Snowplow BDP vs ETL tools

How does Snowplow Digital Analytics work compared to tools such as: Fivetran, Matillion,, Hadoop, AWS Glue, Azure Data Factory, Google Cloud Dataflow and Stitch?

What is customer behavioral data vs. the data collected by ETL tools?

ETL tools collect what is sometimes termed “static data” from sources such as customer relationship management tools (CRMs), financial/transactional datasets and ads data.

This data is just part of the story of how your customers interacted with your product. Behavioral data is a second-by-second record of every action taken by a user, every click, view, bounce, location etc.

A great example is that your ETL data may tell you that the user paid $50 for a product in Texas, but your behavioral data would tell you that they were just visiting Texas, as well as the path leading up to the purchase (social touches, video views, internal search, etc).

Snowplow and ETL tools are complementary

Using an ETL tool alongside Snowplow’s behavioral data creates a complete understanding of your customers and business performance. ETL tools provide a foundation for data movement and transformation, behavioral data add a layer of specialization that unlocks the rich insights hidden within user actions and interactions. This combined approach provides a more comprehensive understanding of user behavior, leading to better decision-making and improved user experiences.

Adopting behavioral data allows for…

Deeper insights

Convert user actions into meaningful business information, such as a customer’s propensity to churn or their predicted lifetime value.

Advanced Segmentation

Segment users based on their actions and interactions. This allows you to create highly targeted campaigns, product recommendations, and other experiences.

Targeted Spend

Behavioral data tells you not just the ‘what’, but also the ‘why’ of user actions. This information allows you to target your resources where they are most impactful.


  • Why should I use two tools, don’t CDPs collect both data types?

    While certain tools promise to collect behavioral and static data sources, choosing a specialist tool for each (e.g. Stitch + Snowplow) vastly improves data quality and control of your datasets. It ensures that the technology you are using is specifically designed to excel at the task in question and increases the ROI of your data stack.

  • Is behavioral data hard to work with?

    Smaller companies have typically relied on easier-to-use datasets, such as transactional and demographic data—because behavioral data was seen as too hard to work with. Challenges include reconciling data from disparate sources; complying with GDPR, CCPA and other rules; ITP and ad blockers. Snowplow’s technology was specifically designed to overcome these huge hurdles and make behavioral data accessible to companies of all sizes.

  • How can we merge our different datasets?

    Data from your ETL tools can be merged with your behavioral data in your data warehouse or lake to create a single source of truth for your company. Snowplow is a warehouse-first tool and we strongly recommend only using tools that give you full transparency and ownership of your data.

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