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Segment Builder user guide

Adobe Experience Platform Segmentation Service provides a RESTful API and user interface for creating segment definitions from Real-time Customer Profile data.

Getting started

Working with segment definitions requires an understanding of the various Experience Platform services involved with segmentation. Before reading this user guide, please review the documentation for the following services:
  • Segmentation Service : Segmentation Service allows you divide data stored in Experience Platform that relates to individuals (such as customers, prospects, users, or organizations) into smaller groups that share similar traits and will respond similarly to marketing strategies.
  • Real-time Customer Profile : Provides a unified, real-time consumer profile based on aggregated data from multiple sources.
  • Identity Service : Enables Real-time Customer Profile by bridging identities from disparate data sources being ingested into Platform.
  • Experience Data Model (XDM) : The standardized framework by which Platform organizes customer experience data.
It is also important to know two key terms that are used through this document and understand the difference between them:
  • Segment definition : The rule set used to describe key characteristics or behaviors of a target audience.
  • Audience : The resulting set of profiles that meet the criteria of a segment definition.

Accessing segment definitions

To begin working with segment definitions in Adobe Experience Platform, click Segments in the left navigation. To see all segment definitions for your organization, click on the Browse tab. This view lists information about the segment definition including the evaluation method, created date, and last modified date.
The evaluation method can either be streaming or batch. Streaming segments are constantly evaluated as data enters the system. Batch segments are evaluated according to a set schedule.
Batch segments have additional information displayed, showing both the last evaluation date as well as the next evaluation date for the batch.
Clicking Create segment in the top-right corner opens the Segment Builder workspace, where you can begin creating a segment definition.

Segment Builder workspace

Segment Builder provides a rich workspace that allows you to interact with Profile data elements. The workspace provides intuitive controls for building and editing rules, such as drag-and-drop tiles used to represent data properties.

Segment definition building blocks

The basic building blocks of segment definitions are Attributes and Events . In addition, the attributes and events contained in existing Audiences can also be used as components for new definitions.
You can see these building blocks in the Fields section on the left side of the Segment Builder workspace. Fields contains a tab for each of the main building blocks: Attributes , Events , and Audiences .


The Attributes tab allows you to browse Profile attributes belonging to the XDM Individual Profile class. Each folder can be expanded to reveal additional attributes, where each attribute is a tile that can be dragged onto the rule builder canvas in the center of the workspace. The rule builder canvas is discussed in more detail later in this guide.


The Events tab allows you to create an audience based on events or actions that took place using XDM ExperienceEvent data elements. You can also find Event Types on the Events tab, which are a collection of commonly used events to enable you to create your segments more quickly.
In addition to being able to browse for ExperienceEvent elements, you can also search for Event Types. Event Types use the same coding logic as ExperienceEvents, without requiring you to search through the XDM ExperienceEvent class looking for the correct event. For example, using the search bar to search "cart" returns the Event Types "AddCart" and "RemoveCart", which are two very commonly used cart actions when building segment definitions.
Any type of component can be searched for by typing its name in the search bar, which uses Lucene's search syntax . The search results begin to populate as entire words are entered. For example, to build a rule based on the XDM field ExperienceEvent.commerce.productViews , start typing “product views” in the search field. Once the word "product" has been typed, search results begin to appear. Each result includes the object hierarchy to which it belongs.
Custom schema fields defined by your organization may take up to 24 hours to appear and become available for use in building rules.
You can then easily drag and drop ExperienceEvents and Event Types into your segment definition.
By default, only populated schema fields from your data store are shown. This includes Event Types. If the Event Types list is not visible, or you are only able to select "Any" as an Event Type, click the gear icon next to Fields , then select Show full XDM schema under Available Fields . Click the gear icon again to return to the Fields tab and you should now be able to view multiple Event Types and schema fields, regardless of whether they contain data or not.


The Audiences tab lists all audiences imported from external sources, such as Adobe Audience Manager, as well as audiences created within Experience Platform.
On the Audiences tab, you can see all of the available sources as a group of folders. As you click into these folders, available sub-folders and audiences can be seen. Additionally, you can click on the folder icon (as shown in the far-right image) in order to view the folder structure (a check mark denotes the folder you are currently in) and easily navigate back through folders by clicking on the name of a folder in the tree.
You can hover over the ⓘ next to an audience to view information about the audience including its ID, description, and the folder hierarchy to locate the audience.
You can also search for Audiences using the search bar, which utilizes Lucene's search syntax . On the Audiences tab, selecting a top-level folder causes the search bar to appear, allowing you to search within that folder. Search results only begin to populate once entire words are entered. For example, to find an Audience named Online Shoppers , start typing "Online" in the search bar. Once the word "Online" has been typed in full, search results containing the word "Online" appear.

Rule builder canvas

A segment definition is a collection of rules used to describe key characteristics or behavior of a target audience. These rules are created using the rule builder canvas , located in the center of Segment Builder.
To add a new rule to your segment definition, drag a tile from the Fields tab and drop it onto the rule builder canvas. You will then be presented with context-specific options according to the type of data being added. Available data types include: strings, dates, ExperienceEvents, Event Types, and Audiences.

Adding audiences

You can drag and drop an audience from the Audience tab onto the rule builder canvas to reference audience membership in the new segment definition. This allows you to include or exclude audience membership as an attribute in the new segment rule.
For Platform audiences created using Segment Builder, you are given the option to convert the audience into the set of rules that were used in the segment definition for that audience. This conversion makes a copy of the rule logic, that can then be modified without affecting the original segment definition. Make sure that you have saved any recent changes to your segment definition before converting it to rule logic.
When adding an audience from an external source, only the audience membership is referenced. You cannot convert the audience to rules, and therefore the rules used to create the original audience cannot be modified in the new segment definition.
If any conflicts arise when convert audiences to rules, Segment Builder will attempt to preserve the existing options to the best of its ability.

Code view

Alternatively, you can view a code-based version of a rule created in the Segment Builder. Once you have created your rule within the rule builder canvas, you can select Code view to see your segment as PQL.
Code view provides a button that allows you to copy the value of the segment to use in API calls. To get the latest version of the segment, make sure you have saved your latest changes to the segment.


Segment rules are evaluated in the order they are listed. Containers allow control over the order of execution through the use of nested queries.
Once you have added at least one tile to the rule builder canvas, you can begin to add containers. To create a new container, click the ellipses (...) in the top-right corner of the tile, then click Add container .
A new container appears as the child of the first container, but you can adjust the hierarchy by dragging and moving the containers. The default behavior of a container is to "Include" the attribute, event, or audience provided. You can set the rule to "Exclude" profiles that match the container criteria by clicking Include in the top-left corner of the tile and selecting "Exclude".
A child container can also be extracted and added inline to the parent container by clicking "unwrap container" on the child container. Click the ellipses (...) in the top-right corner of the child container to access this option.
Once you click Unwrap container the child container is removed and the criteria appear inline.
When unwrapping containers, be careful that the logic continues to meet the desired segment definition.

Merge policies

Experience Platform enables you to bring data together from multiple sources and combine it in order to see a complete view of each of your individual customers. When bringing this data together, merge policies are the rules that Platform uses to determine how data will be prioritized and what data will be combined to create a profile.
You can select a merge policy that matches your marketing purpose for this audience or use the default merge policy provided by Platform. You can create multiple merge policies unique to your organization, including creating your own default merge policy. For step-by-step instructions on creating merge policies for your organization, please see the tutorial on working with merge policies using the UI .
To select a merge policy for your segment definition, click the gear icon on the Fields tab, then use the Merge Policy dropdown menu to select the merge policy that you wish to use.

Segment properties

When building a segment definition, the Segment Properties section on the right-hand side of the workspace displays an estimate of the size of the resulting segment, allowing you to adjust your segment definition as needed before building the audience itself.
The Segment Properties section is also where you can specify important information about your segment definition, including its Name and Description . Segment definition names are used to identify your segment among those defined by your organization and should therefore be descriptive, concise, and unique.
As you continue to build your segment definition, you can view a paginated preview of the audience by selecting View Profiles .
Audience estimates are generated by using a sample size of that day's sample data. If there are less than 1 million entities in your profile store, the full data set is used; for between 1 and 20 million entities, 1 million entities are used; and for over 20 million entities, 5% of the total entities are used. More information about generating segment estimates can be found in the estimate generation section of the segment creation tutorial.

Enable scheduled segmentation

Once segment definitions have been created, you can then evaluate them through on-demand or scheduled (continuous) evaluation. Evaluation means moving Real-time Customer Profile data through segment definitions in order to produce corresponding audiences. Once created, the audiences are saved and stored so that they can be exported using Experience Platform APIs.
On-demand evaluation involves using the API to perform evaluation and build audiences as needed, whereas scheduled evaluation (also known as 'scheduled segmentation') allows you to create a recurring schedule to evaluate segment definitions at a specific time (at a maximum, once daily).
Enabling your segment definitions for scheduled evaluation can be done using the UI or the API. In the UI, return to the Browse tab within Segments and toggle on Evaluate all segments . This will cause all segments to be evaluated based on the schedule set by your organization.
Scheduled evaluation can be enabled for sandboxes with a maximum of five (5) merge policies for XDM Individual Profile. If your organization has more than five merge policies for XDM Individual Profile within a single sandbox environment, you will not be able to use scheduled evaluation.
Schedules can currently only be created using the API. For detailed steps on creating, editing, and working with schedules using the API, please follow the tutorial for evaluating and accessing segment results, specifically the section on scheduled evaluation using the API .

Streaming segmentation

In order for streaming segmentation to work, the customer will need to enable scheduled segmentation for the organization. For details on enabling scheduled segmentation, please refer to the previous section in this user guide .
A query will be automatically evaluated with streaming segmentation if it meets any of the following criteria:
Query type
Incoming hit
Any segment definition that refers to a single incoming event with no time restriction.
Incoming hit within a relative time window
Any segment definition that refers to a single incoming event within the last seven days .
Incoming hit that refers to a profile
Any segment definition that refers to a single incoming event, with no time restriction, and one or more profile attributes.
Incoming hit that refers to a profile within a relative time window
Any segment definition that refers to a single incoming event and one or more profile attributes, within the last seven days .
Multiple events that refer to a profile
Any segment definition that refers to multiple events within the last 24 hours and (optionally) has one or more profile attributes.
The following section lists segment definition examples that will not be enabled for streaming segmentation.
Query type
Incoming hit within a relative time window
If the segment definition refers to an incoming event not within the last seven-day period . For example, within the last two weeks .
Incoming hit that refers to a profile within a relative window
The following options will not support streaming segmentation:
  • An incoming event not within the last seven-day period .
  • A segment definition that includes Adobe Audience Manager (AAM) segments or traits.
Multiple events that refer to a profile
The following options will not support streaming segmentation:
  • An event that does not occur within the last 24 hours .
  • A segment definition that includes Adobe Audience Manager (AAM) segments or traits.
Multi-entity queries
Multi-entity queries are, as a whole, not supported by streaming segmentation.
Additionally, some guidelines apply when doing streaming segmentation:
Query type
Single event query
The look-back window is limited to seven days .
Query with event history
  • The look-back window is limited to one day .
  • A strict time ordering condition must exist between the events.
  • Only simple time orderings (before and after) between the events are allowed.
  • The individual events cannot be negated. However, the entire query can be negated.

Monitoring streaming segmentation

After creating a streaming-enabled segment, you can monitor details of that segment.
Specifically, details about the total qualified audience size are shown. If a job has been run within the last 24 hours, the Total Audience Size from the job is shown, in addition to a line chart for the audience added. Otherwise, the Estimated Audience Size is shown, in addition to a visualization trend line.
Additional information about the last segment evaluation can be found by clicking the information bubble.

DULE policy violations

DULE policy violations only apply if you are creating a segment that has been assigned to a destination.
Once you are done creating your segment, the segment will be analyzed by Data Governance to ensure there are no policy violations within the segment. For details on DULE and policy violations, please refer to the data usage label overview .

Next steps

Segment Builder provides a rich workflow allowing you to isolate marketable audiences from Real-time Customer Profile data. After reading this guide you should now be able to:
  • Create segment definitions using a combination of attributes, events, and existing audiences as building blocks.
  • Use the rule builder canvas and containers to control the order in which segment rules are executed.
  • View estimates of your prospective audience, allowing you to adjust your segment definitions as required.
  • Enable all segment definitions for scheduled segmentation.
  • Enable specified segment definitions for streaming segmentation.
For step-by-step instructions on working with Segmentation Service using the Segmentation Service API, see the creating audience segments using APIs tutorial.