Seize the Moment: Real-Time Marketing with Triggers

More and more companies today are recognizing the importance of the customer experience. From a certain perspective, Customer Experience Management (CXM) seems a fairly intuitive concept. However, with the growing number of digital channels, constantly evolving marketing technologies, and the wide variety of touchpoints enabling consumers to connect with brands throughout the purchasing process, it is becoming harder for businesses to meet customer expectations.

In such an environment, and as it becomes more important to provide the best possible experience in a timely manner, real-time customer experience has become a core element of effective CXM.

Here we focus on “Triggers,” an important service used in real-time marketing. As one of the core services of Adobe Experience Cloud, triggers are basically used with four types of events. Let’s take a brief look at how to use these different triggers, as well as the marketing scenarios in which they can be applied.


According to recent statistics, the virtual shopping cart abandonment rate — when shoppers add products to an online cart but leave the site without purchasing anything — reaches 70% on average. Having worked hard to attract potential customers to their site through search engine marketing and search engine optimization, marketers can only feel frustrated by this figure.

There are numerous reasons for cart abandonment, including added costs due to shipping charges or taxes or complicated payment processes, or the customer may simply have been distracted by a more urgent task. For these reasons, remarketing — re-engaging customers to win back lost sales through the use of real-time data — is becoming one of the most effective strategies for improving conversion rates.

Abandonment is the first type of event for which triggers are used. When an event occurs that meets your specified criteria for abandonment, additional metadata for sending a personalized message (for example, information about the selected product, the customer’s region, pages viewed, time spent on site) is saved in real time and delivered to an outbound channel marketing solution such as Adobe Campaign.

You can define abandonment criteria according to behaviors you wish to monitor (such as adding items to a cart), behaviors you don’t want to monitor (such as purchase information) or, in the case of no action by the customer, how much time they spent on the site before abandonment. Some typical examples of monitored behaviors in a remarketing campaign can provide the marketer with data about customers who leave their site after searching a particular product, view only certain pages, or perform specific actions.

Abandonment also gives the marketer information such as “Likelihood of returning in 30 days,” a feature not provided in our other types of triggers. This sort of information relates to the “propensity score,” which shows the chances of a customer returning to the site. Some customers intentionally abandon shopping carts to receive incentives when they come back to your site. The propensity score algorithm can identify customers who need incentives and those who don’t, thereby helping to prevent lost sales.


Let’s look at the second type of event: “actions.” These triggers tell you when visitors fall into a particular segment or engage in specific actions while they are on your site. Whereas abandonment triggers are set to monitor whether a visitor undertakes additional activities during a set time period, actions are event-driven, immediately triggering marketing activities that meet your specified criteria.

Let’s say a visitor to your site uses the search function to find information about a certain product. If the visitor searches the results page more than three times, chances are high the page did not show satisfactory results, meaning the visitor needs help to find the desired information. In this case, a preset actions trigger fires either to recommend a personal, one-on-one consultation to the customer or to relay the product search results page to the relevant department for search engine optimization or to fix a possible indexing problem. Other real-time triggers can also be configured for all sorts of criteria to delight customers with the best possible experience.

Session start, session end

Our final two triggers are “session start” and “session end.” These triggers will fire when a visitor starts or ends a browsing session. The criteria for a session-start event can be set to show how long it takes for a new event to occur after a session starts, and the criteria for a session-end event might show when an event occurs at the end of a session. You can add various metadata to personalize content and conduct a wide range of marketing activities.

For example, session-start triggers can be used in a campaign targeting only customers who are currently visiting your website. The moment a user lands on your site, event triggers will issue coupons that might only be valid until the session ends, encouraging the customer to make purchases while on the site.

Session-end triggers can be set to fire in coordination with session start to invalidate the discount coupons issued at the time of session start. These triggers can also generate metadata on visitor activity, allowing you to create engaging remarketing content and entice customers back to your website.

For your own real-time marketing campaigns, applications of triggers are virtually unlimited. You’ll undoubtedly come up with all kinds of ideas to improve your customers’ experiences based on their specific needs. We hope this helps you successfully deploy triggers as an effective marketing tool to better connect your brand’s unique characteristics with customer attributes and provide your customers with the optimum experience on your website.