Adding a control group

You can use control groups to avoid sending messages to a portion of your audience in order to measure the impact of your campaigns.

To do this in Adobe Campaign, create a control group when defining the target of your delivery. Profiles are added to the control group randomly, filtered or not, or based on criteria.

You will then be able to compare the behavior of the target population which did receive the message with the behavior of contacts which were not targeted. Based on the sending logs, you can also target a control group in future campaigns.

Overview

The control group can be extracted randomly from the main target and/or selected from a specific population. Consequently, there are two main ways you can define a control group:

  • Extract a number of profiles from the main target.
  • Exclude some profiles based on criteria defined in a query.

You can use both methods when defining a control group.

All profiles being part of the control group at the delivery preparation step will be removed from the main target. They will not receive the message once it is sent.

Extracting from the target population

To define a control group, you can choose to extract, randomly or based on a sorting, a percentage or a fixed number of profiles from the target population.

Target extraction

First, define the way the profiles will be extracted from the target: randomly or based on a sorting.

Under the Target extraction section, select one of the following:

  • Random sampling: when preparing the delivery, Adobe Campaign will randomly extract a number of profiles corresponding to the percentage or to the maximum number that you will set as the size limit.

    For example, if you then set the threshold to 10 in the Limits section, the control group will be made up of 10% selected randomly from the targeted population.

  • Keep only the first records after sorting: this option enables you to define a limitation based on one or more sorting orders.

    For example:

    • Select the Age field as a sorting criterion.
    • Define 100 as the threshold in the Limits section (see Size limit).
    • Leave the Descending sort option checked.

    As a result, the control group will be made up of the 100 oldest recipients.

    It can be interesting to define a control group that includes profiles who make few or frequent purchases, and to compare their behavior with that of the contacted recipients.

NOTE

Select No extraction if you do not want to use the Target extraction option.

Size limit

Whether you selected Random sampling or Keep only the first records after sorting, you must set how you are going to limit the number of profiles that you extract from the main target. Do one of the following:

  • Select Size (as a % of the initial population) and fill in the corresponding frame.

    For example, if you set 10, depending on the option you selected above, Adobe Campaign will either:

    • Randomly extract 10% of the target population.
    • If you selected the Age field as a sorting criterion, extract the 10% oldest profiles from the target population.
    NOTE

    If you uncheck the Descending sort option, the 10% youngest profiles will be extracted.

  • Select Maximum size and fill in the corresponding frame.

    For example, if you set 100, Adobe Campaign will either:

    • Randomly extract 100 profiles from the target population.
    • If you selected the Age field as a sorting criterion, extract the 100 oldest profiles from the target population.
    NOTE

    If you uncheck the Descending sort option, the 100 youngest profiles will be extracted.

Excluding a specific population

Another way to define a control group is to exclude a specific population from the target using a query.

To do this:

  1. From the Target exclusion section, click Define target exclusion.

  2. Define the exclusion criteria using the query editor. You can also select an audience that was previously created.

  3. Click Confirm.

The profiles matching the result of the query will be excluded from the target.

Use case: set up a control group

Below is an example showing how to define a control group using both methods: extracting profiles from the main target and using a query to exclude a specific population.

  1. Create a workflow. The detailed steps to create a workflow are presented in the Building a workflow section.

  2. In Activities > Targeting, drag and drop a Query activity. Double-click the activity and define your target.

  3. In Activities > Channels, drag and drop an Email delivery activity after the main target segment and edit it.

  4. Click the Audience block from the delivery dashboard.

  5. Select the Control group tab.

  6. From the Target extraction section, select Keep only the first records after sorting.

  7. Sort on the age and leave the Descending sort option checked.

  8. Set 100 as the maximum size. The 100 oldest profiles from your target will be extracted.

  9. From the Target exclusion section, define the profiles that will be excluded from your target, based on the criteria of your choice using the query editor. For example, “Age is less than 20”.

    The profiles whose age is under 20 will be excluded.

  10. Launch the delivery preparation and confirm the send.

The profiles that were extracted (the 100 oldest profiles) and the ones that were defined based on the query (profiles under 20) will be withdrawn from the main target. They will not receive the message.

Comparing the results

Now that you sent your delivery, what can you do with the control group?

You can extract the sending logs to compare how the control group that did not receive the communication acted compared to the effective target. You can also use the delivery logs to build another targeting.

IMPORTANT

You need to have an Administrator role and to be part of the All organizational unit to be able to connect to Adobe Campaign. If you would like to restrict access for a particular user or group of users, do not link it to All units to be able to access delivery logs.

Checking the delivery logs

To see which profiles were removed from the target after the message was sent, check the Delivery logs. For more on the delivery logs and how to access them, see this section.

  • In the Sending logs tab, you can see the extracted and excluded profiles. They have the Ignored status and Control group as the reason of failure.

  • You can also check the Exclusion causes tab to see the number of profiles that were not included in the delivery.

Using the control group logs

Once the delivery was sent, you can use the delivery logs to filter on the profiles that did not receive the message. Follow the steps below:

  1. Create a workflow. The detailed steps to create a workflow are presented in the Building a workflow section.

  2. In Activities > Targeting, drag and drop a Query activity.

  3. In the Properties tab, set Delivery logs as the Resource and Profile as the Targeting dimension.

  4. In the Target tab, click Delivery logs.

  5. Drag and drop Status and select Ignored as the filter condition.

  6. Click Confirm.

  7. Still in the Target tab, drag and drop Nature of failure and select Control group as the filter condition.

  8. Click Confirm.

You can then export the log data using an Extract file activity followed by a Transfer file activity for example. This will allow you to analyze in your own reporting tool the results of your campaign on the effective target compared to the control group. For more on exporting logs, see this section.

Targeting the control group

To do a targeting based on the profiles that did not receive the message, you can also use the delivery logs. Follow the steps below:

  1. Create a workflow. The detailed steps to create a workflow are presented in the Building a workflow section.

  2. In Activities > Targeting, drag and drop a first Query activity.

  3. In the Properties tab, make sure the Profile resource is selected as the Resource and Targeting dimension.

  4. In the Target tab, expand Delivery and drag and drop Delivery logs.

  5. In the Add a rule window, drag and drop Delivery.

  6. Select the email you sent as the filter condition. Click Confirm.

  7. Back in the Add a rule window, drag and drop Status and select Ignored as the filter condition. Click Confirm.

  8. Drag and drop Nature of failure and select Control group as the filter condition. Click Confirm.

  9. Make sure the conditions are all aligned with the AND boolean operator.

  10. Click Confirm.

You can now target the profiles that did not receive your first message because they were part of the control group and send them another email.

In the same workflow, you can also create another query to target the profiles that did receive the email and send them a different message.

On this page