Migrating from Segment Part 2: Personas & SQL Traits in RudderStack | RudderStack

By neub9
4 Min Read

We have successfully assisted many customers in transitioning from Segment to RudderStack. This is the second part of a series where we present the step-by-step process involved in this migration. This post will outline the steps needed to shift Personas functionality to RudderStack Reverse ETL.

As the name suggests, the primary objective of any customer data platform (CDP) is to establish a unified view of customer profiles and activities. Both RudderStack and Segment achieve this and allow the reconciliation of anonymous activity with known users. Both platforms also capture identifiable information and user characteristics, which can be sent to other downstream tools for data activation. However, the flexibility of RudderStack’s warehouse-first design sets it apart.

So, what distinguishes Segment’s Personas from RudderStack’s Identities?

Given that not every Segment user utilizes every aspect of Personas, let’s examine the structure of the product. We will briefly cover the features of Personas and then explain how RudderStack handles those features. Here’s the spoiler: RudderStack performs all operations within your data warehouse, unlike Segment that operates in a black box in the cloud.

Segment Personas Overview:
Segment Personas consists of Personas Spaces and Audiences. Personas Spaces aggregate inbound identify calls and traits to create and update individual user profiles. Segment also allows for defined calculated traits and SQL traits, as well as the ability to import warehouse-derived attributes.

The Main Differences Between Segment Personas and RudderStack:
1. Black box vs. Your warehouse:
The primary difference is that Segment stores data in a black box in the cloud, while RudderStack builds and stores user profiles and audience data in your warehouse.

2. Ability to transform and enrich user traits:
Rudderstack offers the flexibility to modify, filter, or transform entire payloads, providing control over user traits in identify calls, unlike Segment which is limited to renaming individual traits.

3. Building, storing, combining and modifying audiences and cohorts:
RudderStack’s warehouse-first approach allows the flexibility to transform traits and build more complex audiences. Furthermore, user profiles and audiences reside in your warehouse, which allows you to utilize tools like dbt or ML to modify audiences.

4. Computed & SQL Traits vs RudderStack Reverse ETL:
Segment computed traits and SQL traits have limitations. On the other hand, RudderStack provides extensive capabilities to create custom attributes using SQL or dbt directly in your warehouse.

5. Personas Audiences vs RudderStack, dbt & Reverse ETL:
RudderStack offers the flexibility to own your data and build on it to drive value for your business, in contrast to the audience restrictions found in Segment Personas. RudderStack’s Reverse ETL feature allows you to create a variety of different audiences that live as tables in the warehouse schema.

In the next post, we will demonstrate a practical example of building an audience with RudderStack, dbt, and your warehouse, and then sending it to your entire stack.

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