Love your data: online advertising and CRM integration

In a recent blog post, ‘Love your data: online adver­tis­ing and web ana­lyt­ics inte­gra­tion’, I dis­cussed how to show your data more love and get more bang for your Ana­lyt­ics buck.

Now let’s explore how you can take that rela­tion­ship to the next level.

Oh yes, we’re talk­ing the infa­mous ‘C’ word … CRM data.

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 Media Opti­miz­er.

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).

adobe ID

It’s a match made in Ana­lyt­ics heaven.

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 Media Opti­miz­er, 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 Media Opti­miz­er for more impact­ful paid advertising.

So go on, take the plunge. Com­mit to your data, con­nect it with your CRM infor­ma­tion, and take your rela­tion­ship with your cus­tomers and your rev­enue to a whole new level.