Adobe Test & Target: An Adobe A/B Testing Guide [2022 Update]

2 Aug 2022

Adobe Target, also known as Test and Target, is Adobe’s optimisation solution hosted within the Adobe Experience Cloud platform.

As well as offering a powerful solution for A/B testing, Adobe Target also enables multivariate testing, personalised and dynamic content solutions and mobile app optimisation.

Recent updates including the recommendation engine and integration with Adobe Experience Platform provide even more capability to A/B test with known and unknown visitors and provide better customer experiences.

A Brief Adobe Target A/B testing Tutorial

If you’re not familiar with A/B testing (also known as bucket tests and split-run testing), it’s a process commonly used by marketers to assess two or more variants of information across websites, emails or mobile apps:

  • Content – copy, imagery etc.
  • Navigation – how the user moves through the site or across a page.
  • Styling – the look and feel.

The purpose of Adobe Target A/B testing is usually to identify the best performing variant in terms of conversion, revenue or engagement. This could be the viewing of a specific webpage, time spent on the website, click-through rate, or any other variable right through to the completion of an order.

How Adobe Target handles A/B testing

A/B tests are handled in two main ways within Adobe Test and Target feature:

  1. Using a single URL where different experiences are created for each test by amending the content, navigation or styling for the page. This is the most popular Adobe Target A/B testing option.
  2. Using a URL redirect where each experience has its own dedicated URL, e.g. Experience A uses and Experience B uses

URL redirects are more common when evaluating two differing purchase funnels, where the steps the customer takes between selecting a product or service and completing the purchase are substantially different, or where multiple versions of a page have been developed.

In both cases, Experience A is usually set as the standard version and control experience, and Experience B is used to test different variables.

Adobe Test and Target includes an online editor to create simple A/B tests by altering content, such as changing the page heading or using an alternative hero image. The online editor also caters for basic style changes of a page, such as amending the background colour of a text box or changing the text colour.

The online editor also offers the option to change the HTML and CSS where more complex changes to the content, styling or navigation are required.

Targeting / Audiences

Adobe Test and Target provides the option to specify audiences the A/B test is appropriate for. Tests can either be set to run for All Visitors, or only to run when the visitor is identified as being part of a specified audience.

The platform includes several predefined audiences including the following:

  • Browser specific – Goole Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari etc.
  • Operating System specific – Mac OS, Windows OS etc.
  • Tablet Device specific – Using a tablet device
  • Search engine referrals – Arrived at the website via Google, Yahoo, Bing etc.

Audiences created elsewhere in the Adobe Experience Cloud are also available for use within Adobe Test and Target. For example, integrating Adobe Experience Platform audiences in Adobe Target allows targeting for known CRM contacts as well as unknown website visitors.

Audiences can be combined and used as the targets for the test or set as exclusions.

For example, you may wish to run Adobe Target’s A/B testing capabilities for the home page to change the hero image but only if the visitor was not referred to the site via a search engine. In this scenario you would target All Visitors but exclude the audiences related to search engine referrals.

In addition to the predefined and Adobe Experience Cloud audiences. Adobe Target also allows users to create new audiences based on several additional rules, such as the pages the visitor has viewed and referring sources, such as specific campaign URLs.

Adobe Test and Target features also provide an option to create more complex audiences using Profile Scripts written in JavaScript. A typical scenario for using a Profile script is where an organisation offers an affiliate program with many participants. The Profile Script can be developed to group all visitors referred from affiliate URLs into a single audience.

New Adobe Target feature: Recommendation engine

Audiences today expect to be recommended relevant content. Media companies like Netflix, Spotify and YouTube do this exceptionally well, but personalised recommendations are also core to the consumer experience in travel, retail, B2B sales, web publishing and more industries.

Adobe Target introduced a recommendation engine that uses AI to provide relevant and personalised recommendations in real-time.

Marketers provide the context for what kind of recommendations to provide, then Adobe Target analyses millions of data points to recommend the most relevant items from the company’s catalogue, such as:

  • Products
  • Media
  • Articles
  • Further reading/related articles

Adobe Target’s recommendation engine lets you define the audience, criteria and design for recommendations.

  • Audience – You can use existing audiences (and those brought over from Adobe Experience Cloud) or one of 14 built-in audiences.
  • Criteria – Think of criteria like a recipe (albeit a highly advanced one) that determines which content, product or service recommendations a visitor receives.
  • Design – Adobe Target features 10 built-in design templates, or you can create your own design for recommendations.

Read more about implementing Adobe Target’s recommendation engine here.

Traffic Allocation

Allocating traffic during the A/B test can be managed in two ways within Adobe Target:

  1. Manual/user defined – This is set by the user when building the A/B test and is based on percentage splits between each experience. For example, 50% of visitors to Experience A and 50% to Experience B is the default method.
  2. Auto-allocate – This option automatically allocates traffic to the best-performing experience. Adobe Test and Target will split the traffic equally between each experience and after a period of analysis, will allocate the traffic to the best performing experience, based on the goals for the A/B test. This option is commonly used when there is a revenue-based goal such as an e-commerce order or an online donation.

Goals & Reporting

Alongside its leading Test and Target features, the platform has in-built reporting capabilities to track the performance of each A/B test. Goals are split into three measures:

  1. Conversion – Viewed a specific page(s) or clicked a specific element(s)
  2. Revenue – Revenue per visitor or order.
  3. Engagement – Page views or time spent on the site.

A primary goal is set for each A/B test which is used in the auto-allocate traffic allocation mentioned above (if selected). Multiple additional metrics can also be added.

An example of a primary goal could be:

  • The visitor reached the order confirmation page;

and a supporting additional metric could be:

  • The visitor viewed the account details page.

Managing Tests

When planning A/B tests, it’s important to avoid conflicts between multiple tests, and it’s worth considering any upcoming events or campaigns that could impact the measurement of success of each test.

How long an Adobe Target A/B test should run for varies depending on the number of experiences included in that test, the traffic volume and the type of allocation. In general, lower traffic volumes or tests with more than two experiences, usually require longer test durations.

We hope this brief Adobe Target A/B testing tutorial has given you a better understanding of how Adobe Test and Target features works. Once you get to grips with all the platform’s features then it can help you enhance the performance of your campaigns considerably.

Learn about TAP CXM’s Adobe Target training services.


Related posts