Adobe Experience Cloud: Don’t miss out on these 5 features

Published on October 31, 2017 - by jerry helou under analytics

Last year at The Adobe Summit, Adobe announced a whole new suite of clouds. At one point, I felt I was at The Weather Channel Convention but fortunately everyone in the room knew that this was about digital marketing and not global warming. The infamous “Marketing Cloud” got a rebrand and now is part of a larger cloud called “Experience Cloud”.

The Experience Cloud is the mother of all with three sub-clouds:

  • Marketing Cloud:
    • Adobe Campaign
    • Adobe Experience Manager
    • Adobe Target
    • Adobe Social
    • Adobe Primetime
  • Analytics Cloud:
    • Adobe Analytics
    • Adobe Audience Manager
  • Advertising Cloud:
    • AMO DSP
    • AMO Search
    • AMO DCO

adobe experience cloud

End of the day, this was a rebranding effort and had no impact on how these products integrated or operated. It just made it easier to comprehend the use cases that they can drive. That being said, the amazing features that we preached about in the Marketing Cloud prior to Summit 2017 are the same ones that continue to exist within the Experience Cloud. In this post, I will go over my top 5 features that I recommend to all my clients.

Just to be clear, you do not need to have every tool in the Adobe Stack to benefit from these 5 features. For every feature below, I will highlight the tools that it impacts within the stack so you assess how crucial this is in your current setup. Let’s get started:

#1: Marketing Cloud Visitor ID Service

What it is: The Marketing Cloud Visitor ID service, also known as Visitor API, provides a universal Visitor ID for Adobe’s Marketing Cloud solutions. In many cases it is crucial for some products to integrate and for core services to function properly. The Visitor API is JavaScript code that executes on a webpage or mobile app and creates a parameter, not a cookie, called MID which is the universal ID recognized across the Adobe solutions.

What it impacts: The Visitor ID Service impacts Adobe Analytics, Audience Manager, Target, Campaign and AMO (DSP, Search and DCO).

Value: The value in Universal ID is that it enables Analytics for Target (A4T), server side integrations between the tools and video heartbeats. Another valuable impact is that it assigns first party cookies for browsers that do not support 3rd party cookies such as Safari.

What it is not: As much as people would like to believe that the Visitor ID Service solves the cross-device issue and allows them to stitch visitors across different browsers, it is not. It only benefits the Adobe tools to work properly together.

#2: Server Side Integrations

What it is: When it comes to server side integrations, there are few that Adobe offers across its solutions and are not necessarily out of box functionalities but instead require provisioning and code updates. The main ones that you should consider are:

  • Analytics to Audience Manager server side forwarding
  • Audience Manager to Analytics server side integration
  • Audience Manager to Target server side integration

What it impacts: Server Side Integrations impact Adobe Analytics, Audience Manager and Target.

Value: Let’s zoom in on the main server side integrations mentioned above:

  • Analytics to Audience Manager: There are two flavors of this, 1) server side forwarding of all the analytical data points collected on a website or a mobile app and 2) segment sharing from Analytics to AAM. In the first scenario, the value is in page performance and code deployment. Server side forwarding means less pixels on the website leading to better page performance. In the second scenario, Analytics fills in the gap that AAM has when it comes to segment granularity. Segments in AAM are only on the visitor level which is a limitation. On the other hand, Analytics can create segments on the visitor, visit and hit level and this can be very useful for Marketers.
  • Audience Manager to Analytics: Segment sharing from AAM to Analytics has been recently released and it is very promising. The main value is that you can analyze all types of AAM segments including CRM and 3rd party segments in an Analytics platform. These segments can be incorporated in Workspace Analysis, Segment Comparison and Customer Journey Workflow.
  • Audience Manager to Target: Adobe Target is a rule based decision engine allowing marketers to create personalized experiences on their website and mobile app. This integration will allow Target to access all 1st and 3rd party segments created in AAM in real-time. Think of all the connected and consistent experiences you can create off and onsite for your consumers.

What it is not: These integrations are not all in real time. It is important to understand the SLA for this data to be sent from one tool to another and how this might affect your business case. For instance, the segment sharing from Analytics to AAM is a server to server batch process. It can take from 36 to 72 hours for these segments to be realized across all the AAM edges.

#3: DTM or Adobe Launch

What it is: Dynamic Tag Manager, soon to be rebranded as Adobe Launch, is Adobe’s Tag Manager.

What it impacts: Through DTM you can enable Tags for Visitor API, Adobe Analytics, Adobe Target, Adobe Media Optimizer and AEM ContextHub.

Value: It is free of charge for Adobe clients and is built for Adobe products. From my experience, it is the best Tag Manager for Adobe tools. It also supports other tools such as Nielsen and Google as well as 3rd party marketing tags. Adobe Launch, in beta now and slated to be released in the next few months, has a great list of new features such as extensions, open API and workflows.

What it is not: It is not a data layer or data aggregator. End of the day it is a Tag Manager or what some of my clients call it: pretty javascript container.

#4: Device Co-op

What it is: Adobe Device Co-op is a device graph based on participating customers sharing their device link information with Adobe. The Co-op processes the data to form device clusters. These clusters represent a group of devices used by an unknown person. It is free to join and access the identity graph which is only accessible to Adobe clients.

What it impacts: It impacts Adobe Analytics, Target, Audience Manger and Media Optimizer.

Value: Today there are many identity and device graphs out there and Adobe’s is not any different except that it is large and deterministic. The main value is in cross-device stitching that allows the following: better understanding of customer behavior, content personalization, ad spend control and cross device retargeting.

What it is not: The Co-op doesn’t give participants access to all the data in the device graph. The Co-op is designed to protect the big brands from giving in too much data and allowing other smaller brands to take advantage of it. It is setup to make sure you get out of it what you put into it.

#5: Analytics for Target (A4T)

What it is: It always surprised me to hear clients’ interpretations of A4T. A4T is not a targeting tool, instead it is the reporting mechanisms for A/B testing and personalization campaigns triggered via Adobe Target. Prior to A4T, Analytics and Target had separate reporting for onsite campaigns which was troublesome since the numbers never matched. A4T solved this issue by unifying the reporting into a single platform which is Analytics.

What it impacts: A4T impacts Target directly but also depends on Analytics.

Value: Analytics for Target has one goal: consistent and reliable reporting for Target campaigns. In addition to that and since reporting is in Analytics, analysts have access to all analytics metrics that are available in the tool and not necessarily Adobe Target specific.

What it is not: It is not perfect and it might cause an inflation in visit numbers. The product teams at Adobe tackled these issues and resolved most of them with Visitor API upgrades, version 2.0+, but nevertheless you might run into the orphan hits phenomena based on the site performance and connection speeds.

The Experience Cloud has a long list of features that goes beyond what we discussed in this post. The five discussed above are my personal favorites and should be no brainer, otherwise you are missing out.

Jerry Helou, Ph.D.

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Jerry Helou, Ph.D.

Jerry Helou leads the Digital Experience Architecture practice at Softcrylic. He helps our clients accomplish advanced digital experiences and strategic business goals by implementing and leveraging multi-solution architecture.

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