One question that we hear from time to time is “why do I have so many places to create segments?” Or, its variation “why can’t I have a single place to manage all my segments?” These are uncomfortable questions, which require some detailed explanation. I am also aware that not all our customers accept the answer. In this post, I will go through the features of the various segments engines and why it makes sense that they differ.
Let me start with a clarification. I use the words segment and audience as virtual synonyms. A quick Internet search shows that they are not and each page will give a different explanation of the difference. In my mind, a segment is a definition in technical terms to select a group of individuals and an audience is that group of individuals. By this is my personal point of view.
A historical perspective
The first and simplest answer to the questions in the first paragraph is: for historical reasons. As Adobe started to create the Adobe Marketing Experience Cloud, it purchased various companies. Each had its own set of products, developed in isolation from each other:
The acquisition of Omniture brought SiteCatalyst, now Adobe Analytics.
Omniture also brought with it Test & Target, as it had purchased Touch Clarity. This is what we now know as Adobe Target.
Demdex was a DMP, now known as Adobe Audience Manager. It had good integrations with Adobe Analytics and Adobe Target, but, initially, they were client-side integrations, without all the features that we are used to today.
Neolane’s marketing automation tool (Adobe Campaign Classic), in its workflows, has segmentation capabilities.
While not an ideal answer, this is how it happened. In theory, one could think that a central segmentation engine could be possible. However, knowing how these tools have been developed, it would be a very complex task.
This history brings along a second answer to the original question. These tools can be purchased in isolation. Although more and more customers tend to buy the full stack, there are many more that only buy some of the tools or only one. Therefore, you will want each tool to have its own segmentation engine, so that it can be used without the need for other tools.