Braze vs. Iterable: Deciding Between Two Customer Engagement Platform Leaders

As marketing teams seek more modern marketing technology solutions, they often look for platforms that offer advanced data ingestion and activation capabilities, vast integrations, and a diverse array of messaging channels. These features are critical to the success of modern marketing, impacting the ability to collaborate across teams, deliver exceptional and personalized customer experiences, and have conversations in real time with customers.

Look at any marketing forum (G2, TrustRadius, EmailGeeks, etc.), and Braze and Iterable will often be at the top of the lists when it comes to modern customer engagement platforms that customers love. 

These two platforms are highly comparable and seem to offer similar features and capabilities to their customers, which can make the decision to choose between one or the other daunting.

However, once you delve deeper into each platform, you will find some key differences that set the two apart —differences that may help you decide which platform is right for you.

Below, we’ll compare the two across several key categories that marketing teams are often evaluating these platforms against when choosing to invest in a new tool. 

Braze vs Iterable - Ease of implementation

First, it’s worth noting that implementation of either platform will be most successful when marketing collaborates with their engineering, data, and IT teams to help drive adoption and ensure they’re getting access to the data and resources they need. 

When it comes to which platform is easier to implement, there is no real answer.

Iterable takes the implementation experience seriously, and is incredibly proactive about exploring implementation and migration packages early on — meaning there is no surprise cost at the end. They often offer internal professional services to help support migrations and will share configuration work with new customers to get them up and running on the platform.

Similarly, Braze offers several onboarding packages to clients that vary in scope and support. In addition, Braze has a strong network of Solutions Partners through their Braze Alloys program. These partners, like Stitch, can help take on all of the hands-on configuration involved in migration and implementation — and can also work alongside the Braze onboarding team to give new customers the best of both worlds. 

While both offer great experiences and support to go through the implementation process, there is no clear winner in this category. It ultimately depends on what is best for your business. It’s worth noting that internal professional services organizations often offer more turnkey approaches to implementations — meaning that understanding of unique use cases and the ability to go outside of the platform at hand may be limited. This is the benefit of involving a solutions partner who can help take a holistic approach to implementation and set your team up for success.

Braze vs Iterable -  Personalization capabilities

In terms of segmentation capabilities, Braze and Iterable are fairly comparable despite using different verbiage. Iterable uses a segmentation builder that's similar to Braze’s segment feature. With Iterable, you can create lists through the segmentation builder using events, profile properties, and engagement data. With Braze, you can create a segment based on a specific app or platform. From there, filters pare down audiences based on behaviors, attributes, events, demographic information, and more.

Personalization is also powered differently on each platform, as Braze uses the Liquid template language while Iterable leverages Handlebars. Handlebars is typically a more basic logic using conditional statements. Liquid, based on Shopify's templating language, is much more powerful — allowing marketers to leverage things like loops and assignments.

Braze vs Iterable - Integrations

Braze has more integrations available as a whole, offering pre-built integrations with 140+ technology partners through its Braze Alloys program, which its 100+ solutions partners can help with. 

As of June 2024, Iterable has 100 technology partners and only 51 solutions partners to aid with implementation, migration, and integration. 

Both Iterable and Braze integrate well with popular martech platforms like Salesforce.

Braze integrates well with its customers’ martech stacks; the long-term goal is to allow Braze’s cross-channel features to help marketers retire some of their martech platforms and reduce their tech debt. Braze can handle all email, mobile, SMS, web, and in-app campaigns within the platform, allowing it to take over several disparate campaign management systems.

While both platforms also offer integration via SDK (software development kit), Iterable does not require the implementation of its SDK — which can hinder functionality for more large-scale, highly personalized mobile campaigns. 

While both offer flexible integrations, Braze wins this category due to a higher volume of integration partners and because of its SDK requirement.

Braze vs Iterable - Messaging channels

Braze wins when it comes to cross-channel capabilities. Its options span across email, SMS, mobile push, web push, in-app messages, in-browser messages, Content Cards, and webhooks.

Content Cards are a particularly helpful feature that's available solely in Braze, allowing marketers to embed highly targeted content recommendations, personalized content, and custom offers without interrupting the customer experience, either in-app or on the company's website.

Braze also includes more messaging channels, like WhatsApp (popular internationally), and capabilities for Android-optimized push notifications, which Iterable lacks. This gives marketers a repertoire of new channels to work with, without any additional tech needed.

Iterable’s primary focus on email campaigns and ease of use for marketers comparatively limits its ability to optimize highly sophisticated cross-channel campaigns. Its email capabilities are notably vast, including a feature that connects templates with different types of everyday transactional and marketing messages, which isn't available with Braze. However, Iterable's mobile capabilities are less extensive, as its lack of an SDK limits the functionality of these channels.

Braze vs Iterable - Campaign orchestration

The workflow features (Iterable's Journey Flows and Braze's Canvas Flows) are also fairly comparable across platforms. Both allow marketers to build workflows that include touchpoints from multiple channels, time-based delays, optimized channel reachouts based on engagement data, and connections between one workflow and the next.

Differences in the workflow features include:

  •  Iterable enables marketers to download an image of a Journey Flow for easy presentation and sharing, which Braze does not include.
  •  Braze’s Canvas Flows have a straightforward user interface (UI) that makes it easy for marketers to visualize and reference workflow steps.
  •  Thin strings connect steps all over the canvas within Iterable’s Journey Flows, sometimes making steps visually far apart and harder to follow from one to the next.
  •  Comment capabilities are available within each tool, but Iterable’s comment features are more flexible — allowing users to add notes to the full flow and within specific steps, with the ability to either hide or show them.

Braze vs Iterable - Data storage, sharing, and availability

Cloud data ingestion (CDI) is a marketer’s recipe for immediate and expansive data availability. Braze uses CDI while Iterable does not, allowing Braze users to access real-time updates on consumer behaviors and actions that Iterable users won’t see right away.

Also, Braze offers out-of-the-box integrations with several powerful data-sharing platforms. Iterable offers data sharing only with Snowflake, with all other data partners requiring custom integrations to move data to and from Iterable.

Overall, Braze’s flexible model enables teams to connect and sync both structured and unstructured data from any source. Braze offers various application programming interfaces (APIs), client libraries, and partner connectors to make it easy to leverage real-time data with minimal configuration. Braze's Cloud Data Ingestion and Currents are turnkey integrations that unite marketers and engineers while offering faster time to insight.

On the other hand, Iterable only exports to a data warehouse, meaning complex data parsing and processing will take more time and resources. Iterable’s System Webhooks require engineers to build their own endpoints and can increase the risk of data loss.

Understanding Braze data points

A sticking point of the Braze data conversation is the platform's data point structure. Essentially, some data, like user IDs and aliases, subscriptions, devices, and more, is automatically collected within the platform. Meanwhile, whether the system collects other types of data is up to you. With this structure, Braze is able to more easily avoid issues like stagnant user data or duplicate contacts, which Iterable does not avoid as easily.

One key (and often misunderstood) fact about the system is that data points are consumed only when profile data is updated or when you perform a specific action (e.g., when a custom attribute or event is updated). Meanwhile, message personalization via connected content or Liquid logic does not consume data points.

Instead of using data points, Iterable uses a contact-based structure, with individual contacts identified by email address. This can cause issues when you're trying to target a user ID, since the user's data may not be kept in a singular profile if the contact has used multiple email addresses.

Braze vs Iterable - Scalability and constraints

Overall, Braze is a more powerful platform that can handle higher data-processing volumes. Braze processes billions of individual paths within Canvas Flows each day, sends 1.5 trillion messages per year, and processes more than 9 trillion consumer-generated data points. By contrast, Iterable's Journeys can fail if they contain too many filters, use contact lists that are too large, or run into other size or complexity constraints.

On a similar note, Braze has better throttling capabilities to avoid being flagged for sending too many messages too quickly, which would negatively impact message deliverability. In Canvas Flows, Braze can limit both how many contacts enter into a Flow at once and how many are sent messages within that Flow at once to avoid long-term deliverability issues. Comparatively, Iterable can throttle messages only at the send stage, leading to potential problems for large-scale campaigns.

With this in mind, marketers looking to use a customer engagement platform to power large-scale, highly sophisticated campaigns may find more success with Braze. 

Braze vs Iterable - Custom analytics and reporting

Iterable includes drag-and-drop widgets so you can create a customizable analytics dashboard based on your specific use case. Braze does not offer the same amount of customizability with its analytics dashboards, but it does offer the following:

  • Customizable Performance Dashboards for each channel
  • Conversion Dashboard for analyzing conversions across campaigns
  • Deliverability Center Dashboard with Gmail and Yahoo integrations

Braze also bakes real-time data directly into Canvas Flows to inform your next steps. As discussed, Iterable’s data processing runs on a delay.

One thing of note — many enterprises use a separate business intelligence (BI) tool, with around 54% of enterprises stating that cloud business intelligence tools are critical to their current and future initiatives as of 2023. So although analytics and reporting are important, integrations with powerful BI tools may hold more weight than native reporting capabilities when you're considering a CEP purchase.

Braze vs Iterable - Support and community

In general, both Braze and Iterable are committed to providing a positive customer experience and ample support. With Braze, you’ll have access to a dedicated solutions partner, Braze's support and success teams, learning courses, self-help resources, system documentation, and the Braze Bonfire Community. With Iterable, you’ll also have access to an implementation and success partner, self-help resources, the Iterable Academy, and more.

When you run into a problem, Iterable offers live chat support to help you in real-time. If you need assistance that the chatbot can't provide, then you can create a virtual support ticket over email with the chatbot’s help. With Braze, you must submit a ticket and can communicate only via email, which may make the process longer.

Conclusion: Which one should you use?

New tech investments can be costly. Choosing the right product — one that helps you discover new efficiencies, reach your business goals, and generate a positive ROI — will play a huge role in your short- and long-term success.

When weighing Iterable vs. Braze, choosing the solution that’s best for you depends on what you plan to use it for — now and later. Consider your current tech stack, how you’d like to optimize your current campaigns, and what your future dream campaign scenario looks like — then ask experts at both companies how you can bring those plans to life using their platforms.

If you have any questions about Braze's functionality, reach out to Stitch. We’re solutions partners who can help make your dream campaigns a reality using Braze.

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