After you’ve created your Recommendations, A/B Test, or Experience Targeting (XT) activity containing Recommendations offers, you’ll want to preview your recommendations to ensure that results are available before launching the activity. Target Recommendations offers multiple ways to preview your recommendations.
After creating an activity, Recommendations runs an algorithm to generate recommendations. This algorithm might take a few hours to run.
You can check whether the algorithm has finished running in the Activity overview diagram, where the criteria status is listed. The following illustration shows the status in the activity diagram on a Recommendations activity’s Overview page:
The following illustration depicts the status on an A/B Test or XT activity’s Overview page:
Status results include the following, as illustrated below:
After saving an activity containing a criteria, Target computes recommendations based on the selected collection, criteria, design, and promotions. This computation takes some time to perform and the time-frame differs based on the selected recommendation logic, data range, number of items in your catalog, amount of behavioral data your customers have generated, and the selected behavioral data source.
The behavioral data source has the largest impact on processing time, as follows:
If mboxes is selected as the behavioral data source, once created, the criteria immediately runs. Depending on the amount of behavioral data used and the size of the catalog, the algorithm can take up to 12 hours to run. Making changes to the criteria configuration generally results in the algorithm re-running. Depending on the change made, the previously computed recommendations might not be available until a re-run is complete, or for larger changes, only backup or default content is available until a re-run is complete. If an algorithm is not modified, it is automatically re-run by Target every 12-48 hours, depending on the selected data range.
If the criteria uses Adobe Analytics as the behavioral data source, once created, the time for criteria availability depends on whether the selected report suite and lookback window has been used for any other criteria.
Recently Viewed Items requires no offline algorithm run and results are instantly available. Top Viewed and Top Sellers algorithms based on mbox data generally produce results very quickly due to the simpler computation required. These can be good options when you want to preview a design change or confirm that behavioral data are being collected correctly.
After the algorithm has results ready, you can preview those results using the QA link functionality of Adobe Target. QA links are available in the Activity QA section of the Activity overview page:
By default, Target automatically adds you to the required audience for the QA link. If this setting is turned off and your activity has targeting rules, your user profile needs to meet those targeting rules to see the experience containing recommendations.
Using a QA link allows you to preview the recommendations on your page:
Target QA mode is “sticky” and saved in a cookie. If you do not exit QA mode, you’ll keep seeing the QA results throughout the site. To exit QA mode, use the bookmarklet.
While in QA mode, browsing the site will not affect your profile’s Recently Viewed Items or Recently Purchased Items. This behavior occurs by design to avoid unintentional pollution of production behavioral data. To preview results from a Recently Viewed Items or User-Based Recommendations criteria, first browse the site outside of QA mode, then use the same session to open a QA mode link.
In some cases, you might want to audit the specific items that are recommended. This is particularly helpful when using algorithms like People Who Viewed This, Viewed That, where a different set of items are recommended depending on the item the user is currently viewing, and you might have thousands or millions of different items in your catalog.
Results are not available for download until a Results Ready status is shown for at least one algorithm in the activity.
To download results for preview, click the menu icon in the upper-right hand corner of the Activity overview page, then click Download data.
A CSV file is download. Open it to see the recommended items:
From left to right is a list of recommended items, in this case the most frequently viewed. The recommendations are separated by environment, in this case only the Production environment has recommendations. For this algorithm, we have not applied any restrictions based on key value, so the row labeled with an asterisk (*) contains the complete set of recommendations. For other algorithm types based on a key value, such as People Who Viewed This, Viewed That, the key values (i.e. the “This” items) are listed in the left-most column and the recommended items (i.e. the “That” items) are listed left-to-right in the Recommendation_X columns.
Results downloads are not available for activities containing a User-Based Recommendations algorithm. Results downloads are not available for criteria using the Recently-Viewed Items recommendation logic.
From the Activity Overview tab, click the drop-down arrow next to the status, then select Activate.
Note that the status becomes Activating:
After a few seconds to a couple of minutes, the status switches to Live:
Note that you can also deactivate or archive the activity using the same drop-down list.
Changing Recommendations collections, criteria, promotions, or design settings in a live activity might result in the algorithm results becoming invalid and the status of an algorithm changing to Results Not Ready.
To avoid disrupting a live activity, we recommend taking the following approach when modifying a live activity:
If you need to retain historical reporting results in the same activity, an alternative approach is possible, which might result in a temporary disruption to recommendations availability: