Marketing Cloud Audience Builder is Being Retired – What’s Next?

Marketing Cloud Audience Builder has allowed marketers to create granular segmented audiences based on behavioral and demographic data. So now it is being retired, the question on everyone’s mind is “what’s next?”

As with any tool retirement, we need to find a new solution capable of complex segmentation – and we’ve got some options. 

DESelect CEO Anthony Lamot joined Lucy Mazalon, Ops Director/Founder, Salesforce Ben and The DRIP, for a conversation on:

  • The present and future of Audience Builder
  • What options teams have when shopping around for a replacement
  • The strengths of Audience Builder to look for in that replacement

Were you aware Audience Builder is on the way out? In a recent poll, only around 40% of respondents were, with 60% not knowing that this tool is scheduled for sunset. Whether you’ve known it for a while, or this is news to you, it’s never too early to put a plan in place for the future.

What is Marketing Cloud Audience Builder?

Audience Builder in Marketing Cloud allows marketers to create granular segmented audiences based on behavioral and demographic data. 

  • User interface: The Audience Builder UI is easier to use than having to leverage SQL queries which makes it a good option for less-technical marketers.
  • Data volumes: Audience Builder is a robust solution which can handle large volumes of data, whereas SQL queries often time out. 
  • Integration: Being fully integrated with Marketing Cloud, Audience Builder allows marketers to segment data across a number of what Audience Builder calls “dimensions.”

Having said this, Audience Builder is not without its sticking points: 

  • Setup: Its initial setup requires support from Salesforce professional services, which pushes the price point up, and also means effort is needed internally to support the implementation. 
  • Maintenance: If your data model changes often, you would need third-party support to adapt Audience Builder. 
  • Database sync: The data is stored in a separate database. There are benefits to this type of database (it’s much faster than other native segmentation options, for segmenting against millions of data points) – however, this syncs with Marketing Cloud every 24 hours, so you may not be leveraging the most fresh data! If you think about certain use cases, like unsubscribes or recent transactional behavior, that becomes a drawback.

More importantly, around 2 years ago, Salesforce announced that Audience Builder will be retired. This means that Salesforce no longer sells Audience Builder to new customers, and are working towards retiring the tool for existing customers. A hard date for when it’s finally being decommissioned has not been communicated….


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