Using Calculated Attributes

Create, activate, and use calculated attributes from the mParticle user interface. You can then view calculated attributes along with other user attributes in the UI or via the Profile API.

Step One: Create a Calculated Attribute

  1. Within the Data Master section of your dashboard’s side navigation panel, select Calculated Attributes, and then select + Calculated Attribute.
  2. Enter the Calculated Attribute Name and an optional Description. medium
  3. Select the Calculation Type for your calculations. See Calculation Types for details.
  4. When applicable, select the operation.
  5. Click on the data criteria section to define the data used to run the calculation.

    1. From the dropdown, select the event to calculate on. If not set to Personalize, an event can’t be used as criteria in a calculated attribute and won’t be evaluated. It will be grayed out.
    2. Certain calculations are based on an event attribute for the selected event. When applicable, select the attribute.
    3. Some operations requires a specific data type to run calculation. When selected attribute is not compatible with the operation a warning message will be displayed. If you want to force a specific event attribute to be used you can continue past the warning and activate the calculated attribute. For example, if you pass in purchase amount as a string you can force it to be a number for use in a sum calculation.
    4. Save your changes.

  6. To adjust a date range for your calculation, click on Date Range criteria:

    • Select Since from the dropdown for calculations that must be made from a specific start date within the audience retention period defined in your subscription plan.
    • Select Within the last from dropdown for calculations that must be made over a specific rolling time period. Enter a number and specify a time unit of Days or Weeks, and then Save your changes.

Step Two: Activate a Calculated Attribute

A calculated attribute must first be activated in order for mParticle to start calculating its values across your users.

To activate a Calculated Attribute:

  1. Select Activate after defining the Calculated Attribute.
  2. Once activated, Calculated Attribute is immediately available across the mParticle platform. This allows you to create audiences, setup connections, and data filters as an example.

When activated, mParticle will start to compute and initialize the initial value for the calculated attribute.

Depending on the date range, volume of data in your workspace, and complexity of definition, calculations will have varying SLAs before it first becomes available across your customer profiles. Whilst calculating, the UI will display its calculation progress.

Optional Step: Using the Calculated Attributes Feed

You use the default behavior for forwarding calculated attributes forwarding, or you can use the special Calculated Attributes feed.

Forward Calculated Attributes in Event Batches (Default Behavior)

mParticle automatically enriches incoming batches with active calculated attributes for that user. Just like regular user attributes, you can restrict which outputs receive them, using data filters.

Forward Calculated Attributes in the Calculated Attributes Feed

The Calculated Attributes feed allows you to send calculated attributes downstream whenever they change, without an event from the user; this feed is especially useful for keeping calculated attributes with asynchronous calculations synchronized throughout your stack, and for sending calculated attributes downstream alongside kit integrations.

If your output partner supports the Calculated Attributes Feed, the input appears once you have activated a calculated attribute. When a new connection is made to this input, CA values for users who have not been seen since their asynchronous CAs were calculated will be sent. This feed sends an update when calculated attributes change (both synchronous & asynchronous), it does not send user attributes.

To control which downstream system receives these updates, connect specific platforms to receive the calculated attribute updates. You can also filter out calculated attributes you do not wish to forward using the platform filters page.

The calculated attributes feed is available with the following partners:

  • Amazon Kinesis
  • Amazon Kinesis Firehose
  • Amazon Redshift
  • Amazon S3
  • Amazon SNS
  • Amplitude
  • Apache Kafka
  • Braze
  • Google BigQuery
  • Google Cloud Storage
  • Google Pub/Sub
  • Microsoft Azure Blob Storage
  • Microsoft Azure Event Hubs
  • Slack
  • Snowflake
  • Webhook

View Calculated Attributes in Live Stream, User Activity View or Profile API

Calculated attributes can be viewed alongside other user attributes in the Live Stream, the User Activity view, and are accessible via the Profile API.

Use Calculated Attributes in Audiences

Use calculated attributes in the Audience builder by selecting User > Calculated Attributes.

Calculated attributes appear as ‘string’ types at first and then automatically switch to the correct type as they are computed across many users. You can build audience criteria with a calculated attribute even if it is calculating. After the attribute values are completed for each user, their audience membership is updated.

Seed a Calculated Attribute

Seeding allows you to pass in historic values for calculated attributes that mParticle will build upon as new data arrives, without passing in all the raw events. This allows you to seamlessly transition from your own calculations to mParticle’s.

To use seeds with a calculated attribute:

  1. Define a calculated attribute in the mParticle platform prior to sending any seed.

    The CA can be in either draft or active state, however, we recommend the calculated attribute be activated after seeds for all users have been sent to mParticle. Once a calculated attribute is activated, mParticle starts calculating it, and thus some users may show inaccurate values until seeds have been received.

  2. Send seeds via the Calculated Attributes Seeding API.

    Once mParticle has received seeds, mParticle combines them with calculated attribute results based on live data received after the cutoff date.

Calculated Attribute Changes and Seeding

After seeds have been sent to mParticle, any of the following changes make the previously received seeds invalid and are deleted from mParticle.

  • Calculated attribute name
  • Calculated attribute calculation type, such as from sum to count
  • Seeding cutoff date
  • Deleting the calculated attribute

Updating Seeds

If you need to update the seeds after already sending them to mParticle, simply send the updated seeds to mParticle again. mParticle overwrites previously received seeds.

Historical Data Loads Require Recalcuation

If you are loading historical data using the historical endpoint of the HTTP API, after the load you must recreate new calculated attributes or update the definition of an existing CA to trigger a recalculation.

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