Sunday, October 14, 2018

Adobe Audience Manager Email Pixel ID Sync

I wrote about email marketing back in 2009, and it's still very relevant and effective in 2018. According to this recent (2016) article, "users of email marketing systems are achieving $38 in ROI for every $1 spent". Almost all my clients do some kind of email marketing to send email newsletters to either existing or potential customers. Some of these clients leverage a Data Management Platform to connect data from multiple sources and email is one of the most common choices. I also wrote about email marketing back in 2009 and in 2018, it's still as relevant as back then.

From an Audience Manager perspective, a very useful data point for clients is to capture custom email attributes upon impression or click and user IDs to sync them with AAM for cross device targeting. This post covers the various steps to capture email data in AAM.

  • Configure the Email Pixel: The general format of the email pixel is very similar to display banner pixels with some minor differences. Below is a screenshot of an email pixel as well as a walkthrough of the various parameters.

    • Subdomain: This is the Audience Manager subdomain. In my example, it's "ags542" as per the screenshot. 
    • d_event: This is the event type which can either be 'imp' (impression) or 'click'  depending on where you want to capture this event.
    • d_cid: This parameter allows us to sync a user ID with AAM.
    • DataSourceID: This is the data source ID created for this data point. It's '133374' in my case and I've covered this in detail below. 
    • HashedEmailID: It's 'ABC789' as per the example but it can be any numeric or alphanumeric ID for ID syncing purposes.
    • c_emailopen and c_campaignname: You can pass any customer specific parameters (c_) which in my case are outlined in the screenshot. Note that we will need to create rule based traits to capture these parameters.

  • Create Data Source and Profile Merge Rule to Capture IDs: Given that we will be syncing user data with AAM, we need to create a cross device data source as shown below.

We will also need to create a profile merge rule mapped to this data source which we will need to leverage for activation.

  • Create Rule Based Traits: The next step is to create rule based tied to custom attributes that you want to capture for the email pixel. In my case, they are c_emailopen and c_campaignname. Below is what one of these customer specific traits look like.

  • Deploy the Pixel in the Email Marketing Software: As explained above, once you've completed the prerequisites of setting up the data source and the necessary traits, you can go ahead and setup the pixels in your EMS. Please make sure that there are no extra spaces and the pixel should look very similar to this example where you need to include the additional "%01" and "%011" characters to follow the ID sync conventions. 

  • Monitor Audience Traits: This process is often not known to everyone but there is an easy way to test if user IDs synced as part of the email pixel, made it into AAM. This can be done by going to the Audience Traits folder and clicking into the ID sync trait created for email as shown below.

  • Create Rule Based Traits for the Landing Page: Given that we're only capturing the email open impression and not click, the recommended approach is to create a rule based to capture users who clicked on an email tied to your landing page URL. So, the trait condition will be tied to the following attributes h_referer == AND c_campaign==ags542_test.

  • Upload CRM Files (if applicable): One interesting use case of syncing user IDs with AAM is to upload demographic or other customer data from the CRM. The process is the same for uploading files in AAM and I've covered it in detail here. 

Email marketing is not going anywhere and with a minimum amount of effort, we're able to ID sync users with the DMP. It is a great alternative to ID sync users if you're unable to capture user IDs upon authentication. So, are you capturing email marketing data in AAM and ID syncing your users?


Anonymous said...


Thanks for the detailed write up, i had one question.

Is the "%011" after the customer ID necessary?

This reference doesn't mention it?

Thank you!

Rohan Kapoor said...

Thanks for the comment. Yes, it is required as per my testing. Also, if you look at the 'Variable' column in the first table in this post:, you'll see it mentioned there too.

Josie said...

Hi Rohan, love your work. Is this step necessary if the client already uses adobe campaign ? Assuming AC could sync email into audience manager ? Thx

Rohan Kapoor said...

Hi Josie, Thanks for the comment. You can send audiences from Adobe Campaign to AAM but it won't be possible to do the id sync using the method which I outlined so it'll make sense to pixel it to get the quickest results here too.