Adobe wants to predict the future of your business.
At today’s Summit 2016 — Adobe’s annual digital marketing conference in the U.S.– the company announced its latest additions to its Marketing Cloud solution. And without placing tongue firmly in cheek, we saw the most recent additions coming, thanks to the research we’ve been conducting at VB Insight.
Adobe — without any doubt — has the most complete Marketing Cloud solution on the planet. Our 24,000-word study of marketing clouds shows that the completeness of Adobe’s product can’t be denied. But it was what was missing from the lineup that made us most curious about what would come next, and today we got those answers.
Before we take a look at Adobe’s new prediction skills, it is important to look at recent updates to the marketing cloud and, in particular, to Adobe’s mobile offerings.
Last month, Adobe announced Experience Manager Mobile. It combines several of Adobe’s mobile tools into a single platform that allows for simplified creation and management of apps on iOS and Android. The resulting apps are deeply connected to Adobe Marketing Cloud, which means that the same team that manages the brand’s website can handle its mobile presence too. That opens the door for cross-device marketing from a centralized solution.
Adding to that cross-device story, Adobe has also announced today a global partnership with comScore that will provide insight into the media consumption behaviors of digital audiences. This data gives Adobe cross-device audience measurement of video and ad content.
Taken separately, these announcements are interesting. But combined, they are far more than the sum of their parts.
A recent Adobe survey found that U.S. consumers are multi-screening regularly, using 2.42 devices on average at the same time. Combine that understanding with both recent and current announcements, and you start to get a sense of where Adobe is going.
Today at Summit 2016, Adobe has announced a series of new data science capabilities that include a TV recommendation engine, automated insights for advertising, a customer lifetime value prediction system, and predictive subject lines that help optimize emails. These capabilities are focused on using algorithms in a marketing context, extracting insights from billions of data points to help marketers make better business decisions.
But all of these data science-oriented solutions aren’t where the real magic happens. For data science, predictive analytics, and machine learning to work in a business context, you have to make them easy to understand and simple to use.
Enter “Virtual Analyst,” a predictive engine that the company claims will let you benefit from recommendations and predictions you didn’t even know existed. It is available as part of Adobe Analytics and will ship later this year.
Virtual Analyst learns from your input and the input of other users. It notes and prioritizes significant changes in the data and surfaces relevant insights that help marketers make better business decisions.
We’ve seen solutions like this before — BeyondCore is one example. Asking millions of questions in the background, the Virtual Analyst will surface any answers that show something statistically significant, and — to a high level of certainty — beneficial to the business.
For example, Virtual Analyst might recognize that revenue is an important metric for you and then intelligently combine order, unit, and social media mentions with your revenue alert. Virtual Analyst also flags data anomalies hourly and produces simple, text-based email alerts.
That solves one of the biggest issues with analytics: Not knowing what questions to ask in the first place.
And with a stronger mobile solution that works between devices, across the website to app divide, and within a centralized management platform, Adobe’s virtual analyst can surface predictions that matter across the entire customer experience.
In addition to Virtual Analyst, Adobe Analytics is also gaining Segment IQ, another automated analyst that discovers overlaps and differences between sets of target audiences.
Adobe continues to have the most feature-complete marketing cloud, but it faces stiff opposition from over 18 vendors that are all vying to be the cloud-based location the marketer spends all their time on. While there are still gaps to fill (I predict that app store optimization will enter the marketing-cloud fray soon), marketing clouds are helping organizations gain significant results, as we discovered during a recent webinar.
The one thing we didn’t predict was George Clooney and Donny Osmond taking the stage at a marketing event, but really, who did?
Updated 8:41 a.m. PT with details on Adobe’s deal with comScore.