In the first post of this three-part series, we discussed the meaning and value of cross-channel activation. Today, we will dive deeper into the technical integration between Adobe Campaign (AC) and Adobe Audience Manager (AAM) that supports cross-channel activation for marketers.
Read other posts from Multi-Solution Architect Blog Series.
Audience Manager (AAM), previously known as Demdex, is Adobe’s Data Management Platform (DMP). If you are new to the DMP world, I recommend watching this 2 minute video that summarizes what DMPs are. If you ask me, a DMP has three main components:
1. Data Collection: a consolidated platform that combines 1st, 2nd and 3rd party data together. The data hub that brings online and offline data under one roof.
2. Audience Aggregation & Segmentation: Segmentation is a key feature of DMPs where segments can be based on data attributes from various sources (online and offline).
3. Audience Activation: DMPs are integrated to numerous Adtech and Martech vendors where these audiences can be accessed. These integrations vary and range from browser/server side to real-time/batch process and allow marketers to target their audience segments on multiple fronts.
If you are interested in learning more about the ins and outs of AAM, check out the Adobe microsite. It is very comprehensive and is up to date with the latest product offerings.
Adobe Campaign (AC), previously known as Neolane, is a CRM and Email Automation tool. If you are new to marketing automation tools, I recommend watching this 3 minute video that summarizes the top use cases delivered by AC. If you ask me, Adobe Campaign has the following features:
1. People based Marketing: all records in Adobe campaign are identified via an email or physical address. It is possible to have a cookie associated with these records such as the Adobe Marketing Cloud ID but the main identifier ties to a physical person.
2. Workflows: Adobe campaign serves as an orchestration tool where you can setup workflows that can be triggered by online and offline activities. These workflows can result in triggering various campaigns such as email and direct mail.
3. Personalization: Adobe Campaign connects to various channels such as Email, Direct Mail and social and is able to personalize content on each of these channels. Through audience lists, AC chooses the level of personalization that will be delivered.
Now that we covered the 101 course in DMP and Email Automation, let’s discuss how these two tools integrate together. There are two ways to integrate AC and AAM in a bi-directional fashion allowing data flow back and forth between both systems. There is an on-going debate on whether one integration is better and yields a higher match. In my opinion, I recommend enabling both and will explain why later in the post.
The ID service integration is based on using the Adobe Marketing Cloud ID (MID) as the common key between both tools. The MID is a cookie set for a visitor when they visit the client digital property (website or mobile), of course as long as the Adobe Visitor API is enabled. So in this case as a visitor accesses the site, they are assigned an MID and this MID becomes the key of communication between Audience Manager and Campaign. Well sort of, the catch is that the visitor needs to land on the site via an email click through. To simplify how this works, let us walk through this process step by step as shown in the picture below.
1. For this integration to work, a visitor must open and click on an email that lands them on the client’s site. This email needs to be configured by Adobe Campaign with the right tracking and backend settings.
2. As the email content is clicked, the visitor goes through a redirect which ping Adobe’s ID Service and checks if this visitor has a MID set already. If the visitor has an existing MID then this MID is sent to Adobe Campaign and associated with the Recipient ID.
3. After the redirect takes place, the visitor lands on the client’s website which loads Adobe tags such as Analytics. This will collect all the analytical variables off the page and send them Adobe Analytics.
4. If Adobe Analytics is configured to be integrated with AAM server side, which you should definitely do, then this call is forwarded to AAM in real-time.
5. Now that both AAM and AC have the MID as a common key then both systems can share audience segments via an FTP. Unfortunately, real-time data transfer is not an option yet today.
The declared id integration removes the dependency of the email click and instead relies on a hashed id that is unique to the visitor. A commonly used unique id is a hashed version of an authenticated id that is unique to every visitor. Here is the step by step walk through the process:
1. As the visitor authenticates on the site, the hashed ID is sent to Adobe’s ID Service.
2. The hashed ID is then linked to the MID and sent to AC and AAM and stored in separate tables respectively. It is important that the hashed id is the recipient id in Adobe Campaign.
3. As the page loads for the visitor, the analytics tag collects data off the page and sends it to Adobe Analytics.
4. If Adobe Analytics and Audience Manager are integrated via server side then this data is forwarded to AAM in real-time on the backend.
5. Now that AAM and AC have the hashed ID and the MID as the common key then data can flow bi-directionally via an FTP.
The above 2 are the common ways to integrate Adobe Campaign and Adobe Audience Manager. There are provisioning steps and backend settings that needs to be enabled such as FTP setups, destinations and data sources in AAM. Those are usually handled by Adobe TechOps and Professional Services who have access to the backend settings.
The reason I recommend enabling both integrations is to increase the match rate between both tools. Solely depending on click through or website authentication will not cover all the available audience. Average email click through are rarely above 3 – 5% and website authentication varies from one business model to another. Leveraging both methods will yield higher match rate and better integration between these tools.