Adobe Target: Optimization for the Experience Business

Marketing Cloud

We want to give you a preview of something that you’ll be hearing about a lot at Summit next week—Adobe Target’s new Experience Optimization Framework. We also want to take this opportunity to describe an important new governance feature that simplifies the way the experience business works. Why now? Rising customer expectations, technology re-platforming projects on shiny new architectures, increasing IT restrictions and growing use of artificial intelligence (AI). Sound familiar?

Welcome to the modern web. In this era, customer experience rules supreme, and every part of the business must be in lock step with that goal. More than ever, businesses for which digital is a key piece of their strategy—in other words, all businesses—need to take well-honed data-driven practices beyond marketing and embrace experience optimization in all aspects of their CX strategy.

Experience Optimization is all about the marriage of CX strategy and personalization with a purpose; it’s a practice that allows you to easily and rigorously experiment with and personalize exceptional customer experiences across expansive web sites and mobile apps—or for that matter, all your brand’s digital and customer touchpoints. Those experiences must meet and exceed a customer need and do it in a way that makes each customer feel uniquely valued, and helps the business achieve a desired outcome (think stellar conversion rate, NPS, record sales… you get the picture). All this requires much more than a basic A/B testing tool or hard-coded targeting rules that simply help you deliver a pleasant-looking web page.

How Adobe is empowering experience business practitioners:
Several years ago, we set out to democratize optimization and personalization across organizations. We knew that your marketers increasingly wanted a direct hand in driving revenue from the company’s digital and customer touchpoints. They didn’t want to have to rely on your IT teams and developers to try out their ideas. We also understood that by giving more people a hand in optimization, your company could scale its efforts and multiply its success.

As we built out Adobe Target, we knew that good governance would allow your users to focus on the projects that were important to them and give them the appropriate permission levels with those projects. We also provided much-needed guide rails through our user interface and its workflows to promote adherence to optimization best practices.

New digital touchpoints rapidly emerged, expanding opportunities for optimization to mobile apps, kiosks, set top boxes and more. Today, we see more opportunities for optimization—for example giving your call center workers optimized scripts while on calls, providing more meaningful responses to your customers from AI-driven voice assistants like Alexa, and delivering customer insights on tablets, so your salespeople can provide personalized in-store assistance. In anticipation of these opportunities, we built our Experience Optimization Framework. This framework now extends the reach of Adobe Target, enabling you to optimize for three main areas—Web, Apps and Connected Experience. It also leverages a common user interface, set of workflows, architecture, and governance.

Just as the web doesn’t stop changing and innovating, neither do we. We want to share some valuable new governance features that overlay all three areas of the framework. We also want to introduce you to a totally new Enterprise Optimization Framework for Web. Finally, we’ll point out a way to use the framework for Connected Experience that’s perfect for when you need—or just want—ultimate control of Target.

Governance that fits your business, not the other way around.
We believe that technology shouldn’t dictate how you do business—that only creates unintuitive workarounds that make more work. Instead, we want to give you control and flexibility in how you apply user roles and permissions so that our governance molds to how you did business, not the other way around.

Adobe Target administrators can now create “properties” based on how you organize your business or optimization projects, and assign users access to those properties and appropriate permissions within them. For example, a multi-national auto manufacturer with a dozen automotive brands that cater to different personas doesn’t want all users from business units personalizing experiences across the company. Instead, they could assign properties by business unit and allow appropriate users to personalize associated web, app, and even in-car experiences from one shared user interface.

With the new governance capabilities in Adobe Target Premium, you can now assign a user to one or more of these properties based on the work they do, and then assign them specific roles and permissions within each property.

New Experience Optimization Framework for Modern Websites
For years, we’ve offered and meticulously updated our established implementation framework for web and mobile sites. About a year ago, we realized that to fully address the web of today, the modern web, we needed a fresh start. So, as we maintained the old single-line-of-code framework, we began creating its replacement in parallel. We are now excited to offer you the Experience Optimization Framework for Web, AT.js, an implementation framework that’s state-of-the-art today, and future-proofed for emerging trends. This isn’t just a theoretical framework—many Adobe Target customers have started to use it.

Here’s a quick glimpse of why we’re getting so many “likes” for this framework:

  • Takes advantage of the asynchronous content delivery offered by single page application (SPA) websites by offering extensions for popular SPA frameworks like Angular and React. This means better customer experiences with responsive delivery, and high fives for your IT department who gets to offer high performance sites using fewer resources.
  • Enjoys backing from a dedicated, growing SPA developer community because our extensions support the work of your developers. We developed this from the ground up for SPAs. Your developers understand what true support means.
  • Provides a validation layer in the communication between receiving an experience from Target and delivering the experience to your site—essentially a space station airlock in which you can validate data, insert security code, or take other measures. More high fives for your IT team. Now they have more control over changes made to sites through optimization and an additional layer of security to help them sleep more easily at night.
  • Eliminates delays in display caused by document.write(), making Google’s announcement that they’d block document.write() on slower 2G mobile traffic a non-issue for you. We suspect that in the future, Google may place this block on other mobile traffic speeds, and that other browsers currently taking a “wait and see” approach may adopt this change.

So, what does this all this mean for your experience business?

“Marriott adopted AT.js as part of an overall reimagining of our web technology strategy. Its modern architecture is noticeable faster with today’s web browsers,” explains Marriott’s director of digital experiments Lee Carson. “We have strong reason to believe that the page speed gains alone have led to millions in revenue. Along with the Adobe APIs, AT.js will be critical to rolling-out omnichannel experimentation and personalization across not only our natively digital channels, but call centers and front-desks.”

Experience Optimization Framework for Connected Experiences
If you’re like most of our customers, you believe that our Adobe Target APIs are designed to extend the Experience Optimization Framework to IoT devices. That’s absolutely spot on. Target can truly be used everywhere, from ATMs, to in-store kiosks, set top boxes, gaming consoles, smart displays, and even call centers. But these APIs have another critical use—allowing you to implement Target directly on your web servers if you need or want more control over Target, and have the technical chops to do so. In other words, you can deploy Adobe Target on your website server side.

We’re seeing a trend in the number of you who are interested in server-side implementations of software as a service. If you’re among these customers, you have strong technical abilities and are willing to trade off the use of the Visual Experience Composer for creating compelling experiences for more control. Some of you need this control as a result of company policy or industry regulations. Others of you simply want the ability to embed Target directly into the DNA of your website to collect additional data and conduct more complex tests. Still others of you may have concerns over privacy, performance, or both associated with JavaScript-based implementations.

Regardless of your reason for wanting a server-side implementation, you expect the same performance, governance, and enterprise scale offered by a client-side implementation. With the Experience Optimization Framework, server-side deployment of Adobe Target offers exactly that.

Resting on our laurels—not an option.
We understand that for you to succeed as an experience business, we can’t view our job as done—ever. We must constantly evolve Adobe Target to stay out in front of changes in the customer experience, the web, and technological innovation. We think these latest developments and ways of using Adobe Target speak to that.

So, what’s next? Just wait and see. In the meantime, we’ll keep scanning the horizon for the first sighting of something new that impacts your work and your world and help you get ready for it.

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