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How Drift Improved Their Cogs by $2.4 Million

Learn why their chief architect said CloudZero is "the most valuable tool in my day-to-day work."

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The Leading Conversational Marketing Platform

You may know Drift for their popular chat bot, but they also have a growing platform of other marketing tools, like video, email, and AI-powered automation.

Drift's Challenge

Support Rapid Customer Growth While Maintaining Margins

The growing company needed a way to develop new features and promote increased customer utilization, all while maintaining healthy product margins.

They needed to understand their COGS, but struggled to put costs into context.


Meet Freedom Dumlao and the 'COGS Hunters'

A cross-functional team designed to better understand and reduce AWS spend.

Freedom Dumlao, Drift's chief architect, and four other Drift employees formed the "COGS Hunters" — a team with a mission to improve Drift's margins.


Step 1 

Improve AWS Tagging With Machine Learning

As is the case with most fast-moving companies, Drift's tagging was inconsistent. This was preventing them from getting the visibility they needed. With CloudZero's machine learning, they improved tagging from 40% to 80%.





Step 2

Map Costs To Specific Products and Features

Once tags had been improved, CloudZero automatically mapped costs to resources, features, and products. This included splitting up shared resources, like shared databases.
Here's the result. We've censored the names of their features and products to maintain their privacy.
Drift Product Mapping_1200

With CloudZero, we can see what we're spending per individual feature and product easier than within the AWS billing console. We were trying to get this information with raw tags in AWS, but it was never accurate.

Freedom Dumlao | Chief Architect, Drift

Step 3

Empower Engineering Teams With Cost Alerts

CloudZero automatically sends weekly and monthly updates, plus cost anomaly alerts to Slack channels for each feature team. There's no configuration required for alerting.

CloudZero’s alerts have been fantastic. They show when something important has changed and tell me where to look to understand what happened. We’re able to be much more responsive.

Freedom Dumlao | Chief Architect, Drift

Step 4

Provide View of Product Feature Cogs To Corresponding Dev Teams and Product Owners

CloudZero enabled Drift's engineering and product teams to own the cost of the products they're responsible for. They know exactly what the services they use cost, what their margins are, and get alerted on their own anomalous spend.

By shifting aligning cost with products and features, Drift was able to see their costs in a new light and shift responsibility for cost to their engineering teams.
They've achieved ...

$200,000 Monthly Savings

The team at Drift was able to quickly identify expensive technical debt and prioritize areas for reduction. They are currently on track to save nearly $3 million in cloud costs.

Reduced the Cost of Top Product Feature by 80%

CloudZero helped Drift quickly discover the feature that provides custom messages to site visitors was hurting their margins the most, especially as customer utilization trended up. Plus, they were including it in their free tier.

Created Trustworthy Relationship With Finance

Before CloudZero, Freedom said they had to sometimes have tough conversations about why the bill was higher than expected. Today, they can stay on top of their costs and set expectations early, so finance can prepare. They also are able to have more strategic conversations in terms of margins and COGS, rather than just whether the bill is up or down.

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Gained the Ability to Make Strategic Product and Packaging Decisions

Understanding their COGS gave Drift the ability to make better product strategy decisions. Rather than choose between discouraging utilization or charging for it, they reduced the cost of that feature by 80% — so they can now keep this highly differentiated feature in their free tier.

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Reallocated Engineering Time From Cost Management To Building Products

CloudZero significantly decreased the amount of manual effort required to manage and report on costs. Instead of pulling together inexact metrics in Excel or dashboards, CloudZero has a continuous view and deep understanding of their COGS.

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Moving Forward 


As Drift continues to grow and scale, they are using CloudZero, both to reduce existing spend and enable their engineering teams to proactively build cost-effective software.

Our job as an engineering team is to make our customers more successful. What CloudZero helps us to do is figure out how we can continue to encourage our customers to use more of our expensive features, while we make those features more affordable to operate.

Freedom Dumlao | Chief Architect, Drift

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