Feature for advanced users
Exponea BigQuery is aimed for advanced users who have solid experience with Google BigQuery, SQL, big data and data warehouse solutions.
Exponea BigQuery (EBQ, formerly called Long Term Data Storage) is a petabyte-scale data storage in Google BigQuery. It provides a flexible, secure, and scalable infrastructure to house your data in an Exponea-like structure. Frequent data updates ensure that your data is always available on demand for custom analytics using your own BI tools. The scalable design easily handles the increased needs of your growing business, characterized by elevated data ingestion. EBQ ensures first-class care of all the technical and security aspects connected with your data storage.
Exponea BigQuery is very different from BiqQuery Integration which is used for importing data from any BigQuery that you are using.
Exponea BigQuery can store any events or user properties. Currently, events are loaded from Exponea into BigQuery roughly every 6 hours, and customers are loaded once a day.
The data is accessible through the BigQuery Console but you can also access it by using a GCP service account in BigQuery client libraries in supported programming languages. GCP service accounts are not created automatically; if you need this kind of access, you should request it, and we will create it for you. In both cases, we provide read-only access to the data, you cannot edit it. Deleting Customer profiles from Exponea also deletes them from Exponea BigQuery (this includes
customer ids and
Events however, are not deleted automatically.
Google email account needed
You cannot access the Exponea BigQuery console without a Google email account.
Frequency of data-update
The data in Exponea BigQuery updates once a day for customer attributes and IDs, and four times a day for events.
- Highly scalable infrastructure will always meet your demands
- Exponea-like data structure makes it easy to understand your data in 3rd party tools
- Advanced security and threat detection
- Custom data retention - store your data as long as you need to
- Access management - distribute read access rights across your teams
- Usage-based pricing - packages based on the expected volume of stored and processed data
- Easily work with your data using Google BigQuery and 3rd party applications
To enable EBQ in your project, please contact your customer success manager or our support.
There are several ways how you can access your EBQ data, which are loaded in BigQuery.
Use the web-based BigQuery console. You can use it to write your custom SQL queries, store and execute them.
Use any of the modern BI tools that provide a connector to BigQuery e.g. Tableau, Power BI, Qlik or Google DataStudio to create reports and analysis using your EBQ data.
Install and setup JDBC/ODBC drivers for Google BigQuery to facilitate accesses by various tools that do not have native BigQuery connector (e.g. ETL tools).
Access Google BigQuery API using Google Cloud Client Libraries.
Your CSM is responsible to manage users and access rights to your Google BigQuery dataset through a Google Group. Only group members can access your BigQuery data. Invitations to Google Groups can be ignored, CSM is adding members without need for you to access the Group and you will have access to data via Google BigQuery Console.
For the purposes of data analysis in the BigQuery console and for BI tools access, you will use your Google user account.
For the purposes of BigQuery access using an API, a service account will be created for you.
EBQ is a set of tables in the Google BigQuery (GBQ) dataset that is kept up to date using regular loads. A BigQuery project always contains 2 types of tables:
|Events tables||One table for each event type (e.g. session_start, item_view etc,)|
|Customers tables||customers_properties customers_id_history - history of all customer merges customers_external_ids - mapping between internal and external customer ids|
Event tables are loaded incrementally, which means that new rows are added to the tables during every load.
Each Event table contains tracked data in the same structure as in the application (see
Data Manager >
Events to understand the expected data structure). All tracked data are stored as a “properties” record and can be accessed in SQL in the following way:
SELECT properties.utm_campaign FROM `gcloudltds.exp_558cba14_8a46_11e6_8da1_141877340e97_views.session_start`
First three columns in each Event table are:
|Internal_customer_id||An ID of the customer that can be used to join with Customer tables|
|ingest_timestamp||Timestamp of when a given event was processed by Exponea (first seen, time of recieving by tracking API or time of processing by Imports)|
|timestamp||Timestamp of when a given event actually happened (user-defined business timestamp)|
To query those fields, no prefix needs to be used:
SELECT internal_customer_id FROM `gcloudltds.exp_558cba14_8a46_11e6_8da1_141877340e97_views.session_start`
There is a timestamp limit for the event business timestamp. Events with a timestamp lower than 1.1.2012 (00:00 UTC) are NOT imported to Exponea BigQuery and are discarded (even when you see these events in the Exponea application, you will not find them in Exponea BigQuery)
Customer tables are loaded using a full load. During each daily load, tables are loaded from scratch, hence they always contain the latest information about the customers.
The main customer table is
customer_properties. The structure is the same as defined in the application (see
Data Manager >
Customer Properties to understand the expected data structure). All tracked data are stored as a “properties” record and can be accessed in SQL in the following way:
SELECT properties.last_name FROM `gcloudltds.exp_558cba14_8a46_11e6_8da1_141877340e97_views.customers_properties`
This table contains a history of customer merging.
past_id is the ID of the customer that is merged with another customer and
internal_customer_id is the ID of the customer with which the
past_id was merged. Until customers are merged, there is no record in this table.
customers_id_history is missing
View customers_id_history is created only when there are customer merges in the exported project.
This table maps each
internal_customer_id to all available
external_customer_ids. The value of
external_customer_id is stored in
id_value and the type of
external_customer_id (e.g. cookie, email) is stored in
Both event and customers_properties tables contain the
properties field, which is a BigQuery nested record (struct). Fields in this record have types based on types of properties specified in Exponea application (
Data Manager > Events and
Data Manager > Customer Properties).
The conversion is done in a following way:
datetime properties will be converted correctly only if their value is unix timestamp in seconds.
list type is stored in BigQuery in a JSON serialized form
In addition to
properties field, customers and event tables also contain
raw_properties field. Properties in
raw_properties field are not converted according to Exponea schema, all of them are BigQuery
STRING type. This is useful for cases when conversion in
properties doesn't return expected results (the returned value is
In order to get query results faster and cheaper, it is recommended to use partitioned tables in BigQuery. Timestamp partitioning is available in your project.
Timestamp partitioning is done using business timestamp. A business timestamp is the time when the event was tracked. See examples:
Notice the difference in the volume of data to be processed (indicated in the bottom right part of the screenshots).
In order to enable monitoring of the load process there is a table _system_load_log in each dataset. For example to find out what was the last time when session_start event type was loaded, the following query needs to be executed:
SELECT tabs, timestamp FROM `gcloudltds.exp_4970734e_9ed3_11e8_b57b_0a580a205e7b_views._system_load_log` CROSS JOIN unnest(tables) as tabs WHERE tabs in('session_start') ORDER BY 2 DESC LIMIT 1
And here is bit more complex example how to display last 4 table updates that were not updated in last 3 days. It can be used for example to display event tables that were not tracked into Exponea app for some period of time.
SELECT loaded_table_name, ARRAY_AGG(timestamp ORDER BY timestamp DESC LIMIT 4) as latest_updates -- limit to only X latest update timestamps for each table FROM `gcloudltds.exp_c1f2061a_e5e6_11e9_89c3_0698de85a3d7_views._system_load_log` LEFT JOIN UNNEST(tables) AS loaded_table_name GROUP BY loaded_table_name HAVING EXISTS ( SELECT 1 FROM UNNEST(latest_updates) AS table_timestamp WITH OFFSET AS offset WHERE offset = 0 and DATETIME(table_timestamp) < DATETIME_SUB(CURRENT_DATETIME(), INTERVAL 3 DAY) -- show only table names where the latest update timestamp is older than 3 days ) ORDER BY loaded_table_name ASC
Because unexpected delays in data processing may occur (especially during seasonal peaks), you should not rely on a specific time for new data to be exported and available in EBQ.
Instead, you should monitor the
_system_load_logtable and trigger dependent queries and scripts processing only after there is a log entry that data has been successfully exported to EBQ. If you run scripts on a fixed time, it may happen that the data is not exported to EBQ yet and it will run on an empty dataset.
Data in the event tables in the BigQuery are loaded incrementally and never deleted, even if you delete some data in Exponea. If you delete events in Exponea, these will not be deleted from EBQ. Meaning you will end up with BQ data that is not completely consistent with the app. EBQ was developed to serve as a long-term storage, that means it retains data even after deletion within the app. If you want to discount invalid, bugged, or redundant event data (which you deleted in the app), you need to remember which data have been deleted and setup an additional filter in your reporting based on EBQ data.
Please contact your CSM in case you need help or further clarification.
Deletion vs anonymization
Since you cannot rely only on mirroring data deletion from app to EBQ, in case you are fulfilling data removal request (GDPR/CCPA), you shall use anonymization functions in the app. Anonymization removes personal data also from EBQ, see Anonymizing customers.
In releases before version 1.160 (Nov 2019), the information about deleted data was stored in EBQ in the table
_system_delete_event_type. You could use this table to filter only data that have not been deleted from Exponea. However this table is not updated anymore, after release of a feature Delete events by filter.
Every time a customer uses a different browser or device to visit your website, they are considered as separate and non-related entities. However, once the customer identifies (through registering or logging in their account for example), those 2 profiles are merged into one. In this way, customer activity can be tracked across multiple browsers and devices.
Until the customers are merged, there is no record about the first or the second customer in the customers_id_history table.
At the moment of the merge, the following information is stored in the table:
This means that the customer that was tracked on device 2 (customer_on_device_2) is merged into the customer on device 1 (customer_on_device_1) and both customers together are now considered as a single merged customer.
It is important to work with merged customers when you analyze the event data to get all events generated by the customer_on_device_2 and customer_on_device_1 assigned to a single customer. Use the following query to work with merged customers:
SELECT Ifnull(b.internal_customer_id, a.internal_customer_id) AS merged_id, a.internal_customer_id AS premerged_id FROM `gcloudltds.exp_558cba14_8a46_11e6_8da1_141877340e97_views.session_start` a LEFT JOIN `gcloudltds.exp_558cba14_8a46_11e6_8da1_141877340e97_views.customers_id_history` b ON a.internal_customer_id = b.past_id)
For each internal_customer_id in the event table (session_start in this case) if there is a merge available in the customers_id_history, internal_customer_id will be mapped to the merged customer. As a result, analysis can be now done on merged_id, all session_starts created historically by either customer_on_device_2 or customer_on_device_1 will have merged_id = customer_on_device_1.
When you anonymize a customer in Exponea, the data is also anonymized in the BigQuery. This is done in the following steps:
- During anonymization through the app or API, an
anonymizationevent is tracked for the customer.
Anonymizationevent is loaded into the BigQuery during a periodic data-update along with all the other events.
- All the new
anonymizationevents are queried.
4, Anonymization is done by an
Updatequery for all the
anonymizationevents queried in step 3 which contained a
customer_ID. This means that all the private event properties tracked for the particular customer IDs will be set to NULL.
ltds_anonymization_timestampis tracked for all the anonymized events with a timestamp of the moment when the anonymization went through in the BigQuery.
With the Exponea BigQuery you can periodically run simple, or calculate complex queries, and store the results in another table within your BigQuery. Afterward, you can access and manipulate these results or use a BI tool, such as Tableau, to report on the data within this table.
The prerequisites of this are:
- You must have your own Google Cloud Platform (GCP) project with BigQuery (BQ) enabled
- You must have the BigQuery Data Transfer API enabled
- As a person configuring this, you must have a ‘write access’ to the BQ and ‘read access’ to EBQ
To configure scheduled queries, follow this guide:
- Open the relevant GCP and ensure that the active project is the desired GCP project and not GCloudLTDS (EBQ)
- Create a new dataset in the BQ at the same location as EBQ (EU)
- Create a new Scheduled query, as shown on the images below
For exporting use case, we recommend querying the
raw_properties fields in customers_properties and event tables as these are always the same data type, independent of Exponea app Data Management settings.
More resources can be found on official Google BigQuery documentation:
Updated 18 days ago