How WebEngage enables its customers to bring their marketing strategies to life within seconds
As a Principal Engineer and Search Architect at food-tech platform Burrp!, Avlesh Singh often helped the sales and marketing teams display digital banners on the website – a complex task back in 2007, unlike today. When he observed that the banners often didn't target the right users and the messaging read like one that's straight out of a marketing handbook, he realised the need to enable brands to create user engagement that felt real.
Teaming up with Ankit Utreja, who was then an Engineering Team Lead at Burrp!, the two launched a beta version ofas an on-site tool for market automation. Today, nearly eight years later, WebEngage has evolved into a full-stack marketing automation and customer data platform catering to over 300 B2C brands worldwide.
The Mumbai-based startup helps brands drive more revenue from their existing customers and anonymous users by segmenting the customers and engaging with them in a contextual and personalised manner through various channels such as Push In-app, SMS, Web Push, Email, On-site Notifications, On-site Surveys, On-site Feedback along with social media channels like Facebook and WhatsApp.
“The platform allows brands to craft and deliver cross-channel campaigns based on data-driven user insights, intelligent user profiles, and smart segments. And, what really makes WebEngage popular with marketers is that they don’t need to have technical know-how to create complex cross-channel engagement campaigns,” says Ankit, who looks after Technology and Customer Services functions at WebEngage as its CTO and Co-founder. Sharing an example, he adds, “Marketers can orchestrate lifecycle marketing campaigns within seconds by using our many user-friendly features. For instance, one of the most popular features on WebEngage is Journey Designer. This one-of-its-kind feature allows marketers to create complex cross-channel marketing campaigns using a simple drag-and-drop editor. Marketers can create trigger-based lifecycle marketing campaigns to send out highly contextual messages based on user actions and events. These rule-based campaigns can be completely customised to suit each business, the types of users the business has and the kind of user events that occur in the course of a user’s lifecycle.”
Today, working with hundreds of brands, WebEngage tracks over 20 billion events and delivers 10 billion messages a month. And, helping WebEngage operate at this mammoth scale efficiently is Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Growing with AWS
WebEngage began using AWS from its inception.
“We wanted an infrastructure that could scale rapidly and had the flexibility to add new features to the product. We also wanted to avoid a significant investment upfront to produce or build a large datacenter,” shares Ankit.
They found their answer in an auto-scaling cloud solution and chose AWS to deliver their product. “Though in-house engineers developed the WebEngage code as cloud-agnostic, the flexible architecture and a separate infrastructure configuration management helped the team to leverage AWS’s native services.”
Today, WebEngage takes advantage of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) for its computing power and Elastic Load Balancing to evenly distribute incoming traffic. The company uses Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for shared file services and Amazon ElasticSearch service for powering real-time campaign analytics. Recently, WebEngage started using Amazon Simple Email Service (Amazon SES) to support its email marketing campaigns.
Achieving scalability with automation
Each of the different AWS services has brought distinct benefits to WebEngage.
“EC2 provides WebEngage a secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud while retaining control of our resources. It brings with it dynamic capabilities to quickly scale up and down, depending on changing computing requirements. Columnar databases and ElasticSearch have helped WebEngage deliver diversified campaigns such as trigger campaigns based on real-time data and automation,” explains Ankit.
Similarly, Amazon Elastic Load Balancing has helped WebEngage automatically balance external and internal loads by distributing traffic across multiple targets such as Amazon EC2, Containers, and Lambda functions.
Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS) is another critical tool for WebEngage to seamlessly manage content delivery to the end-user. While WebEngage enables setting up personalised communication to be delivered at the right time, the delivery bandwidth is chosen by the customer and it happens through different partners. This is where the queuing service by AWS plays a key role. SQS allows the integration of different SMS paths for the end-user and ensures that the communication reaches the end-user as per the customer’s requirements and delivers content exactly where the end-users are.
“In addition, it also helps to prioritise end-users who are closer to the sales funnel, identify which media work best and figure out the personalised message that should reach them.”
Adding intelligence into the product
AWS not only helped WebEngage strengthen its technical muscles, but also brought in a key advantage by supporting WebEngage’s efforts in adding intelligence to the platform.
Ankit says, “We are using Machine Learning (ML) to make our product smarter. AWS solutions help WebEngage run analytics and cull out intelligence from the data. Our smart analytics application depends on Amazon EC2.”
This effort has translated into helping WebEngage increase the monthly event consumption volume from 100 million user actions (user events /day) to over 1 Billion user actions (user events /day) and track over 400+ million users.
In addition to providing operational support, AWS has helped WebEngage by providing consulting support. “I can’t emphasise enough how much this has been a value-add. Their expertise in handling high-volume data, AI and Data Security has helped us make better decisions. In addition, their experience in managing real-time high-volume data analysis by applying different AWS analytical tools has helped us in narrowing down the tools that are best fit our use cases. AWS’s well-architected review also helps us in identifying gaps and how to better leverage existing solutions to fill those gaps.”
Reduced IT management costs and accelerated product development
Leveraging AWS has brought in benefits of reduced IT overhead costs and has also given WebEngage the storage, scalability, and speed it desired to service its burgeoning customer base.
Ankit shares, “ It has provided 99.9 percent availability while drastically reducing infrastructure costs, helping reduce expenditure by 40 percent.”
The other big advantage has been accelerated product development. Engineers at WebEngage are able to rapidly launch staging and development environments that mirror the company’s production environments. Once development and testing are completed, they can switch environments from development to production, seamlessly bringing new product features into play. “We can stage and develop at least 25 percent faster with AWS compared to an on-premises infrastructure,” says Ankit.
He adds, “With AWS technology backing WebEngage, our customers are bringing their marketing strategies to life in a matter of seconds. The best part of working with AWS is that there are no limitations on how quickly or by how much we can scale our business. It goes without saying that AWS has been instrumental in our success.”
On the growth lane
The last few months have been extremely busy for WebEngage as they are expanding their customer base globally. “We are seeing a lot of traction from major growth regions like the United States. They are seeing the value WebEngage can provide in retaining their customers and increasing rates of online sales conversions.”
Ankit adds, “That’s also because today personalised marketing communication has become the norm, especially with consumer brands. There is a visible shift towards a long-term strategy based on customer retention as opposed to customer acquisition.”
And, to drive brand loyalty, customer engagement becomes key; which in turn puts the focus on data and automation.”
“We understand that these factors will continue to influence the market in time to come. And, we will leverage this market demand to further strengthen our product and growth. At WebEngage, the future is going to be all about empowering brands to deliver delightful experiences to their users, ” signs off Ankit.