Contact Builder, formerly known as Audience Builder, is a robust tool within Marketing Cloud designed to manage data associated with contacts, referred to as ‘people’ records. This platform provides access to both demographic and behavioral information, which is organized into ‘attribute groups’ (such as abandoned carts), ‘events,’ and ‘populations,’ allowing for efficient segmentation of data.

The primary distinction between Audience Builder and Contact Builder lies in their functionalities within Marketing Cloud. While Audience Builder focuses on segmenting data, Contact Builder serves as the tool for defining the data model within the Marketing Cloud ecosystem. Contact Builder is integral to data management within Marketing Cloud and will continue to play a central role in the platform’s operations.

Marketing Cloud Audience Builder has empowered marketers to create finely segmented audiences based on behavioral and demographic data. With its retirement, the question arises: “What comes next?”

To address this, Marketing Cloud offers engagement marketing tools powered by AI, enabling marketers to activate their data and deliver personalized campaigns at scale to enhance customer lifetime value.

These tools include:

Email Marketing:

  • Push the boundaries of email personalization and campaign efficiency using AI. Choose from prebuilt templates or craft customized customer emails from scratch. Integrate all campaign types, including transactional and promotional messages, and manage email sender reputation from a single platform. Access a consolidated library to select the most relevant content for each customer.

Cross-Channel Analytics:

  • Harness the power of analytics to drive your marketing efforts. Analyze journey performance through built-in dashboards to optimize campaigns across email, mobile, and advertising channels. Utilize filtering, sorting, and grouping functionalities to create custom reports and share insights with stakeholders. Leverage performance data to refine campaigns and drive engagement, ultimately increasing customer lifetime value.

After adopting Salesforce Marketing Cloud and using it to hyper-target our audience, we are able to reduce the waste of our current marketing budget and become more efficient with spending on initiatives that deliver better results

Kyall Mai
SVP & Chief Innovation Officer, Esquire

Contact Builder vs. Audience Builder

  • Contact Builder:

Contact Builder serves as the central hub for managing attribute values associated with each contact within Marketing Cloud. It maintains a comprehensive database of contact information and facilitates the organization and linkage of data from various sources, including ERP systems, CRM systems, and POS systems. This tool offers a unified view of customer interactions with the brand, enabling personalized communication across channels such as email, SMS, and push notifications.

  • Audience Builder:

Audience Builder, now known as Contact Builder, dynamically creates targeted audiences based on stored attribute and behavioral values of contacts. These audiences are generated according to specific rules and criteria defined by the user. Audience Builder helps marketers segment contacts effectively, allowing for precise targeting or exclusion from marketing activities within Marketing Cloud Engagement.

Key Features and Functions:

Contact Builder:

  • Manages attribute values for each contact
  • Provides a single view of the customer, incorporating data from various sources
  • Offers tools for configuring contact data, defining data models, creating data extensions, and managing imports
  • Enables personalized messaging and marketing activities across multiple channels

Audience Builder:

  • Dynamically creates targeted audiences based on stored attribute and behavioral values
  • Utilizes rules assigned by the user to define audience criteria
  • Allows for targeting or excluding contacts from marketing activities based on audience membership
  • Supports segmentation and filtering of contacts for communication activities within Marketing Cloud Engagement
  • Conclusion:

While both Contact Builder and Audience Builder are essential components of Marketing Cloud, Contact Builder takes precedence as the primary tool for managing contact data and enabling personalized customer interactions. Audience Builder, now integrated into Contact Builder, continues to play a vital role in audience segmentation and targeting within Marketing Cloud Engagement.

audience builder contact builder

Contact Builder is responsible for aggregating customer data from multiple source into a single customer view, known as the contact model in marketing cloud. For more information refer to the official documentation.

Audience Builder is a segmentation tool, that abstracts the traditional SQL process for building segments and allows marketers to build segments by dragging and dropping them. For more information, please refer to the the documentation.

Contact Builder has been moved to the Audience Builder tab.

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