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Blueprint for Audience Activation in Adobe Experience Platform




Authors: Kevin Cobourn, Nick Hecht, Kyle Morehouse, and Jody Arthur

In the last post, Adobe Experience Platform introduces Digital Experience Blueprints — a whole new way to learn and understand how you can use its technology to build incredible customer experiences. In this post, we introduce our first Blueprint, Audience Activation.

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Audience-first activation is the key to success in a data-driven marketing world. However, many brands are still focusing their efforts on channel-first activation, which often delivers inconsistent reach and personalization. With a channel-first approach, each channel acts as a silo in which personalization efforts target only the customers interacting with the brand on that channel. The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t reflect the reality that customers interact with brands across many different touchpoints. Channel-first activation cannot connect customers’ behavior through their interactions across multiple channels resulting in lost opportunities for stronger engagement and the revenues it generates.

One example of a common use case

Let’s say our customer, Sarah, visits a retailer and purchases a sports helmet that makes her eligible for a cross-sell offer. But with channel-first activation, signals from all the different online touchpoints that Sarah has in the next 24 hours, such as targeted ads and sponsored content, would not be aware of her original purchase because the channels are not connected. Each channel only knows what is happening locally instead of knowing what Sarah is doing across all possible interactions. The result is a disconnected customer journey in which the brand is unable to deliver the right experience to Sarah at the time when her engagement and the likelihood of upselling are the highest.

Example of a disconnected customer journey common with a channel-first approachExample of a disconnected customer journey common with a channel-first approach

Successful intent-based marketing strategies require a shift from channel-first activation to audience-first activation. Audience activation allows brands to connect customer interactions across multiple channels to deliver a centralized audience that can be activated to all channels. In a connected customer journey, the moment Sarah purchases her helmet in the store, downstream systems are altered in real-time to show her related products that complement the purchase she just made.

How audience-first activation provides a more personalized customer experienceHow audience-first activation provides a more personalized customer experience

Brands that want to harness audience-first activation need a single system to manage behavioral and personal data with scale, speed, and precision. Adobe Experience Platform Real-time CDP provides this. With its ability to combine pseudonymous behavioral data, which is critical for determining what message to deliver next, and personal data, which is key to understanding who the customer is, Real-time Customer Profile provides audience activation in milliseconds.

Building on our earlier example, with audience activation using Real-time Customer Profile, when Sarah buys her helmet, that purchase information is available immediately, triggering a lookup within Sarah’s customer profile indicating that she now qualifies for the segment defined as customers who have purchased that particular helmet. In this case, Sarah is now qualified to receive an accessory offer that complements the product she purchased. At the same time, Sarah is disqualified from the segment that would have served her ads for the helmet she just purchased. With audience-first activation, this updated profile can be delivered to any one of a number of destination channels for activation when Sarah next interacts with the brand.

Implementation Prerequisites for Implementing the Audience Activation Blueprint

In order for the solution provided in the Blueprint for Audience Activation to function properly, you will need to have the following prerequisites in place:

Identity Prerequisites

Technology Implementation Prerequisites

Destination Settings

  • Each destination will have specific configuration settings that must be addressed prior to ingesting the audience export from Adobe Experience Platform. These settings can be found in the documentation for each destination.


  • North America, EMEA, APAC, and Americas
  • Only available on Production sandbox

The architecture of Audience Activation

Now, with Adobe’s new Blueprint for Audience Activation, brands can easily implement audience-first activation with Adobe Experience Platform Real-time CDP. The figure below illustrates the architecture built for audience-first activation using Real-time CDP and Adobe Destinations.

With this solution, Adobe Experience Platform Real-time Customer Profile segment exports and streaming segmentation events are leveraged by the platform’s Real-time CDP for sending audiences to different destinations.

Architecture for building an Audience Activation implementation using Adobe Experience Platform’s Real-time Customer Data Platform and Adobe DestinationsArchitecture for building an Audience Activation implementation using Adobe Experience Platform’s Real-time Customer Data Platform and Adobe Destinations

Audience Activation Blueprint supports both batch and streaming segmentation, allowing you to activate both scheduled campaigns and real-time streaming campaigns. The delivery cadence is based on the data acceptance of the configured destination whether streaming server to server or batch delivery.

Batch segments share results with a once-per-day latency while streaming segmentation is available within minutes and is captured as events on Adobe Experience Platform Pipeline. Latency is not an issue with the Audience Activation Blueprint. The timing associated with streaming segmentation capabilities of Adobe Experience Platform to provide activation to a third party aligns very well with most use cases. Data is coming in, it is being evaluated, the customer becomes a member of a segment, and the system is able to notify the destination channel of segment membership in a streaming fashion.

For destinations that support streaming segmentation, the segment membership events are pulled from Adobe Experience Platform Pipeline and sent at the cadence supported by the destination. For destinations that only support batch segmentation, the segment membership is pulled from the segment export dataset at the defined schedule. The segment job runs at a pre-defined time for the IMS org, then the destination schedule initiates a segment export job. Once the segment export job is completed, Adobe Real-time CDP delivers the segment memberships.

Guardrails that come with the Audience Activation Blueprint

You can find the current guardrails for the Real-time Customer Profile here:

Order of Operations/Implementation Diagram

Order of Operations/Implementation Diagram for the Audience Activation BlueprintOrder of Operations/Implementation Diagram for the Audience Activation Blueprint

Operational Activity Required to Implement a Blueprint

Adobe offers solutions for the activation of audiences for various scales depending on the overall requirement. Although the actual sizing of the requirement is captured after a detailed workshop with the customer team, broadly the scale of implementation is categorized in the streams below:

  • Adobe Analytics Data Source (Connector): The assumption is that Adobe Analytics is required for Audience Activation. Additionally, the customer must select one IMS Org ID.
  • Other data sources: Work may be required to model into Adobe Experience Platform XDM.
  • Data Science Workspace Modeling (Optional): Build a new model or onboard your own data science model.
  • Segments: Segment sharing would be once in a day configuring of audiences through Real-time Customer Profile Segment Builder.
  • Destinations: Configure Real-time Customer Data Platform Destinations.

More Blueprints coming soon

Adobe Experience Platform is actively building a library of new Digital Experience Blueprints to provide brands the ability to quickly build out many different types of implementations to deliver better customer experiences. In the coming months, you can expect to find new Blueprints for Web Personalization, Multi-Channel Orchestration, Digital Behavioral Data Consolidation, and Call Center Deflection, to name a few.

Follow the Adobe Experience Platform Community Blog for more developer stories and resources, and check out Adobe Developers on Twitter for the latest news and developer products. Sign up here for future Adobe Experience Platform Meetups.

Technical References

  1. Previous Blog — Introducing Adobe Experience Platform’s New Digital Experience Blueprints
  2. Overview — Adobe Experience Platform
  3. Overview — Adobe Experience Cloud
  4. Overview — Adobe Real-time Customer Data Platform Overview
  5. Documentation — Getting started with Adobe Real-time Customer Data Platform
  6. Documentation — Understanding Adobe Real-time Customer Data Platform
  7. Documentation — Evaluate events in near real-time with streaming segmentation
  8. Overview — Adobe Experience Platform Real-time Customer Profile
  9. Overview — Adobe Experience Platform Identity Service
  10. Overview — Adobe Experience Platform Identity Service ECID
  11. Overview — Adobe Destinations Overview
  12. Documentation — Adobe Destinations Catalog
  13. Community with Q&A — Experience League

Related Technical Blogs

Thanks to Kevin Cobourn.

Originally published: Nov 12, 2020