In recent years Adobe Systems has concentrated on refining Adobe Analytics into the Adobe Marketing Cloud solution.

Adobe shared its updates at the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit. The summit is a premier event for analytics practitioners, including many who still remember when Adobe Analytics was Omniture Site Catalyst.

The big deal this year was the transformation of web analytics tools to physical analytics solutions.

The latest Marketing Cloud changes, for example, signal that measurement must extend beyond a web or app page to share measurement insights.

What's New?

One key announcement focused on the new Experience Manager Screens. This tool that passes images, video and other media content to various devices and screens based on a consumer's physical location.

That makes it possible to deliver personalized, relevant media to shoppers while they are in retail stores, hotels, restaurants or other locations, regardless of device.

Another announcement targeted programmatic practitioners and developers. An updated software development kit adds testing and optimization features to account for data sourced outside of web or app traffic.

This includes location-based data sources such as iBeacons and GPS-related activity.

Retailers and analytics professionals have good reason to be interested in iBeacons. They are expected to reveal new smartphone behavior that is closely aligned with real world activity.

Adobe’s introductions arrive as adoption of smartphones and tablets has lead to significant changes in online consumer behavior.

  1. Showrooming, the customer comparison of a product online while in-store, was once a consumer trend associated with the holiday retail season. It has become a staple of digital retail.
  2. Consumer behavior has displayed parallel device usage. Yahoo noted in its Points of Influence study that consumers increasingly use a laptop and smartphone simultaneously when researching online at home.
  3. Highly personalized content has grown in demand, particularly as consumers use social media to engage with their favorite brands. Personalization requires identifying where customers engage.

These behaviors highlight the complexity digital marketing analysis can reach, forcing analytic solutions to adapt from monitoring visits and bounce rates to metrics related to the customer experience.

Pulling Meaning from Measurement

Analytical advancement raises a particular challenge for managers: gaining accurate meaning behind a given analysis.

Back in 2012 eMarketer reported that only half of marketers found analytics useful due to their analysis struggles. Reports since then indicate that deploying effort have changed very little. In 2014, marketers noted the need for more engagement, but according to eMarketer “just 45.8 percent are actively managing this."

The analytics community has taken notice of the summit announcements.

Early responses indicate that Adobe has taken the right approach in addressing these kind of roadblocks. They are helping marketers match the shifting emphasis from web analytics — making media analogous to human intention — to behavioral analytics — media analogous to real time activity.

This kind of adjustment prepares analytic solution providers, content creators and marketers for the coming Internet of Things environment.

Ultimately Adobe Marketing Cloud will spur changes from other analytics solution providers.

I've seen a few great ideas from web developers who have come up with tagging ideas for Google Analytics.

The rise of a physical analytics solution will provide a means for marketers to understand the customer lifecycle of a purchase, leading to better suggestions on strategy.