Use the update list activity to create a list with a workflow

Understand the concept of lists in Adobe Campaign and learn how to create a list using the update list activity in a workflow.

Welcome to Adobe Campaign. In this video, you’ll learn how to describe a list, create a list using best practices, and create a list in a workflow. A list is a static set of profiles that can be targeted in a delivery. Although lists can also contain non-profile type data, the most common use case of a list is for profiles. There are two types of lists that can be created, the group-type list and the list-type list, and they differ in how they’re populated. The group type is manually created and populated in the client-console user interface. This list type is populated using a workflow. After executing the target queries within a workflow, the list update activity is used to store the resulting population into a list. You can either create a new list or repopulate an existing list. The lists can then be used as a target for delivery either downstream in the same workflow or within another campaign workflow. Since lists are static, they should only be used to pre-compute recurring queries. For example, a marketer may use the same query to determine a target population for multiple campaigns, and these campaigns may be recurring as well. Instead of executing the same query multiple times, the better approach is to run the query once, store the population in a list, and reuse the list instead of querying the database each time. Using a list avoids querying the database each time the query needs to be executed, therefore requiring less system resources. Also, it avoids executing the query within the campaign workflow, which results in a more efficient workflow. Since lists are static, they need to be updated regularly. To do this, create a workflow that executes the query and schedule it to execute after the data loading workflows. This way, after new profiles are loaded into the database, the lists are updated with any new profiles that meet the criteria for the query. Finally, as a general best practice, it’s best to limit the use of lists. For every list that’s created, a table is created in the database. Therefore, the size of the database is impacted by the number of lists which can also impact the overall system performance. Only use a list if significant performance is gained, like in the case of a recurring query. Also, for that same reason, lists should be expired when they’re no longer needed in order to clear up space in the database. We can set the expiration date for lists so they’re automatically deleted when no longer needed. In this exercise, we’ll continue to build the workflow called Apparel Sale for Men that we created in previous modules. From the targeting palette, we can scroll down and find the List Update Activity. Next, drag that onto the workflow and attach it to the Exclusion Activity. Once the List Update Activity is in the workflow, double-click the activity. Next, we’re going to change the label to Men under AD or location is LA or New York. There are three options here for creating this list. Specified Explicitly allows you to select a list that already exists. The other two options are both called Create the List if Necessary and they’ll both create a new list if one doesn’t already exist. The difference between the two is that the first one, Computed Name, allows us to select the folder in which we want to create the list and only the name of the list is computed. With the second option, both the folder and the name of the list is computed. We’re going to select Create the List if Necessary and we’re going to pick the folder and compute the name. In the Folder field, select the folder icon and then expand Profiles and Targets and select Lists. Once complete, select OK. Next, we want to add the label Males under AD or location is LA or New York. The option Create or Use a List with its own table will create a table in the database for this list. It’s best practice to use this option as it increases performance, so let’s keep the default and leave the option checked. The option Purge and Reuse the List if it Exists is selected by default and it means that the full list will be replaced with a new list of results. If the option is unchecked, new results will be added to the existing list. Whether to use this option or not depends on the design of our workflow and our business requirements. In this example, we want the list updated with the target population each time the workflow is executed. Therefore, we will keep this option selected. Generally, in a workflow, saving a target population in a list marks the end of the workflow. So by default, the list update activity doesn’t have an outbound transition. However, if we did need to have a transition in our workflow from our list update activity, we could do that by selecting the Generate an Outbound Transition checkbox. In this example, we do not need this option. Instead, let’s select OK. Next, we’re going to start our workflow by selecting Start. Once the workflow is finished, we can see the list update activity executed successfully without errors. This means that our list has been created. This workflow is a great example of our use case for lists. If multiple campaigns need to use the same criteria to determine the target population, the business practitioner would save time and system resources by creating this workflow to generate the target population and save the results as a list. The campaign workflow that sends the deliveries can then use the list as a target population. They don’t need to recreate all the filtering conditions multiple times within each campaign. More importantly, the queries are only executed once, therefore freeing up system resources. Next, let’s take a look at our list. Start by selecting Explorer. Next, open up Profiles and Targets, followed by selecting the List folder. After dragging the label over for visibility, we can see the list we just made. If our list was not populated here, which can happen, select the Refresh button up at the top to refresh our list. Next, let’s double click our list and select the Content tab. We can select the count at the bottom right to view the number of recipients in the list. We can check if the number matches the target population within our workflow, which it does. Next, select the Edit tab. On this tab, we can modify the label and set the internal name. Additionally, we can see that the list type is set to List and the target schema is set to Recipients. Lastly, we have the Expires on drop-down calendar, which is blank. This is not set in the workflow, so we want to make sure we set an expiration here to free up the database with our list. You should now know how to create and manage lists. Thanks for watching.