Adobe Applies a Real-Time Layered Approach to Customer Analytics

Adobe is applying the layered approach and ease of use of products like its Adobe Photoshop to its new Adobe Customer Journey Analytics solution. Announced today, Adobe Customer Journey Analytics helps businesses and brands access layers of multi-channel customer data to be curated and stacked on top of each other to uncover new perspectives into how customers engage with a brand. The new capability in Adobe Analytics uses the Adobe Experience Platform, which can piece together customer data from across the enterprise, and opens up new ways to understand insights across online, offline, and third-party channels.

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Adobe Customer Journey Analytics is the latest move by Adobe in bolstering its position in the business analytics and solutions space since it purchased web analytics solution provider Omniture in 2009. Adobe has been acquiring various web analytics, content management system (CMS), advertising technology, and marketing tech companies. Last year, Adobe spent $6.43 billion in software acquisitions, mostly to enhance its various marketing and business solutions. Tools such as Adobe Customer Journey Analytics are the result of Adobe's various acquisitions and integrations.

Adobe said in a statement that its solution helps to close a creativity gap in data analysis by "empowering individuals to be more inventive in the way they combine, edit, and experiment with different layers of data—a creative process that is familiar to any user of Adobe Photoshop."

Adobe Customer Journey Analytics is a new offering anchored around a profile-based pricing system, a new approach over pricing based solely on server call volume. For existing customers, migration paths will be made available. Customers can also purchase standalone functionality a la carte.

Making Sense of the Mountain of Data

"Many businesses are sitting on a mountain of data and most don't know what to do with this data," said Nate Smith, Group Manager of Product Marketing at Adobe Analytics Cloud. He added that a lot of this data is not current, which hinders its capacity to inform customer experiences (CXes). Adobe's solution can track trillions of customer transactions across websites, mobile, video, and even voice. Adobe Customer Journey Analytics aims to offer brands and companies more than what many dashboards and vanity metrics give them, by integrating deeper real-time analytics from various sources into the aforementioned Adobe Experience Platform (their unified solution for CX creation, marketing, advertising, analytics, and commerce).

"Our solution helps brands connect the dots from omnichannel customer data and form a person-centric view of customers," Smith said. "We've applied the drag-and-drop simplicity as well as some of Photoshop's layers and tools to enable dynamic dashboards."

Unlike some static dashboards, which are designed to track and answer a handful of metrics, the company said Adobe Customer Journey Analytics is dynamic and can be used to quickly find answers to more complex questions. Smith added that Customer Journey Analytics has the heft and functionality that data scientists will value but is also simple enough for marketers and product managers.

Adobe Customer Journey Analytics works differently from traditional dashboards with limited interactivity in that, when using the former, users can dig into layered data sets and curate collections of insights for different audiences. This is particularly useful in industries such as retail where brands can use the analytics to see how physical stores and e-commerce websites interact. Businesses can uncover the types of digital experiences that are most likely to drive foot traffic and purchases in offline stores.

Tracking the Customer's Journey

Smith relayed a personal experience to illustrate how the customer journey experience can benefit from deep analytics. He recently purchased a golf club and, while paying at the till, was asked if he wanted to sign up to be on the golf store's mailing list and he agreed. His first e-mail message from the golf store included a coupon for 20 percent off the club he had just purchased weeks before.

He pointed out that a cohesive customer journey analytics solution (like Adobe Customer Journey Analytics) would have been able to help tailor the e-mail offer towards another item that buyers of golf clubs also buy; this could have resulted in another sale and a positive CX. Instead, Smith was put off by learning that the item he recently paid full price for was now being offered at a discount.

Adobe Customer Journey Analytics will tie into existing Adobe business solutions. It can also benefit from artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) through Adobe Sensei, which has prebuilt AI/ML models that can be trained over time to make better predictions on activities happening across the customer journey. It can also suggest recommendations on best next steps or automate cumbersome processes.

One interesting feature of the solution is its ability to offer cross-device analytics, which can incorporate user behavior from various devices they use to interact with businesses, including smartphones, tablets, desktop PCs, and others, into a single stream. This means brands and businesses have a better grasp of how to tailor user experiences (UXes) on each device based on users' preferences to use them. This gives a unified picture of customers and the devices they use, and it also puts the focus on people rather than devices.

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This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.