Last update: 2023-03-15

Criteria in Adobe Target Recommendations are rules that determine which products or content to recommend based on a predetermined set of visitor behaviors. Criteria can be based on popular trends, a visitor’s current and past behaviors, or similar products and content. You can test multiple recommendation types against each other by adding multiple criteria.

The following sections explain more about criteria keys and the recommendation logic you can use for each key. Click the links for more detailed information.

Industry Vertical

While creating a criteria, you select an industry vertical based on the goals of your recommendations activity.

Industry Vertical Goal
Retail/Ecommerce Conversion resulting in purchase
Lead Generation/B2B/Financial Services Conversion with no purchase
Media/Publishing Engagement

Other criteria options change based on the industry vertical you select. You can set your default industry vertical on the Recommendations > Settings page or you can specify the industry vertical for each criteria.

Algorithm Type

The algorithm type you select determines the available algorithms. There are several algorithm types, which are represented as criteria cards when you set up a Recommendations activity.

Criteria page

The following table explains the various algorithm types and their accompanying algorithms.

Algorithm type When to use Available algorithms
Cart-Based Make recommendations based on the user’s cart contents.
  • People Who Viewed These, Viewed Those
  • People Who Viewed These, Bought Those
  • People Who Bought These, Bought Those
For more information, see Cart-Based in Base the recommendation on a recommendation key.
Popularity-Based Make recommendations based on the overall popularity of an item across your site or based on the popularity of items within a user’s favorite or most-viewed category, brand, genre, and so forth.
  • Most Viewed Across the Site
  • Most Viewed by Category
  • Most Viewed by Item Attribute
  • Top Sellers Across the Site
  • Top Sellers by Category
  • Top Sellers by Item Attribute
  • Top by Analytics Metric
Item-Based Make recommendations based on finding similar items to an item that the user is currently viewing or has recently viewed.
  • People Who Viewed This, Viewed That
  • People Who Viewed This, Bought That
  • People Who Bought This, Bought That
  • Items with Similar Attributes
User-Based Make recommendations based on the user’s behavior.
  • Recently Viewed Items
  • Recommended for You
Custom Criteria Make recommendations based on a custom file you upload.
  • Custom Algorithm

For more information about each algorithm, see Base the recommendation on a recommendation key.

Using a custom recommendation key

You can also base recommendations on the value of a custom profile attribute.


Custom profile parameters can be passed to Target through JavaScript, API, or integrations. For more information about custom profile attributes, see Visitor profiles.

For example, suppose that you want to display recommended movies based on the movie that a user most recently added to the queue.

  1. Click Recommendations > Criteria.

  2. Click Create Criteria > Create Criteria.

  3. Fill in the information in the Basic Information section.

  4. In the Recommended Algorithm section, select Item Based from the Algorithm Type list.

  5. Select People Who Viewed This, Viewed That from the Algorithm list.

  6. Select your custom profile attribute from the Recommendation Key list (for example, Last Show Added to Watchlist).

    Create New Criteria dialog box

Viewing criteria information

You can view criteria details on a pop-up card by hovering over a card and by clicking the Information icon on a criteria card without opening the criteria.

Criteria Card hover

Click the Algorithm Info tab to view general information about the selected criteria, including its Name, Descriptions, Industry Vertical, Page Type(s), Recommendation Key, Recommendation Logic, and Algorithm ID.

Algorithm Info tab

Click the Algorithm Usage tab to view a list of activities that reference the selected criteria. The card lists active, inactive, and draft activities. Click the Live Activities/Inactive Activities/Draft Activities drop-down lists to view the entire list of activities that reference that criteria. You can click the activity link to open the activity for editing.

Algorithm Usage tab


The Algorithm Usage feature is currently supported for Recommendations activities only. This feature is not currently supported for A/B Test, Auto-Allocate, Auto-Target, and Experience Targeting (XT) activities that include recommendations as an offer.

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