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Activities: Key Tools in Your Adobe Target Optimization Tool Belt

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By the end of this lesson from Adobe Target Classroom in a Book, you should have a holistic view of how activity variation will allow you to get the most out of your optimization efforts.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Testing and optimization cannot be approached in the same way for every activity. In many instances Adobe Target users will want to manage visitor participation in a customized way based on an activity design, and Adobe Target has the mechanisms available to give you this flexibility. Additionally, not all activities or test types offer the same data for interpretation or analysis. With Target, you’ll have a number of tools at your disposal. In this lesson, you’ll learn

  • How activity types differ
  • When and where you should use each type of activity
  • How to use different activities together
  • What success events are and how to include them within your activities

By the end of this lesson, you should have a holistic view of how activity variation will allow you to get the most out of your optimization efforts.

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Creating activities within Adobe Target Advanced

Activity themes

An activity is a test or what Adobe Target previously called a campaign. An activity determines which people see which experience. Those experiences that make up the activity are tested against each other to see how they impact any and all key success events on the digital property.

Although this lesson is entirely devoted to the different types of test activities available in the Adobe Target platform, some elements span all activities, no matter what activity type you’re using:

  • Mboxes: Although mboxes are not the main focus when setting up an activity (as they have been in the past), mboxes are the key to attaching test content or offers to the digital content that is used to create the visitors’ experience. As discussed in Lesson 1, “Adobe Target and Optimization Today,” mboxes are JavaScript tags incorporated within a site that create calls to Adobe servers to insert referenced content that customizes the experience for the visitor. All activities use mboxes to inject content and to gather data.
  • Offers: Offers consist of code that represents the alternative experiences that a visitor may receive as part of an activity. HTML, JavaScript, and CSS code can be written in an HTML offer. A Dynamic offer type also exists, which can include server-side code versus static HTML, CSS, or JavaScript to deliver custom messages, show different forms, and more. Target has redirect offers as well that take visitors to entirely different pages. No matter what offer type you apply, all offers are usable across activity types. Users can use the same HTML offer for any type of activity within Adobe Target. In the activity, users are essentially assigning offers to mboxes with rules and then defining the success events (discussed next) to allow the offers to be compared against each other.
  • Success events: Success events are defined per activity and track whether or not a visitor reached particular goals. Adobe Target users create and select these success events during the activity setup. The success events are essentially specific mbox calls or actual mboxes. For example, if you wanted to understand how two different pieces of content impacted visitor registrations, the mbox on the registration thank you page would be selected for the success event “Email Registrations” by the Adobe Target user while setting up the activity. This tests which activity experience leads to more “Email Registrations” and allows the Adobe Target user to see the results in the reporting interface. Success events are used within all activity types.
  • Experiences: Experiences are variations within an activity. If you are testing two options, Version A and Version B, they are also called Experience A and Experience B. An experience determines which offer(s) will be delivered in which mbox(es). An activity experience can have more than one offer associated with it. For example, within Adobe Target you can set up an activity that spans multiple pages of the website and each of those pages can have different offers. This is one of the key benefits to Adobe Target in that users can create activities that span several pages.
  • Conversion event: The conversion event is the final success event within an activity. Unlike success events, there is only one conversion event. The important distinction between a success event and a conversion event is that by default, when visitors see the conversion event (as the result of an mbox call), they are kicked out of the activity.

    When visitors are kicked out of the activity, they are excluded from the Adobe Target reporting at that point unless they happen to visit a page where the activity is running. At that point, they can re-enter the activity and be counted as a second visitor of that activity. By default, this visitor will see the same experience that she was originally presented, although that can be reconfigured, if desired, by the Adobe Target user.

    The conversion event should be the primary metric that Adobe Target users wish to impact as part of the activity. For those instances where Adobe Target users wish to understand how the activity impacted other key success events within the digital property, those additional events should be selected as success events within the activity setup.

  • Entry event: An entry event establishes a visitor as a member of a given activity. If you were running a test on the home page of your website, the mbox on that home page would be the entry event. When visitors see that mbox and meet the targeting or entry rules of the activity, they are considered members of the activity until a conversion event occurs or the activity is deactivated, which simply means when the activity was turned off.
  • Targeting/Segmenting: The targeting and segmenting capability allows users to set rules for visitor participation in an activity and to define subsets of visitors to participate in that activity. For example, if you wanted to deliver an activity to visitors who reached your site from Google, you would use targeting to define activity participation only if the visitor’s referring URL is Google. If you wanted to further break down Google visitors into new or repeat visitors to your site, you could add a rule to define New or Repeat in the activity segments.
  • On step actions: On step actions (Figure 4.1) are custom actions that you can apply to visitors when they see a previously defined success event. For example, if someone made a purchase and that purchase was defined as a success event, you could apply one of the actions shown in the following figure.

    Figure 4.1

    Figure 4.1 On step actions configuration as seen in Adobe Target Advanced

    Adobe Target is incredibly flexible in that users can leverage on step actions in strategic use cases when they want greater control over what happens to visitors when certain events occur, such as when you want to exclude visitors from an activity after an event occurs or force visitors to have a different experience than what they were previously presented with after an event. These actions provide that flexibility.

  • Activity scheduling: Users of Adobe Target can apply conditions to when activities start and end. This is incredibly helpful when you want to start a test at midnight or over the weekend, or when you want to end an activity to coincide with the conclusion of a specific marketing campaign. Scheduling allows users to set a day and a time when an activity should start and finish. With scheduling in place, users do not have to log in to Adobe Target to save and approve an activity or stop it from running.
  • Activity status: An activity can maintain any one of the following three statuses:

    • Approved: When an activity is running—that is, it is live and visitors can become members—it is considered approved. Only users who have the proper rights can approve activities, either by scheduling a date and time to go live or by clicking the Save and Approve button to immediately make the activity live.
    • Unapproved: If an activity has not been approved, it is in the unapproved state. Only visitors that are on staging or development hosts or websites can see the alternative content or activity content. Outside visitors will never see activity content or be counted in an unapproved activity.
    • Archived: Archived activities are old activities that are no longer in use. More often than not, they have been run and their results communicated. The ability to archive activities also allows users to easily access and manage activities that are either running or in the development process.

Although the preceding information may seem like a lot to remember, after creating and launching just a few activities, you will find it becomes second nature. The great characteristic of all these activity configurations, in addition to all the flexibility they enable, is that they make the activity seem straightforward because all are applicable to each activity type.

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