the latest IT news with a panel of analysts and guests. Our sponsored discussions provide a unique, deep-dive focus on specific industry problems and the latest solutions. This podcast equivalent of an analyst briefing session -- made available as a podcast/transcript/blog to any interested viewer and search engine seeker -- breaks the mold on closed knowledge. These informational podcasts jump-start conversational evangelism, drive traffic to lead generation campaigns, and produce strong SEO returns. Interarbor Solutions provides fresh and creative thinking on IT, SOA, cloud and social media strategies based on the power of thoughtful content, made freely and easily available to proactive seekers of insights and information. As a result, marketers and branding professionals can communicate inexpensively with self-qualifiying readers/listeners in discreet market segments. BriefingsDirect podcasts hosted by Dana Gardner: Full turnkey planning, moderatiing, producing, hosting, and distribution via blogs and IT media partners of essential IT knowledge and understanding.

@CloudExpo Stories
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
"NetApp is known as a data management leader but we do a lot more than just data management on-prem with the data centers of our customers. We're also big in the hybrid cloud," explained Wes Talbert, Principal Architect at NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Since we launched LinuxONE we learned a lot from our customers. More than anything what they responded to were some very unique security capabilities that we have," explained Mark Figley, Director of LinuxONE Offerings at IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO" has announced that its Call for Papers is now open. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expe...
Evan Kirstel is an internationally recognized thought leader and social media influencer in IoT (#1 in 2017), Cloud, Data Security (2016), Health Tech (#9 in 2017), Digital Health (#6 in 2016), B2B Marketing (#5 in 2015), AI, Smart Home, Digital (2017), IIoT (#1 in 2017) and Telecom/Wireless/5G. His connections are a "Who's Who" in these technologies, He is in the top 10 most mentioned/re-tweeted by CMOs and CIOs (2016) and have been recently named 5th most influential B2B marketeer in the US. H...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
As you move to the cloud, your network should be efficient, secure, and easy to manage. An enterprise adopting a hybrid or public cloud needs systems and tools that provide: Agility: ability to deliver applications and services faster, even in complex hybrid environments Easier manageability: enable reliable connectivity with complete oversight as the data center network evolves Greater efficiency: eliminate wasted effort while reducing errors and optimize asset utilization Security: implemen...
@DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises - and delivering real results.
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
"We started a Master of Science in business analytics - that's the hot topic. We serve the business community around San Francisco so we educate the working professionals and this is where they all want to be," explained Judy Lee, Associate Professor and Department Chair at Golden Gate University, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...