A calculated attribute (CA) is a read-only value about a particular attribute of a single user that mParticle keeps up-to-date over time. You define a calculated attribute in mParticle and, once activated, they are computed automatically over time by using the raw data stream of events and user information.
You can define calculated attributes to track almost anything on an individual user, from counting the number of logins in the last 30 days or knowing the last product category viewed, to more complex calculations like the customer’s average order revenue or the most frequent purchase.
Calculated attributes provide value in many ways:
The following video explains how calculated attributes help you quickly generate customer insights without needing any developer resources:
A calculated attribute contains the following elements that you define:
Status: Calculated attributes are created as drafts, indicating that they are not being calculated. When you change a calculated attribute status to active, mParticle starts calculating the attributes and you can use them across the mParticle platform and downstream.
Calculated attributes are defined and calculated per workspace; calculations use data available within the same workspace where they are defined. You can create calculated attributes with the same name and functionality in multiple workspaces.
After you activate a calculated attribute, calculating existing data can take several hours or more, depending on the date range selected and the amount of data to be processed.
Calculations are either synchronous (sent with the batch of data being processed) or asynchronous (sent with the next batch):
For more information about calculation types, see Calculated Attributes Reference.
We currently support 13 calculations organized into four groups:
For a list of calculations and details about each, see Calculated Attributes Reference.
For an overview of how to use calculation types, view the following video:
Calculated attributes can apply to a date range that you define, but is limited by the audience real-time lookback period defined in your current subscription plan. You can specify two types of date ranges:
The audience real-time lookback period only affects the available data when initializing a calculated attribute. After initialization, calculated attributes continue to recalculate with new data. When an event drops out of the lookback period, it doesn’t change the calculated attribute.
After selecting an event, you can add conditions to the attribute in order to more precisely define results. For example, a retailer creating a calculated attribute might use the Contains operator with a Count attribute to count only the purchases that contain “Sock” in the product name. For a complete list of operators for the four types of attributes (Count, Aggregation, Occurrence, and List), see Conditions.
Seeding allows you to pass in historic values for calculated attributes that mParticle builds on as new data arrives, without passing in all the raw events. Seeding allows you to transition from your own calculations to mParticle calculation. For example, you may have data from outside mParticle about the last four months’ bookings. You can create a calculated attribute, then send the seed data to mParticle using the Calculated Attributes Seeding API. mParticle then combines your seed data and live data so there’s no interruption.
You can seed calculated attributes in both draft (recommended) and active states; the calculated attribute must exist before you can seed it.
Seeding requires two pieces of information:
Note the following calculated attribute behavior:
If a partner supports user attribute forwarding, you can forward calculated attributes in an audience integration alongside user attributes. Different partners have implemented user attribute forwarding in different ways.
For example, Salesforce uses a separate data extension while Google BigQuery uses the configuration setting Send User Attributes.
To walk through several different scenarios for using calculated attributes, download the Calculated Attributes Use Case Guide.
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