March 4, 2024

Future of Adobe Campaign Standard and where AJO and ACv8 plays in

In the marketing automation space, Adobe has four similar offerings: Adobe Journey Optimizer (AJO), Adobe Campaign Classic (ACC), Adobe Campaign Standard (ACS) and Adobe Campaign v8 (AC v8).

If you are wondering why so many options and what the difference between them is, you are not alone.

However, when you understand them, you realize that they make a lot of sense and each one has its own space in the Adobe stack. Sure, there are overlaps, but there are also important differences we need to address to get the full picture.

Jonas Guldberg Pabst, Principal Consultant

I hope this post will help you better navigate these options and help you choose the best offering for you and your company.

If you are looking for the a comparison do not want to read all the details and conclusions, go directly to the comparison by clicking here.

Platform Question

When talking about the Adobe Campaign platforms, there are currently three in the list there is originated from the same system, but with years of development between them.

The AJO platform is the newest automation offering from Adobe, which is built on top of Experience Platform with the ability to combine online and offline data at a granular event level creating a real-time customer profile.

When I am saying there currently are three platforms, the oldest ACC platform is being decommissioned within 2027* and the ACS platform is being decommissioned in 2026*.

This is to make room for the new kid in the stack called Adobe Campaign v8 also referred to as - Adobe Campaign Managed Cloud.

The new AC v8 is a good combination of the two older Adobe Campaign platforms, with an injection of features from AJO.

So we have the strength and speed from ACC, the marketer-friendly web UI from AJO (with added features) and the 360 profile view known from ACS.

AC v8 can be controlled from a web UI, which is created in an extended design from the current Experience Cloud UI, used in Experience Platform and Journey Optimizer, through a powerful user-friendly drag-and-drop interface.

You are also able to connect from the console as you have done until now in ACC, where all you do will be automatically reflected in the web UI, including the folder structure which is a totally neat feature.

AC v8 is placed as a standalone product with all the strengths and weaknesses that come with this and it's a more siloed, but powerful database structure.

AJO is a full web solution which is intertwined with AEP and can leverage all the cool functionality that AEP has to offer. Taking advantage of the rtCDP and the streaming segments we can create journeys that can be joined when data from an action is added.

There is a large number of sources that can add data through the edge network, which all will be combined into the profile.

AJO is placed on top of AEP as a service and will share its data directly and will also leverage the power of the more simple rtCDP and the segmentation features.

So, which platform should we invest our money in, when departing from ACC/ACS?

That question is after my belief, the most important question we need to ask ourselves and is something that we need to have an answer on, within the first half of 2024, or we will be left in the dark age when ACC and ACS are gone.

Put the tech on the sideline

To start the conversation on the subject, I will take us a bit back from the tech and look at the platforms from a cleaner perspective, where we can define our business rules before settling on the tech and investing in a platform that does not quite fit all of our future needs or has to much to offer.

So, we need to talk about how we would like to place the marketing automation platform in the solution architecture, and if it should be a headless or more controlling factor of the automation in terms of how we collect and use the data.

The headless will be AC v8 would be running primarily on offline data and sending batch-based experiences. Where AJO will be leveraging offline and online data in batch and real-time communication.

In a few non-tech separations you should go with AJO for the real-time trigger experience and pick AC v8 for advanced offline batch communication through planned experiences.

Working with data

We can say that the biggest difference between the two is that AJO is a service on top of the Adobe Experience Platform (AEP), where AC 8 can be acquired as a standalone platform, just like ACC or ACS was placed in the Adobe automation stack.

In AJO we are leveraging on the AEP XDM data model which works with having a flat profile model with many fields and few relational schemas, whereas we in AC v8 are working with a postgres relational database where the profiles can be linked to data in a nested model rather than the flat model as we see in AJO.

From a non-tech perspective, this will mean that in AJO, we are publishing the same data on several profiles whereas in AC v8 we are linking the profiles to a schema containing all the data needed e.g. company. In AJO we have faster access to the profile data and the real-time or event updates there will be combined into the 360 customer profile.

Cool features

Both AJO and AC v8 will deliver the coolest features to help you deliver a heck of a customer experience, personalized at many data points for delivering the best customer experience.

Each of the platforms will have a bit different view on how we can deliver that experience, even if they are quite similar when looking at them from a big perspective, there are small but larger differences.

AJO will keep a good focus on having a finger on being able to trigger experiences based on online and offline behaviour, where at the same time they can create custom actions sending event data for internal usage in another system.

All of the above can trigger communication in real-time using both offline and online data arriving in batches or through real-time events.

AC v8 will use its power to have a relational data model, create complex user journeys with advanced workflow elements, leverage powerful built-in web apps, ability to send attachments in emails and export modulated data from the platform.

AC v8 can trigger communication through API or make use of the data placed in the database from various custom sources.

Comparison table

When we have looked a little under the hood on the two platforms, we have made this table with a few simple one-liners about the two platforms.

Journey Optimizer (AJO)Campaign v8 (AC v8)
Ability to combine online and offline data at a granular event level creating a real-time customer profile  Offline data, limited view of online data to trigger communications
Real-time segmentation and activation based on big data architectureBatch segmentation and activation reliant on traditional SQL database
Powerful segmentation capabilities across online and offline data inputsStrong segmentation capabilities using offline data. If including online behaviour, there is a delay in absorbing online data.
High personalisation capabilities – online content into offline (e.g showing the last product viewed but didn't purchase in emails) and vice versaPersonalization is possible with what data is imported into the daily or delta loads. Limited online or real-time behavior-driven personalization is possible
High-scale sending capabilities (millions in minutes)More limited sending capabilities (20 million per hour)
Offer decisions across all channels.Offer decision capabilities limited to email, direct mail and SMS
Ability to talk to all customers at once through 1:1 behavior-driven communicationsBatch communications and limited web-triggered communications

If you can see yourself and your organization in one of the below bullets, AJO is not the right choice for you.

- Will only use on-premise data

- No plan to use a Customer Data Platform (CDP)

- Looking for a "lift & shift" of existing campaigns

- Teams and processes are not aligned in achieving the organization's goals at a bigger and no need for an extensive automation setup

Make the decision

It is known, that it can be hard to pick the next platform and have your organization with you in understanding the need for a “new” platform, but this decision must be, as mentioned earlier, made within the first half of 2024.

If you need help making the decision and have the advantage of seeing the platforms in action, you can contact Accrease to get you started.

What about the development

If you are interested in the history of the Campaign platform, and how it developed from ACC into AC v8 and AJO, I will roll out a few details about it here below.

The original product was called Neolane and was owned by a French company called Neolane Inc. until it was purchased by Adobe in 2013 for $600 million.

The Neolane product was released in 2001 and has from 2001 till 2013 gone through 4 major releases with new revolutionary features for a cross-channel platform of that era.

It was first released by Adobe as Campaign Classic in 2013, and the original product has kept that name up until today where its in final years as version 7.

During the years, Adobe released its “little brother” in 2017, called Campaign Standard which was released as a cloud version of Campaign Classic there was more marketer-friendly than the big brother ACC was.

Campaign Standard did gain a lot of market reputation and many customers made the jump from Campaign Classic to Campaign Standard due to the lightweight possibilities that marketers saw in the new platform.

With Campaign Standard came a new email editor, the introduction of Fragments and a simple but advanced editor fully based on drag-and-drop functionalities.

Later in 2019 AEP was announced and unveiled at Summit to everyone's excitement, a full-blooded CDP, created from Adobe's own hands (and not bought as earlier products).

With the release of AEP, we also got Journey Orchestration, which was a marketing tool that could leverage the power from AEP and trigger communication through various automation tools eg. ACC and ACS.

In 2021 AJO was announced to the public and will be a tool placed on top of AEP which could leverage the AEP CDP power and put it into automation with its built-in actions for email, SMS and push.

In the same year as AJO was announced Adobe also unveiled that they will continue the ACC lane and build a new version of the ACC platform that will be better implemented in the Experience Cloud and have the power of Snowflake from their new partnership with Microsoft.

In 2024 the new web user interface was released, which was a revolution since marketers now easily can create experiences in an advanced automation tool like ACC without the technical console and old-looking platform.

* Dates are as currently mentioned by Adobe, but they can change in the years to come.

February 22, 2024

Top Picks for the Adobe Summit ’24 from Our Experts

Summit US is around the corner, so like everyone else, we here at Accrease prepare for which sessions are relevant for us and what announcements we will see to ensure we can include these when working with our clients. 

If you have yet to hear, then 'rumours' are that there won't be a Summit in London this year. This only means that there will be more focus on the US one and potentially more EMEA-based clients attending the US one.

Currently, 249 sessions are available if you're attending in person and 28 online. As in previous years, I expect recordings to be available for everyone post-summit. So regardless of whether you'll be attending in person or expecting to watch the recordings afterwards, I've asked our Specialists which sessions they would recommend to help you prioritise in the large selection of sessions. So, let's jump straight into the recommendations:

Fulton Yancy

He has experience in digital analytics since 1996 and spent the last decade getting his hands dirty digging for insights in Adobe Analytics. Remember to check out his blog on www.webbanalys.se.

Session: 
2024 Adobe Analytics Rockstars: Top Tips and Tricks [S104]

Reason: 
Meeting the rockstars of Adobe Analytics is always a great way to boost inspiration and learn new ways to work with Adobe Analytics. This has always been my all-time favourite session at Summit as - regardless of my experience in the tool - I always walk away having learned something new. You should definitely take advantage of this session!

Jonas Nielsen

Former Consulting Manager at Adobe and Founder of Accrease. Jonas is a Swiss army knife for the Adobe stack, particularly AEP, and often finds himself by a whiteboard drawing the client's architecture around AEP.

Session: 
How Adobe Real-Time CDP Impacts Full Funnel Marketing [VS513]

Reason: 
I usually focus on sessions that give a deeper understanding of the architecture behind the solutions. I tried looking for a relevant one this year but found no one. Instead, I personally find this session really interesting. 

Often, a CDP is only thought of as something for bought media strategies, but to take full advantage of a CDP, it needs to be thought into the entire marketing funnel.

Sharath Kumar

Former Consultant at Adobe - Well experienced in Adobe Campaign and migrations to/deployments of Adobe Journey Optimizer.

Sessions: 
Adobe Journey Optimizer Roadmap and Innovations [S801] & 
Making the Leap with Generative AI to Scale Personalised Experiences [S911]

Reason: 
At Accrease, we collaborate directly with the product teams for the different solutions we support. And especially when it comes to AJO, as the solution is evolving extremely fast with new releases every month. They can only give us some insights, so the roadmap sessions at Summit are my favourite ones. Understanding the product's direction will allow us to ensure the implementations we plan take any new features into account.

I find optimising the flows and scaling the personalisation using AI fascinating, so my second recommendation is precisely this. Many clients we work with don't have huge teams, so the efficiency and scaling of personalisation come down to working smarter, and I have no doubt AI is a big part of the solution for this.

Samuel Rajkumar

Marketo specialist unlike any other. Experienced in building digital strategies using technologies like CDP and combining them with Marketing Automation.

Sessions: 
Adobe on Adobe: Marketo Engage and Best Practices for Global Marketing Ops [VS215] & 
GenAI-Powered B2B Marketing: Crafting a Roadmap to Excellence [S205]

Reason: 
I always find it inspiring to hear from clients about what they have achieved using Adobe Stack. What I find even more inspiring is the Adobe on Adobe sessions. I recall they started doing these years ago, and I love seeing how Adobe are using their own solutions - simply because they know all the ins and outs of its products to ensure it fully gains the most from them.

This is an excellent opportunity to gain insights directly from industry experts who have successfully set up a Global Marketing Ops.

My second recommendation is similar to Sharath's. Regardless of whether you have a large team, AI will be part of your workflow one way or the other. I don't necessarily believe that AI will be able to fully automate personalisation or something similar in the near future. But I 100% believe AI will make you and your team more efficient.

Jonas Guldberg Pabst

Campaign specialist, who was raised - not by wolves - but alongside Neolane, which later became Adobe Campaign. A companion of his ever since.

Sessions: 
Unveiling Adobe Campaign's New User Interface and Innovative Features [S803] & 
Scaling Customer Journey Capabilities for Global Digital Experiences [S809]

Reason:
Adobe has announced that they will unveil their new Campaign v8 web user interface (UI) as part of Summit. These two sessions introduce the new interface and how to leverage the power to build customer experiences. As for the new UI, you may have noticed that the documentation has been updated with a few previews.

The new interface is a revolution for marketers and is a good blend of the more sophisticated UI from Campaign Classic and the simple marketer-friendly UI from Campaign Standard.

It will embrace new powerful features and help you elevate campaigns, build audiences, and unleash the true potential of cross-channel experiences through a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface.

This is super exciting news. We here at Accrease look forward to introducing all the new features it gives our customers.

Kasper Andersen

Former Manager at Adobe for Proof of Concepts in EMEA & JAPAC. He has been working with Adobe Analytics since it was known as SiteCatalyst; however, his favourite solution is and always will be Adobe Target.

Session: 
Top Tips to Maximise Value with Adobe Target [VS817] & 
How Adobe.com uses AI-powered Recommendations for Personalization at Scale [S814]

Reason:
With Target as my favourite solution, how can I recommend anything besides Target sessions? 

The top tips session is my clear winner - if I could watch only one session, it would be this one. Ryan Roberts is a former colleague and friend, and he's been doing similar sessions in previous years and always received high ratings from the attendees. I love his sessions.
During my time with Adobe, I ran a similar session at Summit in London. Needless to say, it was with great sparring and input from Ryan.

Just like Samuel, I enjoy watching the Adobe on Adobe sessions. Combine that with AI, and you have my second favourite session. Not many Adobe Target customers have Target Premium, which allows for using the Recommendation add-on. Most think that it is only relevant if you're an e-commerce site. However, that certainly isn't the case. I'm working with B2B companies that have successfully promoted training videos and FAQ articles.

There you go. These were the recommendations. Check back after Summit, as we'll be providing a summary of the biggest and most important takeaways.

December 5, 2023

Adobe Experience Platform Web SDK: Everything you need to know

If you have been around for as long as I have, you may remember the old SiteCatalyst/Adobe Analytics H. code that got replaced with AppMeasurement.js to increase performance and make it more up-to-date. The same happened for mbox.js, which was replaced by at.js. Well, it's time to replace EVERYTHING with the new Platform Web SDK.

Kasper

Kasper Andersen, COO & Partner

What is Adobe Experience Platform Web SDK?

In the past, each Adobe product functioned with its own JavaScript library, server endpoint, database, and visitor identity management system. This led to a scattered and often confusing array of instructions, documentation, and installation processes. However, with the introduction of the Adobe Experience Platform Web SDK, these disparate elements have been unified into a single JavaScript library, bringing together identity, audience, analytics, and personalization capabilities under one roof.

The Web SDK communicates with Adobe's Experience Platform Edge Network, a network of servers designed to handle and respond to the data and requests the SDK sends. This unified approach drastically simplifies debugging and makes managing data across different Adobe products more efficient.

The Web SDK also introduces semantic data modelling, allowing users to name and structure their data more meaningfully and intuitively. This feature significantly simplifies the process of keeping track of data mapping.

All these features and advancements make the Adobe Experience Platform Web SDK a significant leap forward in providing a streamlined, user-friendly, and efficient way of implementing Adobe's marketing technologies on a website.

👉 Click here to check out how Saxo improved their page load time with 46% by migrating to Web SDK

Benefits of Web SDK over AppMeasurement.js

The Adobe Experience Platform Web SDK significantly improves over the previous standalone JavaScript library, appmeasurement.js. The primary benefits of the Web SDK can be broken down into the following categories:

1. Unified Library:

One of the most notable advantages of the Web SDK over appmeasurement.js is unifying various Adobe product libraries into a single JavaScript library. Previously, appmeasurement.js was just one of many libraries, including at.js, visitor.js, and dil.js, each associated with a different Adobe product. With the Web SDK, these are consolidated, simplifying the implementation process and reducing the possibility of bugs and compatibility issues.

2. Simplified Debugging:

Debugging is made simpler with the Web SDK. Instead of tracking data going to and from different servers with individual JavaScript libraries, the Web SDK enables data related to identity, audience, analytics, and personalization capabilities to occur within the same request to a single Adobe endpoint. This feature allows for more precise tracking and debugging of data.

3. Open Source and Transparent:

Unlike appmeasurement.js, the Web SDK is open source. This transparency allows developers to follow along with changes, submit their issues or improvements, and understand the workings of the library in more detail. Furthermore, minified and un-minified libraries provide a more transparent debugging experience.

4. Asynchronous Loading:

The Web SDK provides asynchronous loading, which can reduce the time it takes to deliver valuable content to users. This feature significantly improves over the traditional synchronous loading of libraries like appmeasurement.js, which could slow down website performance.

5. Semantic Data Modeling:

The Web SDK allows for semantic data modeling, enabling users to use more intuitive and meaningful names for their data fields. This approach contrasts with the system used in appmeasurement.js, which often requires users to keep track of less intuitive names like "eVar21" or "prop42".

6. Improved Performance:

The Web SDK consolidates libraries rewritten from the ground up to be smaller, leaner, and faster—the reduced network traffic and latency lead to improved website performance.

7. Future-Proof:

The Adobe team is continuously working on new features and improvements for the Web SDK, ensuring it stays relevant and beneficial in the long term.

In conclusion, the shift from appmeasurement.js to Adobe Experience Platform Web SDK represents a substantial step forward in simplifying the implementation and management of Adobe's marketing technologies on a website.

Why migrate to Web SDK?

There are two primary factors to consider when deciding whether to migrate. The first is the evolution of Adobe Solutions and the new Adobe Experience Platform. The second one is the external technical landscape with the death of third-party cookies and Apple's ITP.

Evolution of Adobe Solutions

Just as with the previous releases of new JS libraries, the development of the early Alloy.js (code name for Web SDK) came from ensuring that the JS files were using the most up-to-date technologies and, at the same time, trying to reduce the redundancy of functions that were shared across the different legacy JS files.

In parallel, Adobe worked on the Experience Platform (AEP), which is the foundation for solutions, Adobe Customer Journey Analytics (CJA), Adobe Journey Optimizer (AJO) and Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform (RTCDP).

All these solutions depend on the Web SDK as the data collection method. So, if you are considering any of the solutions within the AEP stack, it will require that you migrate. From a project perspective, you're in a much better position to show quick ROI for the investment in these solutions if you're already using the Web SDK instead of having to migrate as part of a deployment of, e.g. RTCDP.

Over time, the vision is that AEP will replace the current solutions like Adobe Analytics and Adobe Target.

External technologies

Working in digital marketing is more challenging than it used to be, as external technologies constantly complicate our lives. The death of 3rd party cookies has been underway for several years now, and Apple is continually pushing updates to their ITP to increase privacy for their users. This has started many conversations around cookieless tracking and server-side tracking.

The Web SDK is a way to better future-proof your data collection while respecting users' privacy. With the support of Event Forwarding to destinations server-side and the possibility of keeping cookie IDs based on a server-side cookie, you're in much better shape to tackle the challenges that will and will certainly come.

New features to benefit from with Web SDK

  1. Ability to use first-party IDs to generate longer-lasting ECIDs.
  2. A tighter integration between Adobe Analytics and Adobe Target does not rely on stitching separate network calls.
  3. Faster sharing of audiences from Adobe Real-Time CDP to Adobe Target.
  4. Real-time data transformation and mapping in Datastreams using Data Prep.

What is required by my team to migrate to Web SDK?

The migration to Adobe Experience Platform Web SDK is relatively straightforward and requires minimal changes to existing implementations. No updates are needed to your existing data layer, meaning you don't have to involve your IT team.

We recommend a few prerequisites - they aren't required, but they will benefit you in the long run. Depending on which solutions you're using within the Adobe Experience Cloud, there are different things to consider. We'll cover the most common solutions.

Adobe Analytics

You need to ask yourself whether you're getting value from the current implementation (i.e. are you acting on the data you're collecting?). If not, get rid of it so you don't have to take the time to migrate it.

  1. Ensure your Solution Design Reference (SDR) is up to date. There's no point in migrating variables if they are not used anymore. If you don't have an SDR, now is the time to create one.
  2. While updating your SDR, you should also clean up your variables in Adobe Analytics - disable them if they are irrelevant or not used anymore.

Adobe Target

  1. Review your mbox and profile parameters and ensure they are still required.
  2. Update your SDR so that you have a column that lists your Target parameters.

Most of the migration is done within the UI of Experience Platform UI. From a high-level perspective, the steps required are:

  1. Creating and defining an XDM Schema
  2. Configure a Datastream
  3. Install the Web SDK Extension in Adobe Tags (former Adobe Launch)
  4. Create data element for XDM variables
  5. Duplicate existing rules and update them to make use of Web SDK Extension
  6. Add the necessary services (e.g. Adobe Analytics) to your Datastream
  7. Test and Validate
  8. Clean up by removing legacy extensions and rules

If you involve a partner like Accrease, we can lift 95% of the tasks without you or your IT team's involvement. The only time you or your IT team would have to be involved would be in step 7, validating and coordinating the release of the migration.

We don't use Adobe Launch as our Tag Manager Solution

Even if you're not using Adobe Launch, you can still migrate to Adobe Web SDK, which is still recommended due to the benefits mentioned above. With that said, the process may be smoother with Adobe Launch.

At Accrease, we are deep specialists within Adobe Technology, so if you're using another Tag Manager, there may be better teams to do the actual Tag Manager work. However, we are happy to spar and guide you in deciding whether to migrate and what to be aware of.

We've already done several migrations with other clients if you're using Adobe Launch.

Remember, Adobe Launch is free if you're using Adobe Technology. Migrating to a free Tag Manager Solution could reduce your current cost.

What happens if I don't migrate?

Nothing. Adobe is not forcing anyone to migrate - at some point, we expect that you eventually will have to migrate, but nothing indicates this as of the date for writing this.

If you're like most other companies, you're part of conversations where things like load speed and server-side are being discussed. If so, migrating will address some of the concerns typically raised during those conversations.

If you're considering investing in Adobe Experience Platform together with Real-Time CDP, Customer Journey Analytics or Adobe Journey Optimizer, then the Web SDK will be a requirement, and you will be better positioned for success if you're already using Web SDK.

Don't forget to check out our recording of how to migrate to Web SDK 👇

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SE: +46 8 446 891 01
NO: +47 75 98 71 01

 

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