Why Your Deployment Needs Adobe Target Server-side Optimization

» 9 min read

Lokesh BS

By Lokesh Shivalingaiah

Vice President, Enterprise Architecture & Data

You keep your finger on the pulse of user experience development. Like many digital marketing execs, however, you’re probably wondering whether server-side optimization is right for your testing and personalization initiatives.

From scaling beyond the traditional web to treating your consumers to smoother cross-channel experiences, your motivations for trying to use the back end more intelligently are likely as unique as your business model. The real question is how you can make your dreams of efficiency into realities.

Could the answer be staring you in the face? At TA Digital, we’ve been using solutions like Adobe Target to encourage companies to do more with the tools they’re already using. Here’s how adopting a more optimized development philosophy might help you enhance your delivery of the back-end solutions that drive your front-end successes.

How Adobe Target Improves Client- and Server-side Interactions

Adobe Target is flexible enough to take your front end or back end to lofty new heights. How does it improve both service architectures? It all revolves around which device is communicating with which.

From the Client Directly to Adobe Target

Client-side optimization work flows start when a user device initiates an interaction with Adobe Target. Suppose that a client accesses your service. Their mobile device or computer might run a JavaScript function that notifies Adobe Target of a visit. This communication can occur via the browser or Adobe native mobile SDK, but in either case, it kicks off a chain of events that decide what form of personalized experience to deliver.

From Client to Server to Adobe Target

Server-side optimization rearranges the dynamic. Instead of a client machine getting in touch with Target, your server sends a request upon receiving a visit notification. This approach has many advantages, including the fact that it gives your devs a chance to use Adobe Target’s Node.js SDK to run quality-of-service tests without interrupting the user experience.

Adobe Target’s Role

What does Adobe Target do when it receives a request to generate a custom user experience? Regardless whether you’re optimizing things on the front or back end, Target will refer to a unique cross-channel visitor profile to determine what happens next.

A Profile for Every Visitor

Visitor profiles tell the decision-making algorithms about how best to respond to requests. By referring to data from the Adobe Experience Cloud or your custom algorithms, Target can create in-depth personalization standards that empower better experience management. For instance, we often recommend that new business users build on predefined Analytics profiles and segments from Audience Manager by importing their own rules that incorporate visitor cookies, CRM data and other information.

Intelligent Data Sharing

Target’s efficiency leverages the fact that Adobe Experience Cloud creates universal visitor profiles. This data persists and gets shared regardless of channel. For example, any visitor who supplies information via one of your mobile device A/B tests also contributes to your other personalized activities, such as Recommendations and Automated Personalization. Since the profile isn’t tied to their chosen device or preferred method of interaction, they receive uniformly optimized experiences each time they decide to engage with your brand.

Optimal Communication Protocols

Adobe Target keeps everything straight by handling the decision-making so that your servers and clients don’t have to. It then replies with the appropriate content, offer, experience or product catalog information in a single message.

Although this response is just one of thousands of potential variations, your client or server only ever sees the most optimal results. By using a lone server call instead of a series of dispatches, Target also minimizes payload sizes and processing times to ensure that users don’t have to bear the burdens of intense computation.

Should You Optimize on the Client or Server Side?

Most of our users recognize the need for optimization, but this doesn’t mean they have complete game plans: Choosing between client- and server-side optimization can be difficult. We believe that in the end, it’s all about what kind of business you’re running and what kind of experience you want to provide.

The Client-side Benefits

When you optimize on the client side, setting up tests is a bit faster and easier. Adobe Target’s unique three-part work flow caters to those who want to implement A/B testing and targeting based on custom rule sets.

Another advantage of client-side optimization with Adobe Target is that it’s extremely accommodating to marketers. For instance, the Auto-Target function lets you personalize multiple components with a single click, including the user interface, content and overall user experience. With Target, you don’t need dev teams to help you make code changes. Testing also isn’t bound by release cycles, so you’re free to improve your offerings as necessary.

The Server-side Advantages

Those who prefer server-side optimization crave the flexibility to exercise complete control over how their software personalization works. If you need to comply with security policies from corporate headquarters or communicate between warehousing computers and in-house content delivery networks, then server-side Target optimization may be the most logical choice.

Honing your user experience from the back end also gives you unique benefits in live deployments. For instance, you can’t always guarantee that your users will connect to your software from JavaScript-capable browsers. Whether they’re engaging via game consoles, call center VoIP headsets or factory-floor IoT hardware, you still need to cater to their demands. Server-side optimization lets you respond to any situation with the right answer and decide exactly how the personalization process proceeds from there.

Adobe Target Wins Either Way

One of the best things about Adobe Target is that it’s so flexible. You can stick to client-side, server-side or any combination of both that suits your needs.

For instance, you may decide that your website’s color scheme lacks punch and choose to run A/B, multivariate or some other form of testing to make it more relevant to individual users. It makes more sense to perform this kind of evaluation on the client side.

Now imagine that you were rethinking the way your product catalog search algorithm functioned. It would probably be best to use the server side to evaluate algorithms that your clients’ devices couldn’t handle. By using Target, you can do whatever drives lucrative results, and you never have to sacrifice one option to experiment with another.

Adobe Target Makes Server-side Optimization Possible

With Adobe Target, you can test on the server side as easily as you could on a client device. There are few limits, especially when you integrate your testing and automation frameworks with tools like Adobe Sensei. Even better, Target’s automatic conversance with visitor profiles makes it much easier to learn from the results and put the knowledge to good use no matter which tactic you prefer.

Is Server-side Optimization Right for You?

Before deciding to invest in server-side optimization, we advise that you think about the following salient points:

  • Where does your current solution choose which user experiences to deliver? Switching to the server can minimize payload transfers, heighten performance and protect your user data from security disasters.
  • Are you prepared to quantify your activities? It’s worth considering that the majority of analytics solutions employ the client side. Always work with an expert who can help you avoid generating spurious data during your transition.
  • Do you want to take your cross-channel personalization to the next scale? Server-side optimization with Adobe Target unifies visitor profiles across channels, devices and thousands of tests. You should be ready to support personalization at a much larger scale.
  • Are you ready to conquer the client and server sides? The most effective personalization solutions use combined techniques. Ensure that yours can operate on both ends simultaneously.
  • Do you have the right team for the job? Although any marketer can run client-side testing, it takes a true development guru to optimize things from the back end. Working with the right people is as integral to your success as creating superior software solutions is.

Server-side optimization with Adobe Target has innumerable benefits, but transitioning to an optimized state from your current solutions can be tough. Make your journey as successful as possible by letting TA Digital guide you forward. Talk to one of our Adobe Target specialists today.

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