Activity QA

Use QA URLs in Adobe Target to perform easy end-to-end activity QA with preview links that never change, optional audience targeting, and QA reporting that stays segmented from live activity data.

Activity QA lets you fully test your Target activities before launching them live. The Activity QA functionality includes:

  • Links to share with team members that never change or require regeneration, regardless of updates made to the experiences or activities. This feature lets you fully test your activities across the entire user journey.

  • Audience conditions optionally respected so marketers can test targeting criteria or ignore targeting criteria to QA the appearance of experiences without having to meet the audience conditions.

  • QA reporting is captured so that marketers can confirm that metrics are incrementing as expected and the QA report data is kept separate from production reporting (for non-A4T reporting).

  • The ability to preview an experience in isolation or with other live activities satisfying the delivery criteria (page/Target request/audience).

  • The ability to QA the entire user journey. You can access your site once with the QA link and then browse the entire site while in Activity QA. You remain in Activity QA until you end the session or until you use the QA Target bookmarklet to force yourself out of Activity QA. This feature is useful if you have an activity spanning multiple web pages.

    note note
    This functionality is true for at.js implementations with version 2.x or later. For at.js 1.x implementations, this functionality is true only if the visitor’s browser doesn’t block third-party cookies.

Accessing and Sharing a QA URL section_1C59BAA247B247BDB125D1BE8EAD4547

  1. From an activity’s Overview page, click Activity QA.

    Activity QA link

  2. Configure the following settings:

    QA Link configuration options

    • Match audience rules to see experiences: Sometimes you want to confirm that your audience matching works. Other times you want to check the look and feel of the activity. If this setting is toggled to the “on” position, testers must meet targeting requirements to qualify to see the experiences. For Experience Targeting (XT) activities, a single activity URL is provided. The experience you see is determined by you qualifying for one of the targeting rules.

      If this setting is toggled to the “off” position, clicking the links show you the experiences regardless of whether you qualify or not. When performing QA, you can switch back and forth between requiring or not requiring that audience targeting is respected.

    • Show default content for all other activities: If this option is toggled to the “on” position, default content is shown for all other activities. For example, the preview is shown in isolation without considering all other live activities on the same page/Target request.

      If this setting is toggled to “off,” consider the following:

      • If there are collisions between the activity you are testing and other live activities, normal priority rules apply. Because of collisions, it is possible you cannot see the activity that you are intending to QA.
      • Metrics increment for the viewed activities, but only in the QA reporting environment.
  3. Click Done to save your changes.

  4. Share the activity link URLs with members of your organization for testing.

    Activity links never expire and you do not need to resend links if someone changes an activity or experience. However, if you apply a different audience from the Audience Library, rather than simply editing the activity, a new link is generated that you must share again.

    Each Activity link URL (for Experience A, Experience B, and so forth) lets you start the user journey from the corresponding experience. Click the URL generated for an experience and then proceed with normal site browsing to see experiences on multiple pages (if multiple pages exist). Only one URL is generated per experience, even if the experience spans multiple pages (template testing or multi-page testing).

    You can navigate the site to see the other pages because the Activity QA mode is sticky. This situation is true for at.js implementations with version 2.x or later. For at.js 1.x implementations, this situation is true only if the visitor’s browser doesn’t block third-party cookies.

  5. To see reports generated from activity link URLs, click the activity’s Reports page, click the Settings icon ( icon_gear image ), then select QA Mode Traffic from the Environment drop-down list.

Releasing yourself from QA mode

Activity QA is sticky. After you browse a website in Activity QA, your Target session must expire or you must have Target release you from Activity QA before you can view your site like a typical visitor.

at.js 2.x

If your site has at.js 2.x deployed, use the Target QA bookmarklet to force yourself out of Activity QA. Loading a page on your site with an empty value, as described in the next bullet, does not remove the QA cookie from the browser when at.js 2.x is deployed.

at.js 1.x

If your site has at.js 1.x deployed, in addition to using the Target QA bookmarklet, you can also manually force yourself out by loading a page on your site with the at_preview_token parameter with an empty value. For example,

Adobe Experience Platform Web SDK

If your site has the Platform Web SDK deployed, you can manually force yourself out by loading a page on your site with the at_qa_mode parameter with an empty value. For example,

Considerations section_B256EDD7BFEC4A6DA72A8A6ABD196D78

  • Because Activity QA is now available for all Target activity types, the “Preview Automated Personalization activities with experience preview URLs” feature is no longer necessary.

  • Activity QA preview links for saved activities might not load if there are too many saved activities in your account. Retrying the preview links should work. To prevent this situation from continuing to happen, archive saved activities that are no longer actively used.

  • Activity QA URLs are available with activities with Analytics as the reporting source (A4T). Hits generated while performing QA using Activity QA flow to the same report suite where the activity’s data flows even after the activity goes live.

  • Activity QA does not display content for archived activities or activities that are past their end dates. If you deactivate an ended activity, you must save the activity again for Activity QA to work.

  • Activities imported into Target Standard/Premium (from Target Classic, for example) do not support QA URLs.

  • In Auto-Allocate and Recommendations activities, the model is not affected by the visits captured in Activity QA.

  • If you specified “URL is” while creating the activity refinements in the Form-based Composer or page delivery options in the Visual Experience Composer), the QA URL does not work because Activity QA appends URL parameters. To solve this issue, click the QA URL to go to your site, remove the appended parameters from the URL, then load the new URL.

  • If you have at.js 1.x, Activity QA mode is not sticky if you use Safari or another browser that blocks 3rd-party cookies. In these cases, you must add the preview parameters to each URL you navigate to. The same is true if you have implemented CNAME.

  • If an activity uses multiple experience audiences (for example, a US and UK site that are included in the same activity), QA links are not generated for the four combinations (Experience A/US Site, Experience A/UK Site, Experience B/US Site, Experience B/UK Site). Only two QA links (Experience A and Experience B) are created and users must qualify for the appropriate audience to see the page. A UK QA person cannot see the US site.

  • All at_preview parameters and values are already URL encoded. Most of the time, everything works as expected. However, some customers must load balancers or Web servers that try to encode the query string parameters again.

    Because of this double encoding, when Target tries to decode the at_preview_token, Target can’t extract the correct token value, resulting in preview not working.

    Adobe recommends that you talk to your IT team to ensure that all preview parameters are allowlisted so that these values are not transformed in any way.

    The following table lists the parameters that can be allowlisted in your domain:

    table 0-row-4 1-row-4 2-row-4 3-row-4 4-row-4 5-row-4 6-row-4 7-row-4
    Parameter Type Value Description
    at_preview_token Encrypted string Mandatory; no default value An encrypted entity that contains the list of campaigns IDs that are can be executed in QA mode.
    at_preview_index String Empty Format of the parameter is <campaignIndex> or <campaignIndex>_< experienceIndex>
    Both indexes start with 1.
    at_preview_listed_activities_only Boolean (true/false) Default value: false If “true,” all campaigns specified in the at_preview_index parameters are processed.
    If “false,” all the campaigns from the page are processed, even if they were not specified in the preview token.
    at_preview_evaluate_as_true_audience_ids String Empty Underscore-separated (“_”) list of segmentId-s that should always (at targeting and reporting level) be evaluated as “true” in the scope of the Target request.
    _AT_Debug String Window or console Console logging or new window.
    adobe_mc_ref Passes the referring URL of the default page to the new page. When used with AppMeasurement.js version 2.1 (or later), Adobe Analytics uses this parameter value as the referring URL on the new page.
    adobe_mc_sdid Passes the Supplemental Data Id (SDID) and Experience Cloud Org Id from the default page to the new page. Passing these IDs allow Analytics for Target (A4T) to “stitch” together the Target request on the default page with the Analytics request on the new page.
  • The Target QA Mode UI shows only the first URL of an experience in a multi-page activity. The assumption is that you are creating a journey test and you move from URL1 to URL2. However, if you want to go to URL2 independently, copy all the URL parameters provided against URL1 and apply them to URL2 after placing a “?” just like you see in URL1.

  • Activity QA preview links for saved activities might not load if there are too many saved activities in your account. Retry the preview links. Archive saved activities that are no longer actively used to prevent this issue from continuing to happen.

Target JavaScript library QA Mode compatibility compatibility

Target supports the following JavaScript libraries:

The following table lists the various activity types and indicates whether Activity QA mode is supported for each library:

Activity type
at.js 1.x
at.js 2.x
Platform Web SDK
A/B Test
Automated Personalization (AP)
Experience Targeting (XT)
Multivariate Test (MVT)