When it comes to building on the Eloqua platform, one question that comes up quite often is "what is the difference between a Cloud Connector and a Feeder?"
The answer to this question is, quite simply, a Program Builder Step.
Let me explain...
What most people refer to as a Cloud Connector, is an external application configured through the use of a Program Builder Step, that polls Eloqua for Contact records to do "something" with. These types of applications, through the use of existing contact records, query external systems for data such as webinar/event attendance and social media activity, or perform actions such as sending direct mail and SMS. Using the Eloqua API, this data is then added to contact records and custom data objects.
A Feeder is another type of Cloud Connector. Feeder applications are developed in the same way as a Cloud Connector "step" application, but they do not poll a Program Builder Step for Contacts. Feeders are configured externally by Eloqua users, and run on a scheduled, automated basis to "feed" data directly into Eloqua. These Connectors are used to query external systems for things such as prospects who attended a webinar, viewed an online presentation, or discussed a particular topic on a Social Media website. The Eloqua API is then used to push this data as leads into an existing contact group in Eloqua. This contact group can then be used within Eloqua to feed Program Builder programs.
Hopefully this answers the question above, and brings a little more clarity to the topic.
If you are planning on integrating with Eloqua, both types of Cloud Connectors offer many opportunities.