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Zeta Global Pushes Scalability Limits for Customer Needs Using Amazon DynamoDB

2022

Zeta Global (Zeta) needed to push the limits of technology with its marketing solution to meet its customers’ requests for scalability. The Zeta Marketing Platform, powered by artificial intelligence, has been a fast-growing solution, helping marketers connect with their customers across omnichannel campaigns by scaling quickly and effectively.

In 2015, Zeta turned to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to manage the significant and unpredictable traffic spikes from its customers and achieve a high level of scalability and durability. Motivated by this need for increased scalability and performance, Zeta migrated to AWS with its portfolio of purpose-built databases. Using Amazon DynamoDB—a fully managed, serverless, key-value NoSQL database designed to run high-performance applications at virtually any scale—Zeta is able to deliver millions of messages per minute, meeting its customers’ needs with a solution that has less overhead, supports faster development cycles, and costs 15–20 percent less than that of other vendors.

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Having Amazon DynamoDB has helped us onboard large enterprise customers and Fortune 500 companies that have stringent service-level agreements and throughput requirements."

Bharat Goyal
Senior Vice President of Engineering, Zeta Global

Supporting the Scale of Marketing Peaks

Zeta was founded in 2007 with a vision of delivering a single marketing solution that supports virtually everything an enterprise needs to manage its customers’ journeys from acquisition through retention. Rather than piecing together different systems across multiple vendors, Zeta’s customers can use a single solution and access all the relevant data for digital marketing activation, measurement, and analytics in one place, and Zeta now has one of the industry’s largest consumer datasets. Zeta was named a leader in The Forrester Wave: Email Marketing Service Providers, Quarter 1, 2022.1

Since marketing campaigns tend to launch in the morning and continue throughout the business day, Zeta needed a solution that could automatically scale based on the cyclical demands of its customers while handling the peaks of concurrent campaigns. Zeta also wanted a fully managed solution so that the company could focus on its customers and trust industry experts for the infrastructure support. By migrating to DynamoDB, Zeta has met these requirements and has grown its customer base. “Having Amazon DynamoDB has helped us onboard large enterprise customers and Fortune 500 companies that have stringent service-level agreements and throughput requirements,” says Bharat Goyal, senior vice president of engineering at Zeta. “Using technology from other companies like Snowflake, an AWS Partner, to support specific data access patterns for identity resolution, data enrichment, and near-real-time artificial intelligence, we are able to deliver a holistic marketing technology solution to our customers.”

Using a Fully Managed Solution

Scalability and speed are essential for Zeta. Its customers expect fast timelines for implementing marketing campaigns and rely on service-level agreements to deliver reliability. Using DynamoDB, Zeta can support sending a large volume of messages at a continuous rate and also scale effectively to any spikes in traffic. For example, one of Zeta’s customers has a throughput goal of sending 36 million messages in a couple of hours, which Zeta has been able to support. Another Zeta customer in the entertainment and news industry needs to be able to send around 300,000 messages per minute to generate a total of 1.5 million messages in 5 minutes whenever breaking news occurs. By migrating to DynamoDB and using the auto scaling functionality, Zeta can manage the daily variance in traffic that typically grows by around five times the volume throughout the workday. “In terms of technical optimizations, the features of Amazon DynamoDB really help a lot,” says Anubhav Sudha, group vice president of engineering at Zeta. “We have been able to hit throughput numbers of 300,000 messages a minute for one customer without impacting other customers.” In another use case, Zeta’s solution assesses visitor behavior on a customer’s website, tracking an estimated five billion website events per month. By analyzing these events and visitor behavior changes, Zeta’s customers can perform segmentation and better understand their target audiences in near real time.

Zeta’s proven ability to handle the scale of marketing campaigns has helped the company contract with large enterprise customers. “Using Amazon DynamoDB to power our data marketing solution has given us the confidence to be aggressive in the sales process to win certain deals,” says Goyal. Large customers expect cutting-edge technology, and Zeta feels confident pitching innovative solutions to meet the needs of these businesses.

By moving to fully managed DynamoDB, Zeta has also lowered the total cost of ownership. “The total cost of ownership is about 15–20 percent lower than what we might have been able to achieve with any other competing solution,” says Goyal. The solution scales as the traffic scales, and the company pays for only what it uses. Additionally, Zeta can benefit from the expertise of AWS support without needing to manage or maintain the infrastructure internally.

Over time, the company has grown significantly and anticipates further growth. In 2022, Zeta expects to have three times the amount of consumer channel engagement compared to 2021. “We started as a very small user of Amazon DynamoDB,” says Sudha. “As our company, traffic needs, and throughput requirements have changed, Amazon DynamoDB has been able to meet all our needs.” Because DynamoDB is a fully managed solution that is simple to set up, Zeta realizes time savings that help support company growth. For prospective customers or new use cases, the company can create proof of concept examples using the same infrastructure as its existing solutions, saving time and effort. “The time savings we’ve seen using Amazon DynamoDB have played an important role in being able to bring solutions to market quicker and serve the needs of our customers more proactively,” says Goyal.

Supporting Future Growth

Looking forward, Zeta plans to implement additional AWS features and services in anticipation of further growth. For example, the company is considering using the global tables feature in DynamoDB to automate data replication across regions while expanding into more data regions. As its volume increases, Zeta also expects to continuously innovate and adopt additional AWS services to meet the company’s desired scale.

Zeta is at the cutting edge of technology using AWS services, bringing innovative solutions to market and aggressively aiming to meet the needs of its customers. “Using Amazon DynamoDB, we have been able to support the growing needs of our customers and onboard a more sophisticated customer base with more stringent needs than we originally envisioned for our Zeta Marketing Platform,” says Goyal. “We have been able to scale our solution for the growing needs of our customers without needing to retrofit technology.”

1 The Forrester Wave: Email Marketing Service Providers, Forrester Research, Inc., Q1, 2022.

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Figure 1: Architectural diagram of how Zeta Global uses Amazon DynamoDB to manage their marketing campaigns.


About Zeta Global

Zeta Global offers the Zeta Marketing Platform, a cloud-based enterprise solution that empowers marketers to achieve better outcomes with their customers across omnichannel campaigns. The Zeta Marketing Platform provides customers with relevant proprietary data for digital marketing activation and measurement in one place.

Benefits of AWS

  • Won sales based on scalability that competitors couldn’t offer
  • Supports sending 1.5 million breaking news messages in 5 minutes
  • Supports tracking five billion user events on websites per month
  • Realized 15–20% lower cost of ownership compared to competing solutions
     

AWS Services Used

Amazon DynamoDB

Amazon DynamoDB is a key-value and document database that delivers single-digit millisecond performance at any scale.

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