Cross-channel Activation with Adobe Campaign and Audience Manager – Part 3

Published on August 8, 2017 - by jerry helou under analytics

Welcome to third and the final piece to the puzzle that I hope will answer your questions on how integrating Adobe Campaign (AC) and Adobe Audience Manager (AAM) can benefit cross-channel activation. In the part 1 and 2 of this series, we discussed the value of cross-channel activation and the technical details of integrating AC and AAM via the Adobe Experience Cloud. In this post, we will discuss the limitations of this integration and how to work around them.


Integrating these two tools requires considerable planning, resources and budget. It is important for you to understand the value, the limitations and setting the right expectations within your organization so all stakeholders are on the same page.

Authentication and Match Rates

In the previous post we looked at how AC and AAM are integrated to enable a bi-directional data flow. This data flow is dependent on a common key identifier between both tools. The common key is either Adobe Marketing Cloud ID (MID) or a hashed version of an authenticated ID, also known as a Recipient ID. Whether we leverage the ID Service or the Declared ID Integration, the key is the authenticated customer. The identifier of the authenticated customer, whether it is the email address or the authenticated hashed id on a browser, is the connection between these two tools. End of the day, cross-channel activation is a vehicle of people-based marketing and your business need to have a way to differentiate people from browser cookies.

This brings us to the first limitation of this integration, the need for an authenticated business model. What do we do if our business services people but does not require authentication? Does this mean that AC and AAM can only operate in silos?
Well, of course not. If there is a will, then there is a way and in this case, there are at last three different ways to address this.

1. Email Openers

If you remember in post two, we discussed that the ID service integration is based on click through. We know by now that click through is tough and cannot be relied on to match ids between AC and AAM. Our recommendation is to shift the dependency to email openers (view through) rather than email clickers (click through). End of the day there is a higher chance of someone opening an email than opening and clicking through it. This requires deploying an ID Sync which will fire on every email open and will capture the hashed version of recipient ID, authenticated id, customer id or any id that is recognized in both systems except for any personal identifiers such email address or first/last name. There are two ways this pixel can fire:

a. Pixel fires to Adobe Campaign and then redirects to Adobe Audience Manager
b. Pixel fires separately to each of the tools

Either method will work as long as the email is opened in a browser based email client that supports images as the pixel will be a 1×1 image cal.

2. Match Providers

In special cases where authentication is not an option, leveraging match providers is the best way to connect your offline data to online profiles. In this case, we are assuming that the offline data is associated with your customers which means that we have access to personal identifier information (PII) such as email address, first/last name, address and more. This data lives in Adobe Campaign and is identified via email address and can be on-boarded to a match provider such as Liveramp or Neustar, that matches this data to an online cookie (AAM cookie), strips the PII and uploads to AAM.

3. Device/Identity Graph

Chances are that someone in your organization has been toying with this idea: “Leverage a device graph to reach our customers on devices that exist within their household but not necessarily to engage with our business.” Well, now you have an excellent use case to apply this. Device graphs will give you access to identify the devices and profiles that are tied to your customers without authentication, email opens or site visits. In this case, the device graph is not only connecting your offline records to their respective online devices but also allowing you to get access to additional devices on the household level.

Single Data Repository

When thinking about cross channel activation, we envision that we will be operating from a single data repository that is enabling multiple channels. This is true to a certain extent but not exactly feasible and for a simple reason. PII cannot be mixed with 3rd party data. Every profile in Adobe Campaign is identified by an email address while every profile in Audience Manager is identified by a cookie (3rd party cookie). In addition, Audience Manager has access to 3rd party attributes that have been anonymized and cannot be retraced to a physical person. That being said, it is illegal and against IAB regulations to have an environment that hosts 3rd party attributes that can be linked to a physical identifier such as email address. These two have to always exist, but in separate entities.

Centralized Reporting

Integrating AAM and AC does not readily provide a centralized reporting capability for the cross-channel interactions. Unfortunately, there are too many reasons as to why this is difficult. Mainly because Adobe Campaign reports on email interactions (open, click) while Audience Manager reports on audience reach and frequency. Neither of the two systems can support a report on all the cross-channel interactions that customers experience throughout a campaign. The good news is that Softcrylic can help in building a custom data aggregator and custom reports to help resolve this issue. As a fact, we already have a product that does exactly that: TapestryKPI


Timing is everything and critical when it comes to executing a cross-channel campaign and orchestration. It is important to be aware of the timing limitations for data transfers between AAM and AC.

• When profiles are pushed from Adobe Campaign to Audience Manager: In this case, Adobe Campaign can export data as often as hourly but the limitation is on AAM to ingest this data. AAM ingests on-boarded data twice a day but this data can take up to 36 hours before it is refreshed on all the edges. This means that it could take 36-48 hours for this data to be actionable.
• When profiles are pushed from Audience Manager to Campaign: In this case, Audience Manager can export data twice a day while Adobe Campaign can ingest it as often as needed (usually twice a day). This means that it could take anywhere from 12 – 24 hours for this data to be available in Adobe Campaign.

There is tremendous value in cross-channel activation and in how this can be achieved by integrating Adobe Audience Manager and Adobe Campaign. This integration is not possible with the flip of a switch considering the complexity of the customer and anonymous profiles. There are important steps to be taken to ensure that you are benefiting the most and there always creative ways to deal with the technology limitations.

Jerry Helou, Ph.D.

Linkedin Icon

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.

Start typing and press Enter to search