Fivetran vs. Segment Comparison

Looking for a comparison of Segment and Fivetran? Here are the fundamental differences between a specialized data integration tool and a customer data platform.
October 16, 2020

October 16, 2020

Following the announcement of Twilio’s Segment acquisition, there’s no better time to address this common question: How do Fivetran and Segment differ and how can I use these solutions together?

Taking a quick look at our respective website homepages seems to indicate some overlap in the data integration space, but the purposes that our two platforms serve are very different.

What Is Segment?

At its core, Segment is a customer data platform, which has the primary purpose of helping aggregate customer events on your digital platforms to refine creation of profiles and audiences for more efficient customer targeting. After the Segment platform helps you create audiences for targeting, those audiences can then be exported to popular marketing and CRM tools for immediate application to your customer strategy.

What Is Fivetran?

Fivetran, the leader in automated data integration, delivers ready-to-use connectors that automatically adapt as schemas and APIs change, ensuring consistent, reliable access to data. Because we dedicate our engineering resources almost exclusively to creating native data integration, we are able to make data always accessible to analytics organizations that rely heavily on using a centralized cloud data warehouse or data lake.

Fivetran vs. Segment Differences

Fivetran and Segment were created to address different issues. This leads to several differences, including:

  • Fivetran connectors are optimized for data warehouses, with a broad variety of databases supported and integrations purposefully built to present data in analytics-friendly schemas.
  • All Fivetran connectors (where data exists) will ingest all historical data available in the data source.
  • As Fivetran was created for BI tools and/or ad-hoc querying, connectors typically come with a prebuilt entity relationship diagram for easier immediate report building.
  • Fivetran supports data sources spanning all departments, whereas Segment prebuilt integrations tend to focus solely on marketing and sales.
  • Unlike Segment, Fivetran cannot help you deploy pixels for event tracking, nor help you create user profiles and segments.
  • Unlike Segment, Fivetran cannot export events or user audiences to third-party marketing + CRM applications.

Fivetran + Customer Data Platforms

Which tool you ultimately use should be informed by your business use case. We commonly see joint customers use Segment for initial event aggregation and user profile creation for a deeper customer understanding, and then some combination of:

  • Using Fivetran to connect marketing sources fed by Segment audiences to their data warehouse
  • Connecting Fivetran to Segment for ongoing event analytics in their data warehouse

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