Adobe Campaign Classic vs Standard

Adobe Campaign Classic vs Standard? What exactly is the difference? It’s a question we are often asked as organisations look to arm their marketing team with the right solution.

In this ever-changing world of Marketing Technology, selecting a robust solution to implement and support your cross-channel marketing needs can be a constant struggle. It requires quite a bit of thought process and evaluation before finally zeroing in on the desired solution. There are so many factors such as size of your organisation, complexity of the marketing initiatives, along with related integrations with upstream and downstream enterprise systems etc. The list can be quite exhaustive and will eventually play a critical role in deciding if there is a need for a highly customizable solution (On Prem / Hybrid / Hosted) or a complete On Demand Web based solution (Hosted).

For many marketers, Adobe Campaign is their software solution of choice – and for good reason. It has more than one option which can cater for a variety of organisations: Adobe Campaign Classic (ACC) and Adobe Campaign Standard (ACS). Both the solutions have some common features as well as some very specific ones which are available only in one or the other. The rest of the article is focused on highlighting the key features and differences between these two variations of Adobe Campaign.

Under the hood of Adobe Campaign

Before we peek under the hood and start comparing the features of these solutions, we should begin with the ‘What is’ part of the story. For readers who may not be aware of Adobe Campaign, it is one of the leading solutions for Cross Channel Campaign Management (CCCM) and is used by a range of organisations (small, medium, enterprise level) across a variety of sectors.

Adobe Campaign Standard is the on-demand easy to use web-based solution, designed for marketers and Adobe Campaign Classic is the more mature and robust solution which caters to more complex and/or customised needs of the business. Adobe Campaign Standard is a hosted SaaS offering whereas Adobe Campaign Classic supports On Prem, Hybrid as well as Hosted deployment models.

The following categories have been considered for the comparison of these two solutions:

  • Key Capabilities
  • Campaign Management
  • Communication Channels
  • Personalisation
  • Optimisation
  • Reporting
  • Integration
  • Technical Architecture

Key Capabilities

The goal of this section is to provide a view of the key capabilities which are invariably evaluated as part of any Cross Channel Campaign Management offering.

  • Integrated Customer Profile

Both have the feature of integrated and unified customer profiles. This includes all online and offline sources, allowing you to bridge the gap between online and offline marketing, where the most fragmentation normally occurs.

  • Cross Channel Campaign Management

Both have the functionalities to perform this core capability with ACC being more robust and matured than ACS.

  • Personalisation

Both have the capability to personalise communications using targeting and segmentation.

  • Data Management & Automation

Adobe Campaign Classic is more advanced in this area and is capable of handling complex scenarios. Adobe Campaign Standard can still perform well for simple to medium use cases but may struggle with more complex data requirements.

  • Journey Orchestration

Both have this functionality in a shape and form. The interface may not be like some of the other marketing automation tools in the market. Adobe Experience Platform (AEP) the Journey Orchestration module appears to have all the necessary bells and whistles to complement the Cross Channel Campaign Management solutions like ACC and ACS. Learn more about Journey Optimiser in this article

  • Real-time Interaction Management

Adobe Campaign Classic has native and robust functionality with a built-in recommendation engine to automate the process of selecting personalised and relevant offers by picking them from the centralised offer catalogue and delivering them in real-time across channels. Adobe Campaign Standard does not have this capability out of the box, but when combined with Journey Orchestration (an application service within Adobe Experience Platform). Real-time orchestration using contextual data can be achieved using email, push notifications & SMS channels.

  • Campaign Analytics

Both are quite robust in this area with options of out of the box and custom reports that can be tailored to your requirements or exported to Adobe Analytics (or another visualisation tool).

  • Adobe Experience Cloud Integration

Adobe Campaign Standard scores higher in this one. Since it is purely a cloud-based SaaS offering like other Adobe Experience Cloud modules, the integration is more robust when compared with the Adobe Campaign Classic.

With the comparison of the Key Capabilities covered, let’s move onto the other categories which will help you to get some more granular and targeted differences and similarities.

Campaign Management

Depending on the size of the enterprise and the complexity of the marketing initiatives, this capability can be a critical piece.

Adobe Campaign Classic has native functionality which allows marketers to plan the end-to-end process around Campaign Management. This includes creating and managing marketing plans, designing and orchestrating campaign management processes, task Management, notifications and approval management, budget, and cost management. Adobe Campaign Standard supports management of marketing plans and some levels of  the Campaign Management process, but it does not have the wider capabilities mentioned above.

Content Creation is a feature which is available in both the solutions (Adobe Campaign Standard being more aligned with latest UI frameworks) and that includes dynamic and multilingual content and landing page management. Adobe Campaign Classic scores well when it comes to survey management as that is native whereas Adobe Campaign Standard requires 3rd party integration for that. This article goes into more detail on Adobe Campaign.

Communication Channels

Both have the capability to support and execute communications via most of the widely used channels including email, direct mail and mobile. However, for the mobile channel, Adobe Campaign Standard does not have the functionality to send comms via LINE app. Both the solutions support transactional messaging functionality. Learn more about Cross Channel Campaigns.


Both platforms have user segmentation and targeting as a core functionality which is critical when it comes to personalising the messages sent out of the platform. Adobe Campaign Classic has always been quite strong when it comes to data management, and it is still the same when compared with Adobe Campaign Standard. Having said that both have graphical query editor (with aggregate functions) and filter mechanism, hierarchical and graphical workflow to process data and generate target lists. Both have Seed management capabilities, but Adobe Campaign Standard does not have the feature to include control groups in target audiences like one can do in Classic.

From a content personalisation perspective, Adobe Campaign Classic has a native offer management and recommendation engine which is part of the Real-time Interaction Management, which is not available in Standard. On the other hand, Adobe Campaign Standard provides the functionality to have predictive subject lines which is missing in Classic.


Both have similar capabilities when it comes to optimising contact strategy, including A/B testing, inbox rendering, multi time-zone optimisation and fatigue management. Adobe Campaign Standard additionally supports manual send time optimisation.         


Both solutions provide out-of-the-box reports as well as provision to build custom reports which include campaign performance, technical reports, delivery alerts etc. Adobe Campaign Standard has a dynamic reporting feature which provides fully customisable and real-time reports to measure the impact of your marketing activities. It adds access to profile data, enabling demographic analysis by profile dimensions such as gender, city, and age in addition to functional email campaign data like opens and clicks. Find out more in this useful blog on reporting & optimisation checklist.


One thing which stands out is Adobe Campaign Standard does not support Federated Data Access (FDA). Marketers who have worked on Adobe Campaign Classic or any other enterprise marketing management tool would understand how important and useful it can be to access data on-demand from their enterprise data warehouse or data mart. Having said that one needs to also understand that Adobe Campaign Standard has been designed to be an easy-to-use web-based SaaS solution.

On the other hand, both solutions integrate with other Adobe Experience Cloud modules (Analytics, Target, AEM, People Core, Assets Core), but Adobe Campaign Standard has a definite edge in that aspect as it is built from ground up considering the integration requirements for future. Additionally it can integrate with Dreamweaver.

Both solutions have some out of the box CRM data connectors as well.

Technical Architecture

Deployment models of these two solutions are very different with ACC providing a variety of options whereas ACS is purely based on SaaS model. To understand more about the deployment models of these two solutions, it definitely requires a blog by itself. Get in touch with our team for a discussion in the meantime.

Last but not the least, there are few more technical architectural aspects which are similar when it comes to both solutions. Both provide capability for data import and export along with extension of the data model, creating custom screens, brand configurations, advanced user access management, GDPR compliance management, package management etc.


So, Adobe Campaign Classic vs Standard? Which one do you go with? To decide on a solution when the same vendor is offering two of the same kind can pose a challenge. It is extremely important to understand the use cases to be implemented and the value and criticality of a solution within your enterprise ecosystem, which at the end will be the key entity in automating data driven, cross channel campaign management and orchestration at scale. Critically assessing these factors, along with support from an expert partner who can provide a third-party opinion, should drive the final say in whether you opt for Adobe Campaign Classic (ACC) or Adobe Campaign Standard (ACS).  

If you would like to discuss how Purple Square could help you with this topic or anything else, get in touch today!

For more information on Adobe Campaign. Download our free whitepaper

Adobe Campaign Optimisation Guide

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