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Audience Design Framework (ADF)





Authors: Aditya Desai, Karthikeyan Tamilmani, Katelyn Chee, Vidya Bansal, Liliia Nielsen



Audience Design Framework (ADF) is an innovative approach to designing and discovering audiences by mapping interactions of a target audience across multiple channels, identifying fallout moments and micro-conversion points for effective activation and targeting. It will help marketers to understand, analyze, and develop audiences based off every aspect of the user journey and conversion funnel. The Audience Design Framework provides a comprehensive view of customer interactions, enabling marketers to design meaningful audiences and tailor experiences that resonate.


ADF Explained 

Within the Adobe Experience Platform (AEP), there is a need for a more structured approach to identify, build, and engage high-value and actionable audiences. The current segmentation and activation approach is too narrow and often concentrates on a use case specific single customer touchpoint for achieving final conversion, overlooking the importance of addressing all potential fallout or mini-conversion touchpoints throughout the end-to-end omnichannel journey and conversion funnel for achieving the desired business objective.  

By visualizing user actions and key moments of omni-channel engagement i.e., potential fallout or mini-conversion touchpoints, marketers can discover new audiences and analyzing the size of these audiences can gain insights into user behavior, preferences, and pain points. Addressing user needs and expectations at each touchpoint not only enhances customer experience but also fosters a deeper connection with the brand moving users closer to final conversion, fostering long-term loyalty. Consequently, marketing efforts are optimized as marketers can now target the right audiences with omnichannel and personalized campaigns across all funnel stages starting from awareness to consideration to conversion to retention. This ultimately leads to better results, including higher conversion rates, improved customer retention, and greater return on investment.


ADF Key Components 

A use case typically involves defining a business or marketing objective, identifying KPI(s), developing marketing strategy and specifying the targeted audience. The Audience Design Framework (ADF) enhances this process by:  


  • Replacing the targeted audience with a detailed marketing persona - Marketers often create marketing personas which are detailed fictional representations of ideal customers within the target audience. These marketing personas include demographics (e.g., Age, gender, income, education, and occupation), psychographics (e.g., Interests, values, lifestyle, and personality traits), behavior (e.g., Shopping habits, brand loyalty, and product usage) attributes to better capture the nuances and characteristics of the audience. 
  • Extending the use case definition by introducing  
  • Audience Map: which refines the marketing persona by visualizing the target audience's journey through various interactions. It identifies key fallout and micro-conversion touchpoints across channels and different funnel stages. It highlights the essential data signals needed to refine the target audience, and ultimately uncovers high-value and actionable audiences (See Figure 4). 
  • Activation Plan: which outlines specific tactics and channels to effectively reach and engage the identified audience. It includes activation recommendations tailored to high-value audience segments and their respective funnel stages, ensuring alignment with the marketing budget allocation across various channels (See Figure 5). 


Figure 1 


ADF Steps 

  1. Define Use Case 

Begin by clearly outlining the use case that drives your audience journey starting from the initial interaction to final conversion. Whether it’s improving product discovery, increasing customers acquisition, re-engaging users with relevant offers, cross-selling or upselling, clearly state the specific objectives you aim to achieve.  

  1. Set Objectives / KPI(s) 

Identify clear and measurable objectives that align with broader business strategies. Define specific outcomes you aim to accomplish through the use case and link these objectives to key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be used to measure progress and success.  

  1. Define Target Audience 

Initiate the target audience definition by identifying key characteristics, demographics, and behaviors that align with the use case. Identify key data sources such as CRM systems, websites, and mobile apps, etc., from which data will be ingested into the Adobe Experience Platform and will be used to create audiences. Next, determine attributes needed to create the target audience which may vary based on the specific use case. Examples include membership or loyalty information, purchasing behavior, browsing activity, engagement history, among others.  

  1. Create Audience Map 

Map out the key interaction points to delineate the pathway users take through the first interaction and other touchpoints in response to marketing. Begin by identifying the various actions users may take, such as landing on the campaign landing pages, browsing product offerings, engaging with customer service representatives via call centers on online chats, and making a purchase or completing a desired action. Outline each touchpoint along the user journey, detailing the interactions and outlining potential audiences and requirements for building the audience for each touchpoint. 

  1. Analyze Audiences 

Utilize advanced analytics platforms such as Adobe Analytics or Customer Journey Analytics to follow users’ journeys and analyze their omni-channel behavior. Identify most valuable touchpoints and fallouts using key metrics such as page views, click-through rates, bounce rates, and conversion rates to uncover valuable insights into user behavior and pinpoint areas for optimization. 

  1. Define Activation Plan 

Once the audience map is ready, develop a comprehensive activation plan that outlines specific tactics and channels to effectively engage and convert the identified audiences. Consider various activation strategies such as personalized email campaigns, targeted social media ads, SMS notifications, onsite promotions, and more, depending on the audience segments and their preferred channels. Define the messaging, timing, frequency, and sequencing of activations to ensure a cohesive and impactful customer experience. Align the activation plan with the defined objectives and KPIs to measure the effectiveness of each activation tactic and optimize for continuous improvement. 


Sample Use Case Scenario 

Let's illustrate how the Audience Design Framework (ADF) can be utilized to identify high-value audiences for action using the common use case of reducing the cart abandonment rate. 


Target Audience (Without ADF) – Visitors who have added items to their cart but have not completed the purchase 


Figure 2 




 Target Audience (With ADF) – Young Professionals (Ages 25-35), Budget Conscious Shoppers, etc. 


Figure 3 




Audience Map: By applying ADF, marketers can map out the entire customer journey, from the initial product discovery to the final checkout process. This involves identifying key interactions and touchpoints which may cause customers to drop off and not make final purchase. The framework helps in analyzing the data signals at each stage to pinpoint where and why drop-offs occur.  


Figure 4 



 Activation Plan for Cart Abandonment Use Case:  


Figure 5 




 How is Audience Design Framework (ADF) different from AJO? 

 The Audience Design Framework (ADF) and Adobe Journey Optimizer (AJO) serve distinct yet complementary roles in a marketing strategy. While ADF focuses on the strategic identification and segmentation of high-value audiences, AJO ensures the effective execution of personalized engagements with these audiences. Together, they provide a holistic approach to audience management and engagement. By leveraging the strengths of both ADF and AJO, businesses can create highly personalized and targeted marketing strategies that enhance customer experiences, improve conversion rates, and increase return on investment. 


  • Audience Design Framework (ADF): Helps clients visualize and understand the journey of the initial base audience, creating refined audience segments based on detailed interaction analysis 
  • Adobe Journey Optimizer: Utilizes these audiences and segment definitions to deliver timely, personalized messages, optimizing the customer journey and driving better results. It can manage the timing, frequency, wait periods, and delivery of messages, optimizing the frequency of communication. 

Key Considerations 

Implementing the Audience Design Framework (ADF) requires careful consideration of several key factors to ensure its effectiveness and maximize its impact. 

  • Alignment with Business Objectives: Ensure that the ADF is aligned with overarching business objectives and strategic initiatives. This alignment ensures that the framework directly contributes to achieving organizational goals and driving meaningful outcomes. 
  • Data Availability and Quality: Assess the availability and quality of data required for accurate audience segmentation within the ADF. Collaborate with data architects and stakeholders to ensure that the necessary data sources are accessible, reliable, and suitable for segmentation purposes 
  • Collaboration Across Teams: Foster collaboration between marketing teams, data teams, IT teams, and other relevant stakeholders. Effective collaboration ensures a seamless implementation of the ADF and facilitates the integration of data-driven insights into marketing strategies. 
  • Continuous Iteration and Optimization: Emphasize the importance of continuous iteration and optimization within the ADF framework. Regularly review and refine audience segments, activation strategies, and measurement approaches based on performance data and feedback. This iterative process leads to enhanced customer experiences and improved outcomes over time. 

Tools and Resources 

When implementing the Audience Journey Framework, leveraging the right tools and resources can greatly enhance the process and the outcomes. We recommend using the following tools:  

  • Miro board for mapping out the touchpoints and visualizing users’ journey. 
  • Customer Journey Analytics or Adobe Analytics to analyze key touchpoints and fallouts. 


In conclusion, the Audience Design Framework (ADF) represents a powerful tool for businesses looking to connect with their audience on a deeper level. The framework offers marketers a strategic approach to understanding, analyzing, and optimizing customer interactions throughout the journey across all journey stages. By aligning with business objectives, leveraging data insights, fostering a culture of continuous iteration and optimization, marketers can effectively implement the framework to drive meaningful outcomes. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, embracing the Audience Design Framework (ADF) will be essential for marketers to stay competitive, drive engagement, and foster long-term relationships with their customers.