As a brand, Adobe is synonymous with creating multimedia software like Photoshop, Acrobat, Illustrator, Premiere Pro and After Effects. In 2009, Adobe ramped up its online marketing and analytics efforts by acquiring Utah-based Omniture. The acquisition led to the creation of the Adobe Marketing Cloud and eventually Adobe Analytics Cloud.
At the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas in March, Adobe launched the Experience Cloud. The Adobe Experience Cloud is a set of cloud services, which includes the Adobe Marketing Cloud, the Adobe Advertising Cloud and the Adobe Analytics Cloud. Experience Cloud also integrates with the Adobe Creative Cloud and Document Cloud.
Adobe Marketing Cloud
The Adobe Marketing Cloud enables marketers to craft experiences to distinguish their brands and engage with customers. The Adobe Marketing Cloud product line includes Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Target, Adobe Campaign, Adobe Social and Adobe Primetime. With these products, brands can personalize, optimize and set up campaigns.
Adobe Advertising Cloud
The Adobe Advertising Cloud is a platform to manage advertising campaigns across traditional TV and digital formats. The Advertising Cloud simplifies the process of delivering search, display and video ads across screens and channels. It is powered by the tools built in Adobe Media Optimizer and TubeMogul — which Adobe acquired in December 2016.
Adobe Analytics Cloud is a “customer intelligence engine” that empowers businesses to move from insights to actions in real-time by combining audience data across multiple Adobe cloud products. The Adobe Analytics Cloud includes Adobe Audience Manager (data and audience management platform) and Adobe Analytics (applies real-time analytics and detailed audience segmentation across all marketing channels). Adobe Analytics Cloud is built on the Adobe Cloud Platform, which offers APIs and Adobe Sensei machine learning technology.
“What we’re seeing is a tension between two dimensions when it comes to data. The first dimension is ‘time to insights,’ which is how long it takes a customer to interact in some channels on a mobile device, on a website or in a physical store. And how long is it going to take from the time that happens until some kind of insight is developed,” said Jeff Allen, senior director of product marketing at Adobe Analytics in an interview. “And the other dimension is how long did it take me to actually take action based on those insights.”
Adobe Analytics Cloud has seen incredible momentum in recent years. Between 2014 and now, Adobe reports that the number of Analytics Cloud customers has more than doubled. Additionally, 58% of the Fortune 100 turn to Adobe Analytics Cloud for customer intelligence, which includes 10 of the top 10 media and entertainment brands, 10 of the top 10 retailers, 9 of the top 10 financial services institutions and 9 of the top 10 high-tech companies. Current customers include a number of small and major brands such as Coca-Cola, G6 Hospitality, Grainger, Lenovo, MasterCard, Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), Home Depot, ASOS.com, Carnival and Royal Bank of Scotland.
Jeff Thomas, the director of eCommerce & Distribution, at G6 Hospitality (owner of 1,400 lodging locations under the Motel 6 and Studio 6 Extended Stay brands), told me that his organization benefitted from Adobe products. Thomas said that the older version of the Motel 6 website had room for improvements from a marketing standpoint and the goal was to add more control over the funneling of information. Thomas said that analytics became the company’s “north star” as everything it does online is driven by data. Prior to working with Adobe Analytics, Motel 6 leveraged the free version of Google Analytics but made the switch as the service didn’t go deep into the data to understand customer behavior and performance.
“So we worked closely with the consultants at the Adobe team to set up a mobile-first website with faster load times and user experiences especially since our traffic is 65% mobile.” By using Adobe’s marketing products, the company was able to more than double its conversion rates on the desktop and mobile versions of the Motel 6 website.
Lenovo, the largest global PC manufacturer, said that it was able to receive a 12x return on every $1 invested in marketing through the help of the Adobe Analytics platform. And Adobe Analytics is able to provide insights to Lenovo about which of its product pages need to be optimized.
“From a data management platform (DMP) perspective, we’ve really seen massive growth within the ecosystem over the last couple of years where this explosion of data became available. The modern marketer has grown exponentially and they really need to transform themselves into being much deeper focused in analytics to be able to make smarter and more actionable decisions around the data. Adobe Audience Manager provides the actionability layer that fits those demands,” explained Kiki Burton, Director of Product Management of Audience Manager at Adobe.
Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research said he expects the analytics market (including analytics, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence) to become a $220 billion market by 2020. “Expect all these data services to be embedded into streams of insights,” said Wang. “Those insights create demand signals that are fed into systems that are used to augment decision-making.”
How does machine learning come into the picture at Adobe? One of the biggest jobs that people do with analytics tools today is that they look for marketing segments that they believe will convert at a higher rate with a more tailored message to that audience. “Adobe Analytics and Audience Manager really fit hand-in-glove because both products have powerful segmentation capabilities. On the analytics side, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are used to help do things like discovering audiences automatically. With machine learning, segments are recommended that you may not have thought about. Foraging through data requires a lot more processing and is time-consuming,” added Allen in the interview. “Another common thing you do with analytics is you look for anomalies in your data to see what should and should not be happening. In a typical analytics implementation, our customers have said that there are over ten million combinations of different data points, which can be pretty daunting. So we use data science and powerful algorithms to save time for customers. And then it can automatically send alerts to the relevant people to tell them what they need to know is going on.”