Monday, May 21, 2018

Adobe Audience Manager Campaign Template

The most common use case for any DMP is campaign activation, where the DMP acts as the intermediary layer between the client's website or CRM system and the Demand Side Platform to share audiences across. In such cases, it's imperative that we have a very well defined process and structure to get these campaigns launched. 

My colleague and I created a simple, yet detailed template/checklist for documenting everything from business requirements to all the nitty gritty details required for successfully launching a campaign using Adobe Audience Manager. Below is a screenshot of the template. Please click the image to get an enlarged view. Here's a link to the document for your reference.

The template is divided into three main categories and has a lot of different steps but I'm only going to cover the ones relevant for this post as the other ones are self-explanatory. Let's take a look at some of these categories in detail.

Business Requirements (5 Business Days)

This is the first and most important stage in the entire DMP->Campaign workflow. This involves everything from defining your goals to determining the granularity of your incoming media data. Let's dive into the details.

  • Key Business Objectives (KBOs): For any analysis project, product or campaign to be successful, business objectives or goals need to be defined before getting started. In case of campaigns, there are a lots of different factors involved such as strategy, budget, targeting platform and many others that are outside of the scope of this article. For a DMP, we'll stick to overall objectives and the marketing channels such as display, search, email, social, personalization etc) as well as others included in the template.
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Once we know the goals, we need to determine the KPIs that'll be used to measure success such as Clicks, Impressions, Click Through Rate (CTR) and other website/app success metrics. These KPIs are instrumental and should tie back to the goals.
  • Target Audience: We need to determine what kind of audience will be targeted for the campaign. It can be anyone between the ages of 18-35, male or female, tech professionals, government officials, income > 100K per annum, location etc. Again, it all has to tie back to back to the overall business objectives.
  • Duration and Dates: Some businesses are seasonal and others are not but there's never a bad time to bring in new customers. It's very important to know when the campaign will run and for how long as timing is everything. Knowing how long the campaign will run can help us estimate how much traffic we'll drive as well as gauge the critical mass to determine success.
  • Identify Destinations: This involves documenting which Demand side platforms will be used to run the campaign. Some examples of DSPs are Adobe Ad Cloud, DoubleClick Bid Manager etc. which already have a server to server (S2S) integration with Audience Manager. There are other platforms which may not have a S2S integration so we need to know what those are so in advance that we can determine the best approach to send data to them. Outside of S2S destinations, we can share AAM data via data exports, cookies and pixels.
  • Data to be Shared with DSPs: We need to identify what kind of data (1st or 3rd party) has to be shared with the DSP. For prospecting campaigns, a very common use case is to purchase 3rd party data from the Adobe Marketplace which is a platform that allows marketers to purchase new audiences from data providers such as Acxiom and Dun & Bradstreet. In other cases, a marketer may want to retarget their existing customers who exited the site before submitting a lead.
  • Data to be Brought into AAM: Every DSPs captures media data at a click and impression level at the very least so we need to determine how will that data be brought into AAM. Data can be brought into AAM either via pixels or by ingesting Ad Server logs. Recent changes around GDPR readiness will impact log ingestion for global companies with European customers so it's important to gauge your ingestion approach beforehand.
  • Define and Receive Media Taxonomy: Finally for the requirements phase, we need to define and lock down our general taxonomy to structure the data in AAM. The campaign owner needs to send over the campaign ID, site, placement etc. matrix. This involves determining the granularity of data required to bring into the DMP. As an example, if you only care about measuring data up to the site level, it may not make sense to capture data at a placement level as it'll be too granular and will result in wasted effort.

Setup and Launch (6-7 Business Days)

This stage involves the operational and technical setup within AAM to prepare for the campaign. This also involves communicating with the campaign owner to receive the campaign taxonomy matrix that contains campaign ID, site, placement etc. information that is used to build traits and segments in AAM. Let's take a deeper look.
  • Send AAM pixel documentation (If applicable): Based on the campaign matrix received from the campaign owner, the AAM consultant creates a pixel documentation and tailors it to match the taxonomy requirements. This involves defining both click and impression level pixels that will be setup in the DSP. Please note that this is not a required step if you're already ingesting Ad Server log files but will be required if you're planning to deploy media pixels.
  • Trait and Segment creation: This step involves creating AAM traits to capture track audiences (1st or 3rd party) for activation in the DSP as well as traits to capture media performance. Activation specific traits are tied directly to the target audience defined in the business requirements state and media performance traits are either tied directly to media pixels or conversion activity on the site. It's a good idea to create both kinds of traits. Once the traits are created, map them to segments as that is how data is shared with external partners. Please note that both traits and segments take about 24-48 hours to initially start populating data and are then populated daily so timing is everything.
  • Pixel validation and sign-off: The campaign owner sets up the pixels in the DSP and shares the pixels with Adobe for validation. The AAM consultant validates the pixels, monitors data in the traits and provides their feedback or sign-off.
  • Map Segments to Destination(s): Once the traits have been setup and validated, we map the segments over to the DSPs and destinations which will be used to run the campaign. It's critical to map the segments at least 3-5 days before campaign launch so that we have enough time to validate data flow and fix any issues with the integration.
  • Campaign Launch!


Once the campaign has launched, we need to start our post-launch activities which revolve primarily around reporting. Let's take a look into what some of these steps entail.

  • Monitor data: This step involves monitoring media traits and segments right after launch to make sure we're capturing data as expected. The other reason why monitoring reports is important because AAM samples certain reports such as the Overlap report that requires a minimum threshold to populate so it's important to assess it early on. 
  • Audience and Overlap report analysis: The last step is to analyze campaign performance in the Audience Optimization and Overlap reports. The Audience Reports are helpful in gauging overall segment performance, volume, trends and optimal frequency. The overlap reports help in identifying high overlap (less reach) and less overlap (high reach) which can be helpful in both prospecting and finding our commonalties. Finally, it's important that you leverage other reports in the DSP and your Analytics tool along with AAM to get the complete picture.

This is a good starting template for documenting and tracking all campaigns being activated from AAM. It will continue to evolve and get better as we start using it for more campaigns and as we get feedback from clients. Currently, this template is in excel format and needs to be created separately for each campaign but at some point we'll probably move it to SharePoint or some other online tracking platform. Feel free to contact me if you need a copy of this template. Out of curiosity, how are you tracking campaigns for your business?

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