AEM vs. Contentful

Selecting the right CMS is like picking the perfect toolbox for your marketing plan; it helps you reach out to customers in a smooth and effective way. Your CMS can be like a powerful online sales helper; that’s why it’s important to choose one that fits your needs.

Before we dive in, let’s make sure we’re on the same page!

What is a CMS?

A CMS (content management system) is software that allows you to create, edit, organize, and publish digital content. It provides an easy-to-use interface for managing content, such as text, images, videos, and documents, without requiring advanced technical skills. A CMS helps you create and maintain websites, blogs, and other online platforms efficiently. It streamlines adding, updating, and organizing content, making it accessible to users without extensive coding knowledge.

CMS platforms can be divided into the following sub-categories: traditional, headless, and hybrid.

What is a traditional CMS?

A traditional CMS is a single software system enabling users to generate, oversee, and modify content. In traditional CMS platforms, the backend and frontend are tightly linked, meaning there’s a strong connection between the technical setup and appearance. Certain traditional CMS platforms allow you to enhance their capabilities by incorporating plugins.

What is a headless CMS?

A headless CMS is one that doesn’t have a fixed way of displaying content on the frontend. Instead, it acts as a content storage. Application programming interfaces (APIs) play the role of delivering content to any device because there isn’t a pre-set template in a headless CMS.

What is a hybrid CMS?

A hybrid CMS blends both headless and traditional CMS attributes. These systems merge the API-driven structure with design capabilities, providing developers and content managers with increased flexibility. Developers can craft APIs to deliver content layouts to end users, while content managers can utilize templates for the swift creation and editing of web pages.

For a different approach and another CMS comparison, click below!

Contentful vs. Contentstack »


Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) is a robust content management system that empowers you to create, manage, and deliver compelling digital experiences across various channels. With a comprehensive suite of features, AEM provides a flexible and scalable platform for you to effectively engage your audience.

AEM offers the flexibility to use headless, hybrid, or traditional development methods, tailored to your specific requirements.

Built on a foundation of over a decade of industry-leading expertise, AEM seamlessly integrates with other Adobe products, enabling seamless workflows and personalized customer interactions. Its intuitive user interface and robust capabilities make it a preferred choice for enterprises seeking to optimize their digital presence.


Contentful stands at the forefront of headless CMS technology, poised to transform the way you generate, oversee, and disseminate digital content. By adopting a “headless” approach, Contentful grants you the freedom to structure and manage content without being constrained by the platform it will eventually be showcased on.

This state-of-the-art system employs dynamic APIs, enabling seamless content delivery to a wide array of platforms including websites, mobile apps, IoT devices, and other digital interfaces. Contentful’s user-friendly interface, potent localization capabilities, and expansive integration offerings render it a versatile and adaptable CMS solution.

Built on a cloud-based architecture, Contentful ensures both high availability and scalability, forming a sturdy bedrock for efficient content management.

More about Contentful »

The differences

AEM and Contentful shine in different areas. Below, you’ll find some of the biggest differences between the two. Make sure to check the FAQs section for both platforms.

User experience


Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) boasts an intuitive user interface that is streamlined for ease of use, ensuring that users of all skill levels can navigate and manage content with confidence. Its design leverages modern user experience principles, offering a sophisticated content authoring platform with a multitude of editing and formatting tools. These capabilities empower users to seamlessly create and edit content in real time, with the changes reflecting immediately for a smooth and efficient workflow.

AEM allows users to define custom workflows for content creation, review, and approval. This provides flexibility in managing content production processes. Additionally, AEM includes a comprehensive DAM system, allowing users to manage and organize digital assets within the platform efficiently and natively integrate with Adobe Creative Cloud. It also offers advanced personalization features, enabling content administrators to tailor content based on user behavior and preferences.

TL;DR: AEM provides a comprehensive and feature-rich user experience, especially for enterprises looking for an all-in-one solution.


Contentful is known for its minimalist and straightforward user interface. It focuses on simplicity and provides a clean environment for content management. Contentful’s “headless” approach allows for flexibility in content modeling, letting users structure content independently of its display on various platforms. It is API-driven, making it easy to integrate with other systems and deliver content to different channels, including websites, apps, and IoT devices.

Contentful offers robust localization features, making it easy to manage content in multiple languages and for different regions. Its cloud-based infrastructure ensures high availability and scalability, providing a reliable foundation for content management.

TL;DR:  Contentful excels in flexibility, simplicity, and an API-driven approach. Coupled with the future release of Experience BuilderContentful is a strong choice for developers and organizations focused on content delivery across various channels.

Level of personalization


AEM provides features like:

  • Segmentation and targeting allow for the creation of detailed user segments based on various criteria such as demographics, behavior, location, and more. This enables precise targeting of content to specific audience groups.
  • Rule-based personalization lets you set up rules that automatically deliver specific content based on predefined conditions. This ensures that users receive content that is most relevant to their interests.
  • Contextual personalization uses contextual information, such as user location, device type, and referral source, to dynamically adapt content for an enhanced user experience.
  • Adobe’s suite of data insights and audience tools (i.e. Adobe Target, Adobe Real-Time CDP, Adobe Journey Optimizer) further enhances its personalization capabilities.

TL;DR: AEM offers a comprehensive suite of personalization tools and features, making it well-suited for businesses with advanced personalization needs.


Contentful offers personalization possibilities via:

  • API-driven flexibility that allows developers to build personalized experiences by integrating with third-party personalization tools and services.
  • Content modeling for personalization allows for the creation of content structures that support personalization efforts, although this may require additional development work.
  • Localization and multilingual support enables the delivery of personalized content in multiple languages and regions.

TL;DR: Contentful provides a solid foundation for personalization through its headless architecture, but may require additional development efforts or integration with third-party tools for advanced personalization capabilities.

Use cases


AEM is best suited for:

  • AEM is tailored for large enterprises with complex content management needs. It provides a comprehensive suite of features and integrations that can handle the scale and sophistication required by big corporations leveraging the suite of Adobe products.
  • AEM excels in supporting digital marketing efforts. Its robust personalization capabilities and integration with Adobe’s marketing tools make it a powerful choice for organizations heavily invested in marketing strategies.
  • AEM is well-suited for businesses operating ecommerce platforms. Its capabilities for managing product catalogs, dynamic content, and personalized customer experiences are particularly valuable in the e-commerce space.
  • For organizations that need to deliver content across various channels such as websites, mobile apps, and IoT devices, AEM’s versatility and integration capabilities make it a strong contender.
  • AEM’s scalability and performance capabilities make it an ideal choice for websites with high traffic volumes and complex content requirements.
  • AEM natively integrates with Adobe Creative Cloud, allowing for content creation, targeting, and service all within one automated workflow leveraging AI capabilities.
  • AEM allows for forms to be created and uses powerful data integrations to automatically personalize them and communications across different channels.

TL;DR: AEM is best suited for large-scale enterprises with complex content management needs, extensive digital marketing initiatives, and demanding ecommerce platforms.


Contentful is an excellent fit for:

  • Contentful is designed with a developer-friendly approach. It provides an API-first architecture, giving technical teams the flexibility to create custom solutions and integrations.
  • Contentful’s simplicity, headless architecture, and flexible pricing make it an attractive choice for growing and maturing digital teams needing agile content management and the ability to break out of siloed content systems.
  • Contentful shines in projects that require a decoupled or headless CMS approach, where content is managed separately from the presentation layer. This is particularly useful for applications and projects with specialized front-end technologies.
  • Contentful’s strong localization features make it a great choice for organizations that need to manage content in multiple languages and for different regions.
  • Contentful’s cloud-based infrastructure ensures high availability and scalability, making it well-suited for organizations focused on cloud-native solutions.
  • Importantly, Contentful is engineered to foster content editing at scale within larger organizations. It achieves this through a sophisticated system of custom roles and permissions that delineates the content responsibilities among teams. This structure ensures a clear division of content sections while maintaining interconnectivity through shared content types and assets. Such a framework enables large teams to collaborate efficiently, manage content interdependencies with ease, and ensure a consistent and unified content strategy across the entire organization.

TL;DR:Contentful is an ideal choice for companies of all scales, from developers, startups, and SMEs, to very large and complex enterprises, requiring a headless CMS approach, particularly those focused on cloud-native and scalable architectures.

More about platform comparisons »


Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) is a comprehensive content management system that enables organizations to create, manage, and deliver digital experiences across various channels like websites, mobile apps, and forms.

AEM offers powerful features for managing digital assets, personalization, and integration with Adobe’s marketing tools, making it a robust choice for enterprises focused on delivering exceptional digital experiences.

AEM provides features such as content authoring, digital asset management, workflow management, multisite management, personalization, and analytics integration.

AEM is a versatile platform that can be used by both small businesses and large enterprises. However, its extensive feature set and pricing may make it more commonly used by larger organizations.

AEM has specific system requirements that depend on factors like the version, deployment model (cloud or on-premise), and expected usage. It’s recommended to consult Adobe’s official documentation for detailed specifications.

Yes, AEM offers capabilities for building and managing mobile applications through its Mobile Forms feature, which allows for the creation of interactive mobile forms and the integration of mobile apps with AEM.

Yes, AEM has strong integration capabilities. It seamlessly integrates with other Adobe Marketing Cloud solutions like Adobe Analytics, Adobe Target, and Adobe Campaign. Additionally, it supports integration with various third-party systems through APIs.

Yes, Adobe provides extensive resources for AEM users, including a community forum, documentation, tutorials, and professional support options. The community forum is a valuable space for sharing knowledge and troubleshooting.

Licensing and pricing for AEM can vary based on factors like the edition, deployment model, and specific requirements of the organization. It’s recommended to contact Adobe or a certified Adobe partner for detailed pricing information.

Yes, Adobe offers various training options, including online courses, workshops, and certifications for AEM. These resources help users and administrators get the most out of the platform.

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Contentful FAQs

Contentful is a headless content management system (CMS) that allows you to create, manage, and deliver content across various digital platforms and channels.

Unlike traditional CMS platforms, Contentful follows a “headless” approach, separating content from its presentation. This provides greater flexibility for developers to use any front-end technology while allowing content editors to manage the content with less complexity due to the loose coupling to front-ends.

Contentful offers features like content modeling, content authoring and editing, media management, content delivery via APIs, localization support, and user roles and permissions.

Yes, Contentful can be used for ecommerce websites. It provides a flexible content management solution that can integrate with various e-commerce platforms and allows for seamless content delivery.

Contentful offers robust localization support, allowing you to create and manage content in multiple languages, ensuring a consistent and tailored experience for global audiences.

Yes, Contentful supports a wide range of integrations with third-party tools, including analytics, ecommerce platforms, marketing automation, and more, making it highly versatile and adaptable.

Yes, Contentful provides free-to-use accounts and premium trials for users to explore its features and capabilities. Additionally, they offer demos and documentation to help users get started.

Contentful takes security seriously and employs industry-standard measures to protect data. It offers features like role-based access control (RBAC) to manage user permissions and compliance with data protection regulations.

Contentful can be used for both static websites and dynamic applications. Its flexible content delivery via APIs allows for seamless integration with various front-end technologies.

Contentful is versatile and can benefit a wide range of industries, including ecommerce, media, travel, technology, and more. It’s particularly advantageous for businesses that require flexible content management across digital channels.

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How Vaimo can help

At Vaimo, we use the latest digital tools and platforms, collaborating with trusted partners to help your online business thrive. With over 14 years of experience in the digital field, we work closely with you to find the right platform, solution, and technologies for your needs.

We’re skilled in various ecommerce platforms, advanced digital solutions, and the latest tech trends. This allows us to create a customized solution that aligns perfectly with your goals and vision.

Tarkett, a distinguished flooring brand with a rich history, wanted to establish a direct-to-consumer (D2C) ecommerce presence. With Contentful, Tarkett employees are able to ensure that their content reaches their customers across channels and delivers a brilliant brand experience.

Helly Hansen, a world-renowned outdoor gear giant, uses AEM for its content management needs. With a multinational, multi-language storefront, Helly Hansen needs a CMS to keep up with customer experiences.

Did you know Vaimo is an Adobe Gold Partner and a Contentful Gold partner? Let’s talk about using a CMS to deliver content experiences to your clients at the right place and time.

Talk to us today »


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