Campaign Audience Builder vs. Salesforce Data Cloud

Alexander Schares
February 1, 2024

With the rise of Salesforce Data Cloud (f.k.a. Genie or CDP - Customer Data Platform) - we often get asked what differentiates Campaign Audience Builder from it. I'm happy to shed some light on this topic because these are two completely different tools with different use cases. So, let's start with a summary of each.

Salesforce Data Cloud (SDC) in a nutshell

Salesforce Data Cloud is a standalone platform that centers around a unified customer profile across all touchpoints. Simplified, it's a database you can feed with data from different external tools and your Salesforce database. You can then enrich this data and create segments based on all available data for further actions.

Salesforce Data Cloud - Overview

SDC is a powerful platform to use as your central data hub if your data is stored in different systems and you want to create that single source of truth that combines all your data.

Campaign Audience Builder (CAB) in a nutshell

Campaign Audience Builder, on the other hand, is "just" a native Salesforce AppExchange add-on that provides additional functionality to your existing Salesforce Core platform. Simplified, it's a segmentation engine enabling you to create segments based on all available data in Salesforce (e.g., Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Non-Profit Cloud, AppExchange Packages). You can keep these audiences automatically up-to-date and then process them in, for example, your Salesforce Campaigns, Account Engagement (Pardot), Marketing Cloud, or Salesforce Flows.

Campaign Audience Builder - Overview

With these summaries in mind, let's look at three major differences.

#1 Scope

Salesforce Data Cloud is a whole new platform for your Salesforce tech stack with a plethora of features to integrate different data sources, harmonizing and unifying this data to gather insights and create segments for further actions. Campaign Audience Builder entirely focuses on the available data in your Salesforce Core database (Sales/Service/Non-Profit Cloud/...) and provides a user-friendly and fast segmentation engine to build your segments and to keep them up-to-date. Suppose you're using data spread across multiple systems and want one central data hub. In that case, Salesforce Data Cloud might be your right call. Suppose all relevant data is already in your Salesforce Core database, and you're looking for a proper segmentation tool to build your audiences. In that case, Campaign Audience Builder might be the right call.

#2 Simplicity

As new platforms and tools introduce new User Interfaces and features, one of the first questions is who will use the tool. What kind of training do we need? How long will it take for my users to be comfortable with the tool? Is it complex and technical so that we need experts for it?
Based on the sheer number of features you might need to learn, it's way faster to become a CAB expert than an SDC expert. It's primarily just one new skill set you need to learn. How do we segment audiences? Our number one priority is simplicity and an intuitive and easy user interface.

#3 Pricing

The final topic of our three differences list, which is also not neglectable, is pricing. Introducing a completely new powerful data platform, like Salesforce Data Cloud (SDC Pricing), with plenty of integrations and features, not surprisingly, comes at a cost. Adding a segmentation extension to your Salesforce Core platform will cost you a fraction of it in direct comparison (CAB Pricing). Both options offer Free Versions (10.000 Free Profiles for SDC and 4 Free Segments/month in CAB) to get your hands on it. Just by focussing on the pricing points, you also save a lot of training, enablement, and support, which adds up in the long run.

The Big Commonality: Segmentation

Of course, there must be a reason why you compare these two products and ask what the difference is. The big topic in common is segmentation. Salesforce Data Cloud brings its segmentation features to segment audiences based on the data within its unified database. Campaign Audience Builder adds a segmentation feature to your Salesforce core database. Different databases, same outcome - targeted audiences based on the available data points.

Final Words

When looking for a segmentation solution for your Salesforce ecosystem, you need to consider many factors and take your time to make a solid decision. Compare the functionality and pricing of different offerings, then decide based on your needs and the resources you're ready to spend. Here are a few questions that will help you figure out what might be the right tool for you:

  • Is our data stored in different systems, or do we have all relevant data stored in our Salesforce Core Database?
  • Do we need to transform, harmonize, and unify our data first, or is the available data already good?
  • What are our available resources in terms of budget, key users, and training?
  • How many users will need to work with the new platform/tool?

If you need help or want to discuss segmentation in person, don't hesitate to book a live meeting with us.