Adobe Launch Server Side Forwarding – The Fireworks Are About to Begin

In the same Adobe Summit presentation where Corey Spencer and Brandon Pack introduced the Adobe Experience Platform Web SDK,another new technology, Launch Server Side, was also given a bit of love. For my thoughts on the Alloy.js portion of the announcement, see my previous post. For some early thoughts on Launch Server Side, read on.

Tagging Today is like Backyard Fireworks

From the time I was a boy, I’ve always loved fireworks, and somehow I’ve made it to adulthood with a full set of fingers and thumbs. Even in adulthood, I remain fascinated by bottle rockets, firecrackers, roman candles, and the like. Admittedly, there’s a big difference between the retail fireworks that you buy at a pop-up roadside stand and what you see during a professionally produced fireworks show. I prefer the latter. But today’s methods for implementing marketing and analytics tags are much akin to those roadside stand fireworks–exciting, but inefficient and slightly nerve-wracking.

Screen Shot 2020 06 05 at 12.19.16 PM

Even with the best client-side tagging scenarios, every tag starts at the browser and makes its way to its destination technology. If we were to think about all the tagging on an order confirmation page of an e-comm website and visualize it as ground fireworks, it might look like this:


In the image above, we have the tags of two analytics vendors at stage-right and stage-left. In the center, the browser is firing the myriad 3rd party marketing tags. It’s pretty enough and it gets the job done, but it’s incredibly inefficient.

In this analogy, consider that each tag requires its own javascript library and that each firing requires some amount of browser resource in the form of processing time, network connection, and network bandwidth. Did you ever wonder why it takes so long for pages on certain sites to load? It could be due to all the tag libraries that must be fetched from the network. Did you ever wonder why your CPU spikes and your laptop fan kicks in on certain sites? It could be your computer trying desperately to keep up with the demands of client-side tagging.

Launch Server Side is like a Professional Fireworks Show

What if there were a way to service a great number of marketing and analytics tag destinations with one client-side tag? Enter Launch Server Side. Launch Server Side is like the starburst of a professional-grade aerial fireworks shell. The difference between this and your janky Big Bucket of Boom is the combination of a lift charge that sends the shell blasting into the air (fooomph. . .) and the pyrotechnic effect that explodes (Boom!) to form the starburst display. Think of each star in the starburst as an individual marketing or analytics tag.


Below is a diagram of a typical aerial shell that would produce the starburst effect shown above. Let’s compare it to the new data collection technology coming from Adobe.

Lighting the fuse on this bad boy is like doing a “sendEvent” from the Experience Platform Web SDK. The fuse ignites the lift charge, sending the pyrotechnic effect into the heavens. The pyrotechnic effect is like the XDM payload that gets sent by the Experience Platform Web SDK: Instead of sending XDM to the heavens, it sends it to the Experience Platform Edge Network.

The time-delay fuse represents the amount of time it takes for an XDM payload sent by the Experience Platform Web SDK to make it to Adobe’s Edge. Thankfully, it’s not much of a delay; milliseconds really (and many fewer milliseconds than it would take to send any single marketing tag to its destination, thanks to the ubiquity of Experience Platform Edge Network nodes.)

Get to the explosion? Ok, the shell is in the air, the XDM is on the Edge. The time-delay fuse ignites the exploding charge, which in turn ignites the stars, which light up as they go flying outward—and—Ooooooooh. . . The XDM hits the Adobe Experience Platform Edge Network where Launch Server Side sends the appropriate data flying outward to the various configured martech destinations. . . Ahhhhhhh!

With Experience Platform Web SDK & Launch Server Side, we didn’t have to embed or download dozens of martech scripts. We didn’t have to map data into these tags client-side. We didn’t have to incur the cost of dozens of network requests. All we had to do was send one XDM payload up to the Adobe Experience Platform Edge Network, lace our fingers together behind our heads, and enjoy the spectacle of a well-designed fireworks display.


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