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What Are Properties?

By and large, properties are just a way to describe the metadata attached to an Account, Contact, or Events. With that said, there are some slight distinctions between what kinds of properties typically exist on Accounts and Contacts and the stuff that comes with Events. So let's take each one individually.

Account & Contact Properties

Account and Contact properties are typically the additional information you would store in your CRM about that company or person. For an Account it could be the company's revenue, or location, or website URL. For a Contact it could be the person's phone number, title, or LinkedIn profile URL. Whatever you want to store as a property on an Account or Contact can be stored as a property on an account or contact.

Just a few of the many properties you could store on an account

It's also not unusual to enrich Accounts and Contacts through services like Clearbit. If that's something you do, the additional data that service layers on top will also come through as properties on the Account or Contact.

Clearbit is one of the many services that can enrich your Account and Contact properties

Event Properties

Event properties are roughly the same idea (additional data that is attached to events), but they work slightly differently. When you send an event from your website or product, you may include some additional information as properties. Take a `Signed Up` event, for instance. When your product pushes that to Variance, you also might include the company name, plan type, or referrer if it was provided. All that information can be viewed in Variance and toggled on and off (see below).

Properties let you include additional information with an event

Toggling On/Off Event Properties

Many of the events you pass to Variance will have properties attached. Some of these properties are really important to understanding what happened when the user interacted. For instance, if you had an event with `Selected Pricing Option` you also want to know the value of the property `Tier` which would indicate whether the user choose and individual or a team plan. Since we know how important is it to see some properties every time the event comes through we allow you to toggle on and off properties for any event. When you do that the property will show up for all instances of that event, both on Variance and in Slack.

Adding properties to events is just a few clicks away

Property Follows

In addition to being able to see properties on Account and Contacts and toggle them on and off for Events, you can actually follow properties. If you're familiar with SQL, this is the equivalent to adding a `where` clause. All Account, Contact, and Event Type properties can be followed, just like everything else in the system. Here's how it works:

  1. Go to the Accounts, Properties, or Event Types section.
  2. Click the Properties tab.
  3. Click Follow
  4. Choose which Stream to follow that property in
  5. Define the match you want on that property (is equal to, contains, does not contain, does not exist, exists, is greater than, is less than, is not equal to)

Here are a few good use cases to consider for Account & Contact property follows:

  • Geographic Territories: You can follow all accounts where `State is equal to CA`
  • Owned Territories: You can follow all accounts where `Owner is equal to Noah Brier`
  • Title Streams: You can follow all contacts where `title contains marketing`

In addition, here are a few examples of how you can use property follows with Events:

  • Docs: As shown in the example above, you might want to see all visits to Docs pages by following `url contains /docs`
  • Pricing: If you have a number of different pricing events and modals, you might want to just use property follows with `name contains pricing` (you can also follow it a second time in the same Stream with `name includes price` if necessary).

Use Case: Creating an Account Owner Stream

One of the most popular use cases of property follows is to create a stream for a salesperson of just the accounts they own. To do that you'll need two things: 

  1. Add an owner property to accounts: the easiest way to do this is to push the data from CRM to Variance through Zapier
  2. Create a Stream that follows all Accounts where `owner` is equal to `Noah Brier` (insert seller's name there)

Here's a quick video to show how that works:

Hiding Properties [Admins]

We know it's impossible to ensure that all your event data is clean and consistent. To help deal with that, and make it easier for the team, we have added the ability to hide properties. If, for instance, you have some properties that are no longer in use or don't display data in an expected way you can simply hide them from users so they won't be confused. Simply click the overflow menu and you'll be able to hide the property. This won't delete anything or change data in any other system. (You need to be an Admin to see this functionality.)

Hiding properties helps keep things simple

Reserved Properties

Segment has a concept of "reserved" properties and traits that we follow (regardless of which CDP provider you use). Basically what this means is that if you use one of these special traits on an `identify` or `group` call, we will treat it in a special way (such as using it as the name of a contact or displaying it at the top of the page). Here's the list of reserved traits:

Contacts

There are a few traits that are core to our system:

  • `name`: The name of the contact in Variance
  • `email`: The email of the contact in Variance

The following traits will appear at the top of your Contact page, above any other traits:

  • `address`: Street address of a user optionally containing
  • `age`: Age of a user
  • avatar: URL to an avatar image for the user
  • `birthday`: User’s birthday
  • `company`: Company the user represents, optionally containing: `name`, `id`, `industry`, `employee_count`, or `plan` (these can be configured as part of account matching)
  • `createdAt`: Date the user’s account was first created. Segment recommends using ISO-8601 date strings.
  • `description`: Description of the user
  • `firstName`: First name of the user
  • `gender`: Gender of a user
  • `id`: Unique ID in your database for a user (different than `userId` which is how we tie together user events)
  • `lastName`: Last name of a user
  • `phone`: Phone number of a user
  • `title`: Title of a user, usually related to their position at a specific company. Example: “VP of Engineering”
  • `username`: User’s username. This should be unique to each user, like the usernames of Twitter or GitHub.
  • `website`: Website of a user

Accounts

Whether you use Group to identify accounts or you are just enriching data from your CRM, there are also a number of Account traits we treat in a special way.

These traits are core to the way we display and associate accounts:

  • `name`: The name of the account in Variance
  • `website`: If set, this will be the associated domain for the account in Variance (if you don't set a domain, we will infer it from the email addresses of the contacts associated with the account)

The following traits will appear at the top of your Account page, above any other traits:

  • `address`: Street address of a group
  • `avatar`: URL to an avatar image for the group
  • `createdAt`: Date the group’s account was first created We recommend ISO-8601 date strings.
  • `description`: Description of the group, like their personal bio
  • `email`: Email address of group
  • `employees`: Number of employees of a group, typically used for companies
  • `id`: Unique ID in your database for a group
  • `industry`: Industry a user works in, or a group is part of
  • `phone`: Phone number of a group
  • `plan`: Plan that a group is in
Last Updated: 
July 30, 2021