Transfusing Your Adobe Target Personalization with Its Lifeblood — Data
Having the right data in Adobe Target gives you the detailed visitor context that is critical for driving the right personalized experiences. For example, if you are a bank and data reveals that a customer is researching mortgage refinancing, you could insert a refinancing offer for a shorter-term mortgage. Or if you’re a B2B company, information about each visitor’s company opens the door for personalizing with the company name, relevant images, and more.
Data is the lifeblood of personalization, and with Adobe Target you can bring in and use data from almost any source. But data should be a two-way street, so you can also get data out of Adobe Target for use in tools for heat mapping, analytics, and reporting dashboards. In addition, you can ensure that the content and offers you create in content management, email, or other systems update in Adobe Target activities when you make changes to them in those systems (and vice versa).
In this post, I’ll discuss some of the data sources you can use to personalize more deeply in Adobe Target, how to bring in data from those sources, push Target data out to other tools, and ensure that content in your Adobe Target activities created in other tools update in Target when they get modified, and vice versa. Ultimately, I want you to understand how easy it is with Adobe Target to receive and send data.
Bringing data into Adobe Target
Let’s say you’re an airline and I’m your customer. Through my interactions with you, you know that my home airport is San Francisco (SFO), I’m a Gold-level member of your loyalty program, and I’ve accumulated 35,000 frequent flyer miles. All of this data resides in a system like your CRM, but until it gets into Target, you can’t use it to personalize my experiences. In fact, you probably have many other data sources you could be using to personalize. Here are just a few, and a brief explanation of how to bring their data into Target:
First-party data (from systems like your CRM, loyalty program, and call center)
This is the type of data I was describing in the example above. You could use it to target deals for flights from SFO to people with over 30,000 miles who are Ggold- level members. You can bring this first- party data into Target in two ways — using Adobe Audience Manager or Customer Attributes.
Adobe Audience Manager is the data management platform (DMP) of Adobe Experience Cloud. It’s where you can keep all of your data about your customers, whether from a CRM or some other system. In my example, you could simply import the data from your CRM system and your loyalty program system into Audience Manager, set Target as a destination within Audience Manager, and now any audience segments you create in Audience Manager using that imported data can be used in a Target activity.
Customer Attributes is a data onboarding tool offered as a core service of Adobe Experience Cloud. As that airline, every night your CRM collects data about your visitors — home airport, most common destinations, frequent flyer miles, and so on. Customer Attributes lets you upload that data into Target as an eExcel spreadsheet, a database file, a table, or a CSV file, each of which has a row for each customer. You can then use that data in Adobe Target for testing and personalizing based on those attributes.
Third-party audience information (from companies like BlueKai, Nielsen, and Acxiom)
Third-party data that you purchase can let you focus on many different aspects of your visitors. For example, use Acxiom data to target people based on average household income by zip code, or use BlueKai to target audiences planning a summer vacation. Like first-party data, you can use it in Target via Adobe Audience Manager or Customer Attributes. But you can also do so by sending it to the Target server via “in-page attributes.”
In-page attributes are attributes about the customer, like loyalty program status or number of visits to a website, that your website or mobile site passes into the Adobe Target server for storing with the customer profile — as your page is loading. This is real-time data being fed into Target.
Account-based data is typically more specific to B2B companies, so I’ll switch to a technology company example. As a technology company, you want to know what companies customers who download one of your whitepapers come from. A third-party service can look up a visitor’s IP address, tie it to a company, and then associate company details like industry, annual revenue, and number of employees — all valuable data for personalization. To get this data into Target, you can use in-page attributes or Adobe Exchange’s pre-built extensions.
With in-page attributes, for example, you could see that the visitor is from Adobe, and that Adobe generates $7.3 billion a year in revenue and has 17,000 employees. You could also use an Adobe Exchange pre-built extension to extend the functionality of Adobe Target to bring in additional data about accounts based on their IP address.
Scoring models from your data science team
In this next example, let’s say you’re a large national retailer with your own data science team that builds prediction models — perhaps a model that segments visitors based on their churn score. If you can bring the churn score segments defined by those models into Target, you could then deliver different experiences to visitors and audiences based on that score. To bring in data from scoring models, you’d once again use Customer Attributes.
Okay, so now you know the different methods of bringing data into Adobe Target. How can you share out Target data to other tools and systems?
Getting data out of Adobe Target
Let’s say you’ve run your A/B/C/D test in Adobe Target, and now you want to use the test results data from Target in another tool like a third-party analytics tool, a heat mapping or other customer experience tool like Clicktale, or a reporting dashboard like Domo or Tableau. You may need that data to show change logs required for an audit or to meet regulatory compliance. Adobe Target response tokens and application program interfaces (APIs) let you do that.
For third-party analytics and customer experience tools, use response tokens that show what Adobe Target did or showed a particular user by outputting Adobe Target-specific information like campaign details, user profile information, and geo information. A response token simply lets you choose the data you want to output, and outputs it as part of a response to a third-party system like a a third-party analytics or heat mapping tool. For example, a response token can show that a major hotel chain showed a visitor a specific banner or offer for Hawaii.
APIs also let you output data from Adobe Target to third-party tools. An API is simply a set of instructions that automates a process you might otherwise do manually. For example, an API could pull data from all the Target activities you ran in the last 24 hours, send it to a reporting tool, and use it to build an executive-level dashboard. Similarly, you can use an API to pull data to build a change log to meet audit and compliance demands. For example, if you’re a major financial institution that needs to show all the people who made changes to an offer or ran an activity, you can use Change Log APIs to capture that information from Target.
Just as you can easily feed data into Adobe Target, you can just as easily pull it out of Target for use in external systems.
Getting content and offers connected to Adobe Target
You know about getting data into and out of Adobe Target, but what about the content you use in Target that comes from or is shared with other systems? How do you make sure that changes made to content in Target update in that other system and vice versa? For example, you may wish to synch the offers or content that you create in a content or offer management system or even an email, and have it update in Target when someone modifies it.
In this case, you need to a workflow for exchanging content from external tools with Target and the other way around. A content or offer API can let you synch content or offers in Adobe Target from your offer management system or content management system like Adobe Experience Manager. To automatically update email content upon email open or build, you can use a rawbox or server-side delivery API.
Ready to start using that data and synching that content?
Now you know how to bring data in and out of Target and synch content between Target and other systems. Start considering how you can enrich your Target audiences with data from all types of sources, share your Target data back out to enrich other tools, and connect the content between Target and other systems so you’re always showing or using the latest, greatest content or offer. It turns out that with Adobe Target, delivering deeper and richer personalized experiences is not so complicated after all.