Sharing my experience as an Adobe consultant

Articles by category: MSA


We are all familiar with the client-side debugging tools, from the old DigitalPulse debugger to Charles. However, as Tim asked me some time ago, how do we debug server-side implementations? It is not always easy, but you have various options. Let’s explore them.


27 May 2018

Server-side ECID

[UPDATE 12/05/2019] There are some limitations, which I have added towards the bottom So, after reading my introduction to server-side digital marketing, you have deeply thought about it and now you are convinced that you should be going server-side. As with the JavaScript implementation, the first step you need is to get the Experience Cloud ID, or ECID for short (new name for the MCID). I assume you have a good understanding of the HTTP protocol, as this is going to be a more technical post.


A few weeks ago I read a great blog post entitled The Era of Server-side Everything from my colleague Jan Exner. I wanted to write a comment, but as I started to think about what to write, I realised it was going to be too long. Instead, I decided I would write my own post on this topic. Then, as I started to think what I would include, additional blog posts came to my mind. So, this is the first of a series of posts on server-side digital marketing.


I am sure you have been hearing a lot about Adobe Sensei lately. This technology was announced in November 2016, but only in the last few months it has become more mainstream. In summary, Adobe Sensei is Adobe’s approach to artificial intelligence. In this post, I would like to provide a brief introduction to this new Adobe offering. I am not an expert in these technologies, but if you have heard of these technologies and are wondering about them, this post will shed some light.


I am sure we have all been concerned about security in the last decade or more. However, since 2013, after the revelations of Edward Snowden, we have begun to be really worried about it. It comes to no surprise that Adobe tools need to be secure too. In the end, you are pouring your marketing data there. I am not a security expert, so always get independent advice. However, in this post I will give an introduction to some security considerations concerning the Adobe stack.


If you keep information about your customers, you need a database to store it. The first solution that probably comes to your mind is a CRM, but this is not the only option. As you know, Adobe does not offer a solution to store customer data, but there are many integration points between Adobe solutions and this database. Let’s see how to use your customer data in the Adobe ecosystem and some additional details to take into account.


Server-side integrations have many benefits, which I am not going to enumerate. If you can choose between server-side and client-side integrations, I would generally recommend server-side. However, there is always one drawback: debugging. You cannot see what happens between the servers. This is the case of the Adobe Target and Adobe Audience Manager integration. I have personally had to debug it a few times and this is how you can do it.


03 Dec 2017

One vs multiple AMCs

In large projects, one of the typical questions I get asked is: should we use one Adobe Marketing Cloud (AMC) or multiple? Unfortunately, there is no black or white answer here, but many shades of grey. However, in the end, you have to choose one option and this decisions is final. Let me share with you some tips to choose wisely.


The Profiles & Audiences core service has two main components: Customer Attributes (the “profiles” part) and the Audience Library (the “audiences” part). Today I am going to focus on the latter, which is also called Real-Time Audiences. As its name implies, it allows you to create audiences, for which visitors qualify in real time.


30 Jul 2017

Customer Attributes

[UPDATE 21/10/2018] The Profiles & Audiences core service has been renamed as People core service. Everything else stays the same. When the Adobe Marketing Cloud was rolled out, it included some new features, which were not part of any individual solutions. These features were called Core Services. One of these features was Customer Attributes, part of the Profiles & Audiences core service. If you do not have an AAM license, it can be very useful in a few use cases. Let’s see how to set Customer Attributes up.


Being able to identify your customer as they browse your websites within the Adobe Experience Cloud solutions brings lots of additional features. However, it is not as easy as it initially looks like. This customer identification process is a bit complex and I will explain here what you need to do.


If you have been keeping up with the news of the Adobe Marketing Experience Cloud, you will probably have heard the word “triggers” quite a lot lately. My colleague Mathieu Hannouz conducted an excellent presentation, in which he explained this new feature. In case you do not know what triggers are, this post is for you.


[UPDATE] Since I wrote this post, the services has been renamed as ECID (Experience Cloud ID Service). Other than the name, everything stays the same. The Marketing Cloud ID (MCID) Service enables most Adobe Experience Cloud solutions to uniquely identify a visitor. It is the basis of the people identification, as I explained a few weeks ago. But it does not stop here; it provides the foundations for the People core service (aka Profiles and Audiences), which, in turn, provides customer attributes and shared audiences.


I must admit it: I love cookies. I can eat one cookie pack in a couple of days. Therefore, I try to keep my kitchen free of cookies. However, this is not what I am going to explain here. Today I am going to take a step back and, instead of advanced topics, I want to review a basic concept: cookies. I know most of you know fairly well what cookies are. However, if you are still trying to get your head around cookies, I recommend you keep on reading. You might also find useful ideas to explain cookies to other people.


Imagine the following situation. You are working as a Multi Solution Architect, specialised in the Adobe Marketing Cloud. A big company, which has never used Adobe’s products, has purchased most or all Adobe Marketing Cloud products. Your task is to lead the implementation of the project and put together all products in a way that delivers maximum benefits for the customer. What do you do next?


[UPDATE 29/10/2017] As Javier has pointed out and after some internal checks, there is no destination any more nor any mappings. Nothing is wrong with it, as it will still work as expected. Just ignore the section “Check mapping in AAM”. Thanks Javier! Adobe is now selling a Marketing Cloud. You can still get a license for individual products, but the moment you have two or more, you should connect them together. Today I am going to explain how you should connect Adobe Audience Manager and Adobe Target. The use case is very simple: you want to use AAM segments to create personalisations through Target. And you want this segment sharing to happen in real time: as soon a user qualifies for a segment in AAM, you want to be able to use it in Target.


In a previous post, I explained what Analytics for Target (A4T) was and how to use it. However, I did not explain how to get provisioned for A4T. In this post, I will explain what you need to request the provisioning for shared audiences and A4T. Although these two features are different, the provisioning form is the same. In fact, you can request both at the same time. One word of caution. I am not going to explain here what are the consequences of this provisioning. Therefore, only place this request once you know you need any of the two features (or both). Otherwise, I would suggest you refrain from requesting them, just for the sake of having them.


One of the buzzwords in the Adobe Marketing Cloud environment for the last year or so has been “Analytics for Target” or A4T for short. It basically means using Adobe Analytics as the reporting tool for Adobe Target activities/campaigns. Why so much excitement about it? If you are optimising/personalising the website with Adobe Target and you have presented your reports to other people in your organisation, and these other people have access to Adobe Analytics, I am sure you have received the following question: why does the visitor count not match between the two tools? Typically, the first answer that comes to mind is that Adobe products are broken. I wonder how many Adobe customers have raised a ticket through client care. The answer requires a bit of understanding: each tool counts the visitors differently and there is a reason for that.


There is an emerging role in the digital marketing landscape: the multi solution architect, or MSA for short. You have probably heard of these forecasts about the labour market of the future, when X% of the job titles do not exist today. I would say that the MSA is one of those new jobs. Two years ago, nobody talked about it. Last year, I could see some need for it, at least in Europe. Now, some of my customers explicitly request one. I can even state that I received a job offer a few months ago for exactly this role.