Expand my Community achievements bar.

Traits and Segments Best Practices




***Posted on behalf of Matt Vittorioso, Senior Marketing Specialist at Ally Financial*** 

Matt Vittorioso is a Senior Marketing Specialist on the Digital Marketing team at Ally Financial. He leads the digital segmentation team and is in charge of all the data that goes in and out of audience manager. Matt works closely with all internal stakeholders and external agency partners to ensure the proper segments are constructed for all of Ally’s campaigns.

Tip #1: Align necessary AAM stakeholders and communicate regularly on the data going into AAM for traits. 

Having open communication and an efficient process with the team that controls the data is one of the most important best practices around Traits and Segments (and AAM as a whole). The people that control the data and the AAM platform need to be in lock step. If you’re updating and putting new data into AAM on a regular basis, open communication is critical to setting yourself up for success.

For example, when I work on onboarding new offline data the CRM data analytics team and I determine together what data is uploaded into AAM and are in communication each time a new variable is uploaded to our file. It is critical that I am notified when a variable is being uploaded so I can go in to AAM to set up a corresponding trait. Our process ensures that new data is not put into AAM until a corresponding trait is set up. If the CRM analytics team pushes over a mass amount of data before traits are created, none of that data is syncing and stored into AAM correctly.


Tip #2: Utilize AAM out of the box functionality to upload traits based on your use case.

If you have a need to upload traits in bulk, use the Adobe BAAAM tool. For any large trait upload, this tool can be extremely helpful. If you are dealing with a handful traits, I upload traits manually through the user interface. For Ally, this is how it is done most of the time because we typically do not have a ton of traits going into AAM at once.


Tip #3: Identify the right stakeholders and implement a process for the creation of traits and segments.

Who decides what traits and segments are created for campaigns ultimately depends on your use case. For Ally, it is a mix of my team, Marketing, and the CRM data team. On the Marketing side, a request for data for a campaign can come from the deposit, mortgage or investment lines of business.

Once the request comes in, we assess the following:

  1. Can we target this group for a particular campaign?
  2. What does the population size look like on their end? This helps us form a baseline for how the numbers should align when they are uploaded into AAM.
  3. Does the data exist in AAM? If the data does not exist, connect with the CRM Analytics team and explore getting access to the data we need. If the data does exist, we will use existing traits to add to a segment or create a new segment with those traits


Tip #4: Data Maintenance - Regularly review your traits and segments.

This is a big one. We are continuously adding traits to segments depending on our use case. If traits aren't being used anymore for a specific segment, we are also continuously auditing segments for unused traits. This is something you should do regularly based on the cadence of your campaigns.

Example: Retargeting

We utilize the AAM media tagging pixel for some of our 3rd party marketing. The AAM pixel captures a specific ID that’s issued by our ad server. When the pixel fires with the ID, it populates into AAM. This allows us to connect the dots when a user sees “x” creative offsite and comes onsite to Ally.com without clicking the banner. This way we can still display a relevant message to them. We're constantly swapping creative assets because we're continuously changing the creative in market. Fairly often we go in and remove old traits from segments and add new traits to segments.

Whether it’s weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, be sure to review the data in your traits and segments. You aren’t making the most of your segments if you never make any changes as your targeting and creative evolve.