Adobe Target Server-Side Optimization Lets You Do More with the Tools You Have

» 9 min read

Lokesh BS

By Lokesh Shivalingaiah

Vice President, Data and Enterprise Architecture

You keep your finger on the pulse of user experience development. Like many digital marketers, you might be wondering if 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 using 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 reality?

The answer might be staring right at you. 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 an optimized development philosophy can enhance your delivery of the back-end solutions that drive your front-end successes.

Adobe Target and 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.

Client-side optimization workflows start when a user’s device initiates an interaction with Adobe Target. When a client accesses your service, their mobile device or computer runs 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.

Server-side optimization rearranges that 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 developers a chance to use Adobe Target’s Node.js SDK to run quality-of-service tests without interrupting the user experience.

Regardless of 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 how best to respond to requests. By referring to data from the Adobe Experience Cloud or your custom algorithms, Target creates 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 engage with your brand.

Optimal Communication Protocols

Adobe Target keeps everything straight by handling the decision-making so 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 sees the 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?

Choosing between client- and server-side optimization can be difficult. In the end, it’s all about what kind of business you’re running and what kind of experience you want to provide.

Client-Side Benefits

When you optimize on the client side, it’s a bit faster and easier to set up tests. Adobe Target’s unique three-part workflow 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 development 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.

Server-Side Benefits

Those who go with server-side optimization get 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, server-side Target optimization is the 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.

You also can test on the server side as easily as you can on a client device, 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.

Adobe Target Wins Either Way

One of the best things about Adobe Target is that it’s flexible — you can go client-side, server-side, or any combination 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. But if you’re rethinking the way your product catalog search algorithm functions, it would probably be better to use the server side to evaluate algorithms that your clients’ devices can’t handle. By using Target, you can do whatever drives lucrative results, and you never have to sacrifice one option to experiment with another.

Is Server-Side Optimization Right for You?

Before deciding to invest in server-side optimization, here are a few things to consider:

  • 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 level? Server-side optimization with Adobe Target unifies visitor profiles across channels, devices, and thousands of tests. You should be ready to support personalization on 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 developer to optimize things from the back end. Working with the right people is as integral to your success as creating superior software solutions is.

The Bottom Line

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. Schedule a call with one of our Adobe Target specialists today.

About TA Digital

TA Digital is the only global boutique agency that delivers the “best of both worlds” to clients seeking to achieve organizational success through digital transformation. Unlike smaller, regional agencies that lack the ability to scale or large organizations that succumb to a quantity-over-quality approach, we offer resource diversity while also providing meticulous attention to the details that enable strategic success.

Over the past 20 years, TA Digital has positioned clients to achieve digital maturity by focusing on data, customer-centricity, and exponential return on investment; by melding exceptional user experience and data-driven methodologies with artificial intelligence and machine learning, we enable digital transformations that intelligently build upon the strategies we set into motion. We are known as a global leader that assists marketing and technology executives in understanding the digital ecosystem while identifying cultural and operational gaps within their business – ultimately ushering organizations toward a more mature model and profitable digital landscape.

Recognized in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2019, 2020 and 2021 Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest growing companies in the United States, TA Digital is pleased also to share high-level strategic partnerships with world class digital experience platform companies like Adobe, SAP, AcquiacommercetoolsSitecore, and Elastic Path.

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