How we reimagined the user experience in Adobe Advertising Cloud

By Janelle Kim

Posted on 10-28-2020

When is the last time part of your daily life was redesigned and centered with you in mind? For Adobe Advertising Cloud users, they won’t have to think far back.

Our new campaign management experience within the Advertising UI, called, “Campaign Home,” was built hand-in-hand with our users. We wanted to create more efficient and customizable daily workflows and with faster insights. Spoiler alert: our beta testers saved up to 25 percent of their time managing campaigns, compared to non-beta testers!

Today, we’re sharing a behind the scenes look at how we reimagined our campaign management experience.

Adobe Advertising Cloud

Where programmatic meets media. All media.

Learn more

Out with the old, in the with the U…ser research

This project’s original approach was reflected in its previous name, “UI Refresh,” where the scope included an update solely to the look and feel. As the process unfolded, we decided to connect directly with our users to identify additional potential improvement areas.

There was a large task ahead of us – based on data at the start of our project, we had more questions than answers:

The answers to these questions started with understanding the people who use Advertising Cloud day in and day out. That also meant understanding the daily pains of campaign management and going deep to work out a solution.

Our Adobe design team’s first and most significant step was developing a thorough research plan over 18 months ago to explore how our users interact with Advertising Cloud and observe their entire workflow process. Users sat down with us in-person and virtually to share their problems and feature requests that supported their business goals. Then we developed solutions for testing in partnership with our product and engineering teams and aligned every enhancement with our design system, Adobe Spectrum.

As we dug deep after listening to how we could make our users’ lives easier in Advertising Cloud, we saw it was about more than a simple UI refresh. Christopher Bell, director of product management, saw an opportunity to fundamentally change how we think about approaching new features.

Pull Quote

“Our rethinking didn’t stop with research. Engineering, design, and product came together to build an extensible platform where we can continue to build and grow while delivering new value to our users.”

Christopher Bell, director of product management, Adobe

In the past, we assessed and fixed specific usability issues, rolled out the updated features, and then tested them with users. But we knew we couldn’t approach Campaign Home the same way, and we are glad we didn’t.

We listened, we observed, and we learned from our users. The result? We uncovered three substantial insights through our design-led research process:

1. Efficiency over everything

Our users prioritized efficiency and getting the job done over our app’s simplicity. We learned that our workflows needed to be intuitive and designed for scale, especially for media traders who manage a large number of campaigns at any given point.

2. Customization is key

The second insight was that we needed to build something that was “flexible to all kinds of advertisers.” Incorporating a broad research pool of media traders from both brands and agencies and across various geographic locations highlighted each user’s varying goals, workflows, and values.

Our senior design manager Dan McKinley said it best: “Every advertiser is different. We did not try to make a one-size-fits-all. ”

3. Fetch faster insights

Because media traders juggle multiple KPIs, they consistently track and filter through large data sets to stay in control of their campaigns. Their workflows often involve combining data in our app and outside it to tie it back to complex business goals. To gather insights quicker and easier, we designed multiple new features, including data table visualizations, advanced filter capabilities, and “sticky” settings that enable users to save and re-use custom dashboards.

Now to the good stuff.

According to our platform analytics, we have seen up to 25 percent more efficiency with beta users after turning our insights into tangible designs and features, compared to non-beta users completing the same activities.

Throughout the development process, we continued to share prototypes and conduct usability tests with users to incorporate their feedback and bring their first-hand perspectives into our solution. We wanted to ensure they had a voice and felt like they made an impact throughout our research and design process.

When it came time to final user testing, one of our users, Kevin Drexler at Hearts & Science, said, “It was awesome that you were so involved with hearing what we have to say. That’s something I didn’t experience [before].”

Bring it to the masses

To scale introducing Campaign Home to all our users, we designed a “first-mile experience.” We heard from our users that they want to learn independently and not undergo formal training for new product changes.

Rather than simply inform users on changes through plain text on specific pages, our users learn best by doing. So we chose an interactive, tutorial-style approach with step-by-step clickable images, video, and text.

Pull Quote

“We wanted to make sure users felt confident and knew where to go and how to do things with minimal or no outside explanation. We intentionally created our experience to be free of extensive help documentation or wordy emailed instructions. Our users should be able to log in and get up and running quickly.”

Wenjing Yang, senior experience designer, Adobe

We feel confident we have delivered on making our campaign management experience more efficient, customizable, and with faster insights through our design-led research. And the even better news? We’ll continue to listen and learn and strive to make every day easier for our users.

Together we are changing the way we work, and today, we are kicking it off to bring our Campaign Home experience to all users.

Topics: Digital Transformation, Advertising, Customer Acquisition, Marketing, Experience Cloud, no-interlinks, Design, Research & Trends

Products: Advertising Cloud, Dimension,