So Many Audiences Just Waiting to Be Discovered for Personalization
The term “personalization” implies that you know something about a given visitor or group of visitors that prompts you to serve them a different experience than you’d serve others. Today, you have almost limitless sources of data available to get to know your customers better. You also have solutions that can help you use that data to discover, create, and manage valuable audiences for personalization.
In Target, you can bring in data for creating audiences in a lot of different ways. But in our recent Personalization Thursday webinar, Discovering and Managing Audiences for Maturity, I discussed how you can also use customer data in other Adobe Experience Cloud solutions to help you discover valuable audiences for use in Adobe Target activities. I also provided guidance on which solution to use when, and examples of using a couple of those solutions.
In this post, I’d like to recap and flesh out those discussions. For those of you who attended or listened to the webinar recording, you also heard my colleague Nina Caruso deep dive into using Adobe Audience Manager for identifying important audiences — valuable information that probably warrants its own blog post. Audience Manager is the data management platform (DMP) of the Experience Cloud that lets you build audiences that can be used anywhere.
Which data source to invite to your data party
Many organizations find one of the biggest challenge to audience discovery and creation is figuring out which data, among the many available sources, to use. Should you select first, second, or third party data, or some combination of those sources? Let’s level set by defining these sources:
- First party data. Data you collect from any system, digital or otherwise, that you own — your personalization solution, customer relationship management system, email marketing system, and so on.
- Second party data. First party data you obtain from an organization willing to share it with you. For example, a major airline might share its data with an online travel company that aggregates flight, hotel, and car rental information.
- Third party data. Data you purchase from another company — for example, credit information from Experian, media consumption data from Nielson, consumer data from Acxiom, and personal consumer data from Intelius.
I always say keep it simple and start with what’s closest to home — your first party data. You or someone within your company knows it and controls its quality. Plus, it’s right there for the taking. Second party data is your next best source given that it’s just somebody else’s first party data. As you get more comfortable bringing in and using data to personalize, augment your first and second party data with third party data to develop a more complete customer view.
Once you’ve selected your data sources, it’s time to look at the tools that can help you find and manage the valuable audiences within that data.
Your options for discovering and managing audiences in Adobe Experience Cloud
Adobe Experience Cloud offers four solutions for audience discovery and management —Adobe Target, Adobe Analytics, Adobe Campaign, and Adobe Audience Manager. The People core service, formerly the Profiles and Audiences core service, supports audience creation and sharing in the Experience Cloud with a common ID, the Experience Cloud ID (ECID). This core service is a critical component because once you deploy it, you can identify a visitor across all your Experience Cloud solutions. The People core service also provides tools like Customer Attributes, the Audience Library, the Device Co-op and Device Graph.
If all these solutions let you work with audiences, why would you choose to work with audiences in one solution versus another?
Sometimes you’re just more comfortable working in or you’re only provisioned for a given solution. But assuming you have and are comfortable using any of these solutions, how do you choose then? There’s no right or wrong here, but these general rules of thumb can help.
Create and manage audiences in:
- Target when you need to decide who is within an audience at the time of the visit — for example to serve different offers or test experiences to visitors if they’re new versus returning, on mobile, or from a given geographic region. When you create an audience in Target, you’re probably either relying on a hunch or established knowledge that a given audience is valuable.
- Analytics when you want to create audiences to target based on their historical online behaviors — for example to create an audience of visitors who abandoned your site or searched for a specific product in the last few days. It’s also great for targeting audiences you’ve discovered using deep analytics segmentations, such as visitors who fell out of your purchase funnel at a specific step. Analytics data provides insights into distinct groups of visitors and helps you determine a group is valuable to your business.
- Adobe Campaign when you know customers on a one-to-one basis and want to target them based on what you know about an identified customer.
- Audience Manager to create an audience based on an action they just took. For example, they just added something to their cart or applied for a credit card. Because it is a data management platform (DMP), Audience Manager is the right choice if you want to augment your first party data with second and third party data and expand your reach with lookalike modeling. Because you can use it to syndicate and export your audiences for offsite use, it’s ideal for targeting or retargeting the same audience for a display ad and your website with a consistent message.
- People core service Audience Library to trigger audience creation based on web behavioral data in Adobe Analytics — just know that you can’t syndicate these audiences outside of Adobe Experience Cloud solutions.
The good news is that with the Experience Cloud integrations, when you create an audience and share it, it’s available for use in other Experience Cloud solutions. Doubly good news? In Target, you can use Boolean logic to combine multiple audiences, no matter which solution they originated from, to create “super audiences” and use them in a Target activity.
Let’s dig a little deeper into using specific solutions for creating audiences for your Target activities.
Run tests based on insights, not hunches — an Analytics use case
Running tests based on hunches doesn’t always pan out, and when it doesn’t, you waste resources and opportunities for conversions and revenue. If you have Adobe Analytics, Adobe Target, and the People core service, you can use insights in Analytics to identify valuable audiences based on their online behavior, share them to the Experience Cloud, and use them in Adobe Target activities. Now rather you’re targeting based on data rather than a hunch.
Personalize across channels — an Audience Manager use case
As a DMP, Adobe Audience Manager lets you stitch together data from your different channels to get a complete view of the visitor’s interactions with your brand. That centralized source of truth for audiences lets you optimize and personalize on each channel with the next best content, action, or offer. For example, on Adobe.com, Audience Manager helps us deliver different content to visitors based on what we know about them from previous visits and sources like in-product usage data. As a result, we show photographers the Creative Cloud homepage and digital marketers the Experience Cloud homepage. In-product usage data reveals if the customer is a novice or expert, which supports even deeper personalization on the website, mobile site, and in-product.
Go ahead, your valuable audiences are waiting to be discovered
I hope I’ve whetted your appetite for personalizing more deeply with Adobe Target by discovering and managing your valuable audiences with Experience Cloud solutions. If this type of content interests you, register for our Personalization Thursdays webinars, held the fourth Thursday of each month to discuss topics that Target users have told us they want to learn more about. And to keep the discussion going after the webinar concludes, visit the Adobe Target online community or any of the online communities for the Experience Cloud.