Adobe Target Standard Observation

So for some reason we’re still using Adobe Target Standard. Every time I use the tool it seems like so much of the vision of the tool is almost complete. It really tells a story of the tool – and this may be completely wrong. When developing SaaS it’s important to be really good at one thing. For most SaaS in their infancy, you’re either good at one thing or you’re good at nothing. Adobe Target Standard seemingly tries to be good at everything – and as a result, it’s not good at anything.

The latest case study is the basic functionality of trying to run a test with URL A vs. URL B. This should be mind-numbingly simple. In fact, I can write up 3 lines of JavaScript to split traffic evenly between these two URL’s and even have a way to measure it. This isn’t possible with Target. What should be a simple “Change URL” for the variant option doesn’t exist:

activity url

Pay no attention to that “Advanced” section – it’s just another feature that sorta works.

So what does this say about the team building it? Better yet, what might it say about the product manager? To me, it says they have their tail between their legs trying to churn out feature after feature without spending any real time making them robust. I’m not underestimating the amount of physical work that it takes to make a reliable, functional tool… but we’re talking about Adobe here – not some shovelware shop in Bangladesh.

It’s easy for me to point and say “That was a missed opportunity right there!” but the way this is being built to seemingly satisfy the squeakiest wheel is like bringing a go-kart to a stock car race. In other words:

  • If you don’t include basic A/B functionality like switching URL’s, don’t release the product.
  • If you can’t assign basic click tracking goals to anything other than an anchor tag, don’t release the product.
  • If the visual experience interface is miles behind your biggest competitor and offers nothing new or original, don’t release the product.
  • If there is no clear, easy way to test on pages behind a password/checkout wall, don’t release the product.
  • If basic engagement metrics like bounce rate cannot be set as a goal… well, you should probably get on that.

Making quality products takes people, time, and money. I think a company as large as Adobe has a surplus of each of those. Why not leverage those resources and be the best at something instead of mediocre at everything?

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