This article has been authored and contributed by Meghan Falter, Solution Consultant - Adobe Advertising Cloud


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It’s common for marketers to have issues with leveraging their CRM data. How do I show my customers I care without appearing creepy or needy? What legal parameters do I need to be aware of? In what ways can I leverage what I know about my customers to create a better, more valuable relationship with them and form bonds with people like my best customers? And how do I get over that anxiety of taking the next step?

Let’s take a look at the challenge we’re really solving here from the perspective of all parties involved:

I’m a customer. I just bought something from your website. And now I’m being followed around the internet by your Display remarketing ads asking me to buy what I just bought. This takes whatever quality customer experience I just had and sends it in a downwards spiral towards brand dissatisfaction, and I’m about to go on a Social media rant about it.

I’m an advertiser. You just bought something from me, and I’m now following you around the internet. Not only am I creating a poor customer experience, I’m also wasting money either advertising something irrelevant when I could be cross-selling/upselling or I’m wasting money advertising to someone not worth selling to right now.

I’m a publisher. I’m serving up ads that are irrelevant to my audience, which means that Display placement is generating a low click thru rate (CTR) and is not delivering sufficient returns to my advertiser. By serving these ads to this customer, I’m devaluing my own inventory.

No one wins in this situation. It’s a tri-directional case of an expensive lost opportunity.

To solve this situation, all you need is data love. You can show that by connecting three dots to use the data you’ve already got – your CRM data, your on-site analytics data, and your Display ad serving – to get more value and deliver higher returns for your business. And the process is easier than you think if you’ve got Adobe Analytics and Advertising Cloud.

The first thing to do is onboard your CRM data to Adobe Analytics. This can be done either by a direct upload, or via Adobe Campaign, leveraging your cross-channel customer data.

What’s valuable to upload? You’ll definitely need to include your customer ids (which we highly recommend anonymising to ensure you’re in compliance with all data privacy laws). Consider including purchase history, propensity to buy, lifetime value, and whatever else is relevant to your business.

Once you’ve got that plugged in, you can establish your customer id as one of your evars in Analytics alongside the rest of the on-site engagement and conversion data you’re already collecting.

Here’s where the magic begins.When a customer logs on to your site, Analytics captures the customer id (which has the CRM side of the picture) and the visitor id (which has the Analytics side of the data).


Now let’s take it a step further.

As an Adobe customer with one or more solutions in the Digital Marketing Cloud, you automatically have access to the Profiles & Audiences Core Service. This means you can take those visitor ids with all that valuable Analytics data + anonymised CRM data and push it out to other parts of the Cloud to leverage for targeting and remarketing.


In our case, we want to create a segment of existing customers to exclude from our Display advertising. This means when we create a Display campaign in Adobe Advertising Cloud, we can pull in that CRM-enriched segment of existing customers and exclude them from our targeting when we serve our ads through the DSP (Demand Side Platform).


A major UK advertiser decided to take the plunge with the ‘C’ word in their data/advertising relationship, and implemented this use case. From simply excluding existing customers from their Display retargeting, they improved the performance of their campaigns significantly – CTR shot up 45% and cost per acquisition (CPA) decreased 18%. Picture that in pounds, and we’re talking big money saved. Add on an improved customer experience, not to mention happy publishers, and you’ve got wins all around.

There is a further option, however, if you want to push more channels (think Google for Search, Twitter for Social, or Video) and/or expand the reach and value of your CRM + Analytics data. If you already have, or choose to invest in, Adobe Audience Manager, you can funnel the segments you create through the platform to do things like lookalike modelling. This will help you identify and reach people who look like your high value customers, for example, but with whom you’ve not interacted, yet. These audiences can then also be leveraged in Adobe Advertising Cloud for more impactful paid advertising.