In the age of online streaming, Subscriber Retention Management (SRM™) is big business—and it’s powered by big data. We talked to Mateusz Tymek, CTO and Co-Founder at Cleeng, to learn how it fuels cutting-edge insights for the media and entertainment sector with Snowflake’s Data Cloud.
In the modern entertainment business, where subscription streaming is king, subscriber churn is one of the biggest challenges, so knowing what impacts customer behavior is a key factor in success.
Since 2018, Cleeng has provided vital Subscriber Retention Management (SRM™) insights to OTT and subscription service providers around the world to help them achieve their retention goals.
The company combines a SaaS-based subscriber management system with cutting-edge analytics, delivering insight into user behaviors, industry benchmarks, and market disruption, alongside customer churn. These insights enable providers like CBC and Sinclair Broadcast Group to expand into new geographies, provide personalized offers, implement paywalls, and keep customers for the long haul.
“At some point in time, everyone will leave a subscription service,” said Mateusz Tymek, CTO and Co-Founder at Cleeng. “If you can figure out exactly when and why they leave, you have a much better chance of minimizing how often it happens, and even winning them back.”
At the heart of this work is data—and huge amounts of it. Cleeng uses the Snowflake Data Cloud to aggregate tens of millions of payment, subscription, and customer behavior data points and provides real-time information to its clients.
Improving operations and disrupting the market
For the last five years, Cleeng has been steadily upscaling its capabilities so it can continue to provide insights that make a difference. In 2018 it launched ChurnIQ, a program for exploring descriptive analytics for key churn factors.
In 2022, the company implemented a data lake infrastructure on Snowflake, which has been instrumental in modeling subscriber retention and allowing Cleeng to provide details of at-risk subscribers before churn takes place.
“Before Snowflake, we tried lots of different data platforms and approaches,” said Mateusz. “We always found we either lacked the right tools, or it was too difficult to scale, or required too much manual augmentation. We needed a platform that was powerful, straightforward, easy to maintain, predictable, and near-infinitely scalable—and Snowflake ticked all the boxes”
This flexibility and scalability have been crucial for Cleeng as it expands its capabilities and explores a larger client base. Today, Cleeng has six terabytes of data, but it estimates that this number could easily double or triple within the year. The ability to stretch to meet these needs, with predictable performance and pricing, is a huge benefit—and one that came with zero complications.
In fact, simplicity has been a keyword for Cleeng and Snowflake since day one. “The whole migration process was surprisingly seamless,” said Mateusz. “From the initial investigations and analyzing competitors to transferring our data, it took us about six weeks. And with support from Snowflake, we were able to handle pretty much all of that in-house.”
A new approach to customer data management with Snowflake
Today, Cleeng incorporates Snowflake’s platform as part of its data ecosystem, using the data ingestion capabilities in the Data Build Tool (DBT) to combine, format, structure, test, and clean data from various sources.
The data is then consumed by Looker which translates it into intuitive visualizations and allows analytics to take place within Snowflake itself. In some instances, data stored in Snowflake is then sent to other operational and financial platforms to further refine insight.
The end result is a detailed view of every stage of the user journey, enabling Cleeng to provide truly granular, actionable insights to its clients.
“There’s so much more we can solve using this data pipeline approach with Snowflake,” said Mateusz. “When we demo the richness of our retention dashboard, prospects are truly amazed by the quality of insights we can provide.”
Faster time to insight for clients of all sizes
With the Snowflake Data Cloud, Cleeng has found it can be faster and more agile in the way it operates, presenting findings to clients more quickly to give them a direct advantage in the market.
“Our analytics are now served 70-80% faster,” said Mateusz. “And thanks to the flexibility of Snowflake, no matter what size company we work with—whether they have 5,000 or two million customers—they can access their data in a matter of seconds.”
These insights are all up-to-the-minute accurate, too, with data being refreshed almost in real-time, as opposed to every six hours as it was a year ago. The outcome? On-demand churn predictions with an accuracy of up to 92%, which has a profound impact on customer retention.
“Obviously, offering this sort of service is more resource heavy than the way we were working before,” said Mateusz. “But with Snowflake, it’s been so easy to implement and maintain, and we’re always confident we have the capabilities required to meet our clients’ needs.”
Flexibility and simplicity combine
Using Snowflake, Cleeng has been able to simplify its data engineering stack and reduce the time its two engineers spend on administration and maintenance by roughly 20%—all while optimizing cost and performance with a streamlined warehouse configuration.
“The cost of people is a big component in a SaaS company like ours,” said Mateusz. “But without having to dedicate people to fighting fires, we can work in smaller teams, and be more efficient, engaging, and focused on our clients.”
And, because Snowflake is the de facto standard in the data market, Cleeng knows that any software and features it wants to add to its stack to improve its services going forward will be compatible.
All of this not only provides benefits to Cleeng’s end clients, but also its internal talent: “With other tools, engineers can spend a lot of time trying to keep the lights on,” said Mateusz. “When people see that Snowflake takes that burden away and allows them to do the work that really adds value, it makes a huge difference. That will ultimately have a positive impact on everything from the insights we provide to our clients to employee satisfaction and recruitment.”