Then they changed their pricing so that bill became $1200 (per month!). Total insanity. When I did some consulting work for another startup that had even higher traffic numbers (150k-200k uniques) but was also very lightly monetized, I actually lost some serious political capital with the CEO when he saw the Segment price quote of nearly $2000 per month. He thought I was trying to fleece them.
Sorry guys. I think you’ve built a REALLY awesome product and I / similarly small businesses are clearly not the target demographic anymore, and I’m sure you’re now making metric boatloads of money from big enterprise customers who don’t care about a $20k annual bill for analytics, but man, it’s disappointing to be so priced out of what was once a great part of my toolkit.
Unfortunately, the recent price hikes are completely out of line with the value we are getting with the product and we are being financially forced to stop using the service. Chatting with the sales team has been extremely painful and unhelpful. It has been incredibly validating to hear that everyone else here is feeling the same way.
@Ilya — I really hope you'll consider taking this feedback to heart. You have absolutely nailed the product. The pricing needs a complete overhaul.
We provide a white labelled platform for a few enterprise customers as well, and Segment allows us to route data to the appropriate accounts for each of those services, rather than having to set everything up manually each time.
But my side project, Casting Call Club, has 150k uniques a month, most of which are not monetized. There's just simply no way I can justify paying for Segment. Many of the ideas I think about are simply lost because it would take too much time to build out myself.
It's definitely meant for large enterprises, not for growing ones.
I get the reasoning behind the price change, and I presume it was good for their bottom line, but it felt like extortion.
The current prices are still a far cry from what they were back in 2015  and the most valuable feature (replaying historical data) now seems to be enterprise-only. It still looks like great value once you reach a certain size but I'd be hard pressed to use this new startup offering or recommend a client to do so.
On a more strategic note, the door seems wide open for another Segment-like startup to capture early stage businesses. The only thing that might be saving Segment in this respect is that Google isn't suggesting a competitor when you type "Segment vs" -- yet.
That said, they could consider a cheaper, lightweight option that pipes traffic for you with a single tracker (the original value prop) but without the identify call and custom track calls, which is where all the downstream and up-market value is with respect to personas and the swing to become a CDP.
Interested to see what the back-end of this 'free period' will cost for the startups who get in bed with them - $120 per month for up to 10k MAU and then 'custom' pricing beyond that according to their pricing page.
It's worth a lot less than that to us.
Re: how the program works on the backend — For new startups (<2 years, <$5M raised), the Startup Program provides $25k of annual credit (and $50k credit if you're applying thru an accelerator) on the team plan which makes "Segment Free" for 99% of the thousands of startups that use Segment. You can apply for it for multiple years, and after you graduate, we'll provide graduated discounts off our standard plans (50% in year 1). This is designed to be affordable for the entire time that a startup is getting off the ground.
Re: value over time — we see companies of 2+ years of age use an average of 7 source types (web, mobile, crm, stripe, ..) and 8 destination types (google analytics, event analytics tool, data warehouse, email marketing tool, A/B testing tool, ..) accounting for 56 point to point integrations. Each source <> destination connection takes an average of 24 hours to do initial API integration and more beyond to maintain, so hours can add up. (https://segment.com/academy/choosing-stack/how-stacks-evolve...)
We're also buffering data behind the scenes with Centrifuge when partner APIs have a downtime event to get your data deliverability as high as possible :) (https://segment.com/blog/introducing-centrifuge/)
Either way — this feedback is super helpful, and if you'd like to chat more I'm ilya@ segment.com. Thanks!
Basically this definition works for venture-backed startups, who will fail or get big funding in 2 years. For those of us taking a slower, lower-risk path, two years is a pretty short cutoff for "startup" status.
If the entry-level, non-startup pricing were more modest, this wouldn't be much of an issue. But reading the comments about pricing here, it seems like the non-startup pricing is very high.
Took 1 day to rewrite.
Our dev team at the time said rewriting it internally was impossible, so we actually paid it for 6 months. After changing the team, this was on the top of the list. It was trivial to switch.
Now, all the services that we used were stable so the benefit of easily adding and removing services was not something we needed.
Rightscale suffered similar fate when their rates kept going up. At some point it became cheaper to rewrite it ourselves.
did you consider making it Open Source?
It's my favourite technology, but unaffordable for pretty much any company not burning some VCs money.
From my perspective as a "business ops" person, they graduated past this years ago and have unlocked a ton of value with identity normalization and server-side Track events, particular in moving data around between core product and the services marketing + sales use to acquire and engage customers.
Segment is the one place I can manually push an identity update or Track event and know it will be broadcast back to all the other endpoints, including a warehouse. In addition, the services I use also push their user activity back to Segment as a destination, which then automatically broadcasts it back out to everything else.
Asking product engineers to do all this work every time a new need pops up (a) literally never happens, and (b) if it does happen, drives them crazy because they hate working on that stuff and they'll never touch it again once v1 ships.
I want to like Segment, I really do. But until they change their attitude I strongly recommend against using them. Especially for startups, because it's not easy to get off once you deeply integrate Segment into your stack.
But you know who has already built Mixpanel? Mixpanel. And they’ll let your business use if for a couple hundred dollars a month. Starting today, not six months from now when your version would be finished.
Better still, if you use Mixpanel’s Mixpanel instead of the one you built yourself, you can have your dev team develop your product during all that time they would have otherwise been building somebody else’s product for internal use.
Build versus buy. It’s a thing for a reason.
The raw data is with you. You don't need to wait for 6 months but launch a version with limited features and can continue developing it slowly, until it achieves whatever feature parity you are aiming for.
I'm starting to think that most of these analytics services are more trouble than their worth if you have a good engineering team. A few metrics API's + timescale DB + Grafana goes a long way. If you have a differentiated business you're probably measuring something unique. And if you're measuring something unique then you're better off building your own analytics.
Also, realistically most businesses are built on top of databases. So the most important stuff is in the databases anyway. So might as well just put metrics in SQL too.
But I agree that applications have unique things about them and for those, people need to implement their own metrics to measure whatever interests them. In that case, the current best choices for time-series database are InfluxDB and Prometheus. They provide very simple APIs and tools for collecting and transmitting metrics, and if you prefer to store aggregations of your metrics instead of the many individual data points, you can use the very simple but powerful StatsD api/client/library/package.
Shameless plug: My company HostedMetrics (https://HostedMetrics.com) offers hosted and fully managed InfluxDB and Prometheus. It includes everything needed for a turnkey metrics platform that is ready to accept your metrics the moment you create an account: StatsD for data transmission, Grafana for dashboards, and the alerting functionalities of InfluxDB/Prometheus.
But for every other biz that happens to be on the internet, ie e-commerce, not having to rely on a tech team for implementing various services has some value. If you consider that some websites can only be updated every few months or so, having a third party manage that for you is a life-saver.
I've seen / helped too many marketing folks try to get some services (read pixels) implemented and it's always been a Shih-tzuh :)
The product recommendation seems like an alternative to Segments offering (albiet simpler), and the commenter claims no affiliation.
Yeah....We need to have a conversation and push back on them-
IMHO, Segments pricing starts breaking down as company's scale because of a couple factors, that generally allow people to push back.
Some of these reasons (that I know of...and I'm sure you know better), are:
1. Google tag manager is free
3. We'll soon have a full-time front engineer focused on the website...So it's not very painful to instrument a new sdk, or add a shared cookie between sdk's.
4. There are options that are really good at moving log files (e.g., fluentd.org) for server side logging. It's how the big boys move log files :)
5. According to google analytics...we're at XX,XXX across webapp + www, so not sure why they are saying YYY,YYY
I realize there's value in Segment, but we can push back on pricing increases.
One last thing, allowing us access to our historic pricing, with no additional functionality, doesn't seem like a big give...especially as pricing usually reduces as you scale. So I am very skeptical of this "new pricing" line of reasoning they are trying to pull!
Looking forward to talking to them ~N
The big challenge is aligning data scale to company size/price.
I suspect Segment is trying to solve for this very problem with their price increases but at the expense of smaller business. The 'startup' program is a great way for them to keep the platform accessible to new businesses. I applaud them for that.
Shameless plug: My company Indicative (https://www.indicative.com), a customer/behavioral analytics platform that integrates with Segment. We offer 1 billion events/user actions a month for free for Segment users, so that all companies, especially startups can start using data in bringing their products to market and without having to worry about data limits.
Shame on all those who voted you down.
I would explain to them that this was insane. They’d grandfather me in for a quarter. But every quarter I’d get new urgent emails from a new account rep who thought they were going to make a huge score.
We rebuilt event pipes (really not that hard) in house and used stitchdata for pulling from external sources. DIY isn’t without work, but use a hosted Kafka and it’s really not a ton of work. And gives you a ton of flexibility.
I get their niche but I don’t trust their pricing/business further than I can throw them.
Want google analytics? add it in their UI and its there. Mixpanel? Click a button. Trying a new ad network? Click a button.
Basically, all these SaaS companies want some bits of your data and have some custom integrations.. instead of needing an engineer to implement it your marketing team can edit a UI. And you do it once, so you don't hit as many 'oops we forgot/implemented wrong conversion tracking for Random Service X'
None of it is that hard to do, but there's probably better things your engineer should be doing. Also, as the engineer whose done it, on the tenth marketing platform integration the engineering team will hate the marketing team.
Being able to instrument marketing AND app events that move data around, and then arbitrarily use webhooks and third-party integrations to further move data around on-demand (e.g., via Zapier or customer.io) or in batch (e.g., nightly updates from Looker) is magical for business teams.
I say this as a member of a 6-person venture-funded startup. Segment has helped us massively leverage a small headcount.
> one-time problem during setup of someone's infrastructure
As the marketer regularly making these requests, it's by no means a one-time problem, and I can attest to being hated by our tech team (for some reason they don't appreciate me hiding random JS code in our CMS to save on these requests either...).
GTM would solve many of the problems for us as we store all of our customer data in CRM anyway, but for other orgs that don't have a massive CRM policy, having an essentially outsourced data warehouse might be valuable.
which amounts to, the data goes through them first, so "Because we store the data, we also have the ability to replay your historical data into new tools and give you acccess to your raw data in a SQL data warehouse."
Echoing other commenters, pricing plans are quite steep for the more modest businesses out there who might have a pretty large reach (Monthly users) but nowhere near the budget to shell out big $$.
Tis a shame cause as someone with a foot in tech and the other one in marketing, I know there's a lof value for the real world businesses out there (outside of the tech bubble) but having to spend what I guess is a hefty amount of cash every month just for the pipes is going to be a hard sell for folks which might be already struggling to see value in investing in technology.
Been following you guys for a while, cool to see you're expanding -esp here in good auld Dublin and having enough momentum to afford such a move.
Many product analytics companies have absolutely crazy pricing. Simply not worth it for the odd experiment, measuring MAU and a few other key metrics.
I think we are likely to setup track.domain.com/event endpoint dumping events into Redshift given that we will use SQL to report anyway.
I believe this market is ripe for disruption. A clone, very differentiated by focus would certainly eat away and bring more aligned pricing. Right now, Segment are literally the only folks who do what they do. They do it well, but its not affordable to bootstrapped startups.
I wonder if we could transition that old account to this new startup plan, as we are still at early stage (just got into our first accelerator a few months ago) and bootstrapped?
Since it doesn't provide any user interface that allows you to get insights from Segment data, you need to use a BI tool in order to be able to make use of this data which also requires you to dedicate resource and spend some time on it.
Early stage startups usually don't have enough time and resource so we have been working on a tool that allows you to integrate Segment data-warehouse and run segmentation, funnel and retention queries. You can think of it as Mixpanel UI for your Segment data. Here is the details: https://rakam.io/integration/segment/
The reason Segment doesn't have a user interface for insights is because it has destinations. There's a slew of BI tools you can choose from the catalog as destinations, including Mixpanel.
Our solution basically provides Mixpanel-like interface for your Segment Warehouse Data (See https://segment.com/product/warehouses/) and you have the ability to see all your company data, unlike Mixpanel.
You can always use generic BI solutions to analyze the data collected by Segment but the product data has different semantics and Mixpanel-like solutions help the product teams to be able to ask more ad-hoc questions without any need of help from the data team.
It was also really frustrating to us doing work in the political and advocacy sector that the their EU GDPR Data Processing Agreement explicitly forbids using their product for any of the things our EU clients would need like measuring petition signatures or donations to causes -- since those might be information about "political opinions" which their terms prohibit. This particular GDPR interpretation is somewhat unusual, we've negotiated workable DPAs with almost everyone else we've wanted to do business with but Segment was unmovable.
Mind you: I work in a pretty unrelated field and almost never deal with the frontend/web stack.
What would I use it for?
The web analytics SaaS market is diverse and fragmented and each of those event types (mentioned earlier) is usually recorded via a different SaaS tool. This is where Segment comes in. It provides a unified interface for collection and collation of web data across a wide variety of web analytics tools - Google Ads, Intercom, Mailchimp, HubSpot, Zendesk, etc. and makes this process extremely easy.