Adobe Tag Management and Adobe Launch: What are they?

At Adobe Summit, we announced the product I’ve been working on at Adobe for the last year…


If you haven’t yet heard, Launch is the next evolution of Adobe DTM –  part of the Marketing Cloud Activation core service and it is truly an evolution in the online marketing space!

What is Launch?

Launch has 2 primary functions…

  1. Launch helps you deploy multiple tags (such as analytics or the Facebook tracking pixel) to your website. It does this by combining these JavaScript/HTML libraries into a single embed file and hosting it on Akamai for you. Then you include that in your web-based content. You also have the option to download your build or have Adobe push it to your SFTP server.
  2. Launch is essentially a very powerful if/then engine for your web-content. It allows you to capture data and take actions based on conditions that you specify. You can build rules for your website based on events such as hover, click, etc. When those actions occur, you can trigger analytics tracking, special offer popups, or just about anything else you can imagine via custom code.

One truly awesome benefit of Launch is that it allows you to deploy data collection, tracking, decisioning to any website without ever having to touch the source code. Launch provides you with a JavaScript embed that you include on the page. You don’t ever need to touch it again. Any organization that deals with approval workflows and other red tape when trying to deploy updates to their web content, could greatly benefit from this. So, as you might expect, there is a rights-based workflow for submitting, approving and publishing content in Launch.

Revolutionary? Really?

What’s revolutionary about Launch, is that it allows Adobe internal solutions AND 3rd party developers to extend its functionality! It is truly an open platform. If, you wish to trigger an action for an event that Adobe has not provided, you can create your own extension that makes that event available. You might want to reread that last sentence!

Launch Use Cases

Launch is primarily designed for the world of marketing but there are so many interesting use cases for it! Let’s take a look at just a few creative cases that might be a bit off the beaten path…

Use Case 1 – E-Learning Courseware

Working in the e-learning space, you want to know why some people are skipping question 3 of your Captivate course. You could deploy Adobe Analytics (or Google Analytics) to your courseware via Launch, then you could build a rule in Launch that goes something like this…

  • If a user hits assessment question 3 but doesn’t ever hit question 4 and then leaves the course…
  • …and the user is on a desktop machine…
  • Capture their department, time in course, time on question 3, last action taken, visitor id, etc to Adobe Analytics or Google Analytics.

You could then build an analytics report that starts to help you understand why people are leaving prematurely. Perhaps question 3 is worded in a way that doesn’t make sense to a specific audience, or maybe the course navigation is not easy to use. With Launch, it would be simple to iterate on this rule, improving it until you hone in on the actual cause of student’s lack of completion. You could do with this without ever having to republishing the course.

Use Case 2 – Cordova/PhoneGap Mobile Apps

Web-based mobile apps (such as Cordova/PhoneGap) can include a Launch embed. For example, you may own a small mobile game app which uses IAP (in app purchases) to unlock new features. You know that Christmas is coming up and you’d like to take that seasonal opportunity to make a few extra in-app sales but you don’t have time to update and publish a new version of the app. If you have included Launch in your app, you could add a new page load rule that pops up a special offer when the app loads. You could even change the content of this offer based on data about the user or their location.

Of course there are a million-and-one other use cases that are not specific to online marketing.

The Launch Team

The DTM / Launch team is full of absolutely brilliant leaders, designers and engineers and it’s been a privilege to work as a front-end engineer with them! I think this is just the beginning of great things to come from this team!

To learn more check us out at Adobe’s Launch Website or Adobe’s Launch blog post!

Don’t Go Away!

Keep an eye out for my next post where I’ll share a working Cordova + Adobe DTM/Launch project.

Compare 401k Funds With This Awesome Tool!

As a follow up to my previous post about mutual fund picking, here is my comparison tool that makes it easy to visualize the potential difference in gains/loses over the long-term.

Don’t forget to check out Tony Robbin’s books, where this concept is covered in more detail!


Finance Design – The Art of Picking 401k Funds (updated)


  • Return % is important but you need more info to make the best investment choice.
  • Expense ratio appears to be the most important factor next to return %.

The Problem

Over the years, I’ve acquired a few 401k accounts including one with Fidelity, Vanguard and USAA. I have always taken an interest in investing. There is certainly no shortage of advice out there and it is perhaps a bit challenging to learn the tricks of the trade within the confines of a 401k account.

You might think that it’s simple… just look at the short-term and long-term returns of a fund, right? Pick the one that has the highest returns. You might even think that you could just look at the Morning Star ratings of your available mutual funds and pick the one with the best rating. You might be fooled though…

The finance industry has found many ways to make as much money as possible from their clients – not the least of which is by creating confusion. How do you pick out the most important facts about a fund when there are pages of dollar signs and percentages to sift through? Below, I will provide a simple way to pick the funds that will likely give you the greatest return.

The Solution

Recently I read “MONEY Master the Game” by Tony Robbins and currently I’m reading his new book, “Unshakeable“. In both of them, he illustrates how mutual fund fees are a long-term killer of returns. Interested in improving my own returns, I did a study of all of the available funds in my 401k accounts. The results were somewhat surprising to me so I’ll illustrate just one example using a fund from my Vanguard account, one from my Fidelity account and investing a hypothetical $10,000.

Starting Portfolio Value $10,000.00 Difference
Investment Fund 1 Fund 2
Average Annual Return 7% 7% 0.000%
Expense Ratio (fees) 0.10% 1.075% 0.975%
Effective yearly return
(after first year)
6.9% 5.93% 0.975%

What does this mean to me?

In the example above both funds reported an average return of 7%. What this actually means is that Fund 1 had to make 7.1% in order to pay you 7%. Likewise, Fund 2 had to make 8.075% in order to pay you 7%. That’s a difference of almost 1% extra that the fund has to make in order to keep up! Compound the expense difference over 30 years and let’s see what you get…

Investment Fund 1 Fund 2 Difference
Portfolio Value After 30 Years $74,016.95 $56,228.20 $17,788.75 or 31.64%


I Do Conclude

So… after 30 years you could have made an extra 31% on your money just by paying attention to what might seem like a small difference in the fund expense ratio (fees).

Returns = Gains – Expenses

For more mind-blowing info, I highly recommend Tony’s books as well as this write-up from Vanguard.



Do you use any other (potentially better) techniques to select funds? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below!

P.S. Watch for my next post which will include a tool for running these calculations for yourself!