Adobe Marketing Cloud explained

Adobe is the latest marketing cloud to announce machine learning and AI capabilities.

Following hot on the heels of IBM Watson and Salesforce’s Einstein, Adobe has announced the launch of Adobe Sensei as “one of our biggest strategic investments”, bringing artificial intelligence into their marketing cloud.

Adobe Sensei will ‘automate mundane tasks, drive predictive and personalisation capabilities, and boost productivity’ across both Marketing and Creative Clouds.

Some examples of the new intelligent services include:

  • Attribution: Algorithmically determining the impact of different marketing touch points on consumers’ decisions to engage with a brand.
  • Anomaly Detection: Simplifies data analysis by surfacing the most relevant insights and highlighting anomalies using statistics to focus on what needs attention
  • Sentiment Analysis: Helps see and predict what customers like, talk about, and share most.


For more information visit the Adobe Sensei microsite


What else is happening in our Marketing Cloud hub?

An image with the text Adobe marketing Cloud updates hub featuring a cartoon scientist offering a comprehensive guide

What is Adobe Marketing Cloud?

Adobe Marketing Cloud is a digital toolbox, filled to the brim with enterprise-level applications and services covering the major areas of digital marketing. There are eight main tools – Analytics, Audience Manager (personalistion), Campaign (multi-channel marketing; automation), Experience Manager (content), Media Optimizer (ads), Primetime (video), Social and Target (testing).

Marketers can buy individual bits but, as with the Beatles, they tend to work better together, becom ing more powerful when used in combination and integrated with other marketing technologies.

“I’d argue that we have the most complete solution on the market. We are in the process of integrating everything together which will make it more appealing to marketers” – Ann Lewnes, SVP & Chief Marketing Officer Adobe speaking to TFM in June 2015

Signalling its move into the Customer Experience market, Adobe was the first major software provider to announce its intention to build an integrated digital marketing hub. The Marketing Cloud suite of tools – officially launched in 2012 – was compiled in part through acquisitions including Omniture, Day Software and Neolane.

Here’s a 2 mins 30 secs video covering the basics of what its all about. It’s slightly out of date (Jan 2015), mentioning six of the eight products currently available:

Adobe Marketing Cloud updates: What’s the latest news?

MAY 2016 – Acquisition

Adobe proudly touted its acquisition of Livefyre, best known for its online commenting system. Livefyre also offers tools for brands to engage with their audiences, for instance aggregating user-generated content in real time for live web pages and event screens.

Adobe plans to integrate Livefyre into its Experience Manager, its content management service for building web sites and mobile apps – TechCrunch.

MAY 2016 – Adobe Summit EMEA announcements

A photo of the stage at Adobe Summit EMEA 2016

Adobe announced various updates across its marketing cloud:

  • Data-driven advertising – New advertising capabilities include full integration of Adobe’s Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) to help deliver personalised creative content at scale and in real time, support for video ads with built-in analytics and the ability to leverage location information to adjust bids on search ad impressions – press release.
  • New data science capabilities across the Adobe Marketing Cloud, including:
    • an auto-allocate capability in Adobe Target (Smarter Allocation for Visitor Traffic) which automatically discovers the highest-performing experiences and funnels live visitor traffic to those experiences even while you’re still testing;
    • the integration of Adobe Media Optimizer with Adobe Analytic;
    • folllowing on from the January launch of Adobe Campaign’s remarketing capability, it added “propensity scoring” to Adobe Analytics for cart abandonment, where customers are scored on their likelihood to return to the site;
    • also unveiled was Adobe Campaign’s beta program for predictive subject lines, which suggests subject line content to optimize performance – Adobe blog.

The software giant also teased results from its Adobe Digital Index (ADI) EMEA Best of the Best 2015 Report, which benchmarks what the average and top companies are doing:

  • Only 40% of consumers think companies are doing a good job at providing consistent and personalised experiences across devices.
  • European consumers now own an average of 6.1 connected devices, and use three of these daily, across multiple operating systems.
  • 85% of us also now frequently switch devices during online tasks, showing there is still work to be done by brands to make sure experience across devices stacks up.
  • From a UK-perspective, we are ahead of the curve when it comes to website traffic from desktop visits, with the lowest average amount of traffic originating from a desktop device at 56%, which means considerably more traffic is coming from mobile devices than other countries. This is supported by data which found that the UK’s Top 20 has the highest performance in the traffic originating from a smartphone (43%), outperforming every other country.

APRIL 2016 – Product update

The AMC Spring 2016 release includes single-click navigation between solutions, new notifications widget and a redesigned Feed.

New Adobe Analytics features include the Activity Map (formerly ClickMap), virtual report suites, Analysis Workspace project scheduling and downloading, and Data Workbench 6.6.

Release notes.

MARCH 2016 – Product updates and launches
The Adobe Summit in Las Vegas saw the launch of, a developer portal enabling developers to download the Adobe Marketing Cloud software development kit and easily access API routines and protocol – press release.

Newly announced Adobe Certified Metrics offer standardised digital census data for more accurate measurement of digital audiences – this was followed up by news of related comScore and Neilsen partnerships – press release.

Adobe unveiled it’s Marketing Cloud Device Co-op, a network that will enable the world’s biggest brands to work together to better identify customers as they move from one digital device to another – press release.

Other announcements from the summit include deeper integration of AEM Mobile, new Mobile Core Services tools, new capabilities in Adobe Primetime and new data science capabilities.

DECEMBER 2015 – Partnership

An extended Accenture and Adobe partnership will focus on providing digital marketing solutions for large-scale campaigns in the life science, healthcare and financial services sectors in NA and Europe – press release.

“Working with Accenture at this level is a significant step toward providing tailored versions of Adobe Marketing Cloud solutions that address the unique requirements of specific vertical industries. This is a logical next step in the evolution of Adobe Marketing Cloud as an enterprise software platform to help industries successfully transition to digital.” – Matt Thompson, executive vice president, Worldwide Field Operations at Adobe

NOVEMBER 2015 – Product launch

Adobe launches Audience Marketplace, a data exchange where companies can buy second- and third-party audiences – TechCrunch.


8 products make up Adobe Marketing Cloud

  • Adobe Analytics (previously Omniture SiteCatalyst) – A relatively powerful tool for measuring what’s going on when people check out your website. It sits at the centre of the stack, letting you work out the effectiveness of other Adobe Marketing Cloud products in granular detail. With some development tinkering, Adobe Analytics can also pull in various data from other offline or third-party sources, giving you a wider view of the customer journey.
  • Adobe Audience Manager – Useful for targeted ad campaigns, Audience Manager lets you build audience profiles to improve personalisation. Audience Marketplace, where businesses can acquire second- and third-party audiences, launched in November 2015.
  • Adobe Campaign – A multi-channel marketing campaign planning and execution tool. It was formerly known as Neolane before Adobe’s acquisition of the company in 2013. It’s also lives a double life, moonlighting as a marketing automation tool.
  • Adobe Experience Manager – Adobe Experience Manager is an asset creation and delivery platform, handy for publishing tailored content (e.g. newsletters) across web, email, mobile and social.
  • Adobe Media Optimizer – A tool for ad-buying, which lets you forecast the ideal combination of search, display and social media ads within budget. Media Optimizer also provides ad management and delivery.
  • Adobe Primetime – Primetime is a video platform built around modern viewing habits (i.e. any Internet-connected device becomes a TV). It’s aimed at broadcasters, cable networks and service providers, letting them serve up TV and film content mixed with personalised ads.
  • Adobe Social – A social ROI tool that lets users manage social media campaigns across all the major platforms.
  • Adobe Target – Target helps businesses identify their best content through digital testing and optimisation. You can also use it to create anonymous profiles of site visitors, enabling personalised product or content recommendations.


Adobe Marketing Cloud review: What the analysts say

Gartner (which for some reason has its own name for marketing clouds – “digital marketing hubs”) has once again identified Adobe Marketing Cloud as top dog in its Magic Quadrant analysis:

A chart showing Gartner's Magic Quadrant 2016 analysis of digital marketing hubs, with Adobe Marketing Cloud reviewed as the most complete and joint best in execution.

“Many marketers have adopted Adobe as their standard for digital marketing applications, incorporating other providers only in areas where Adobe lacks offerings, such as e-commerce. While Adobe supports open integration with outside applications, its core service layer, including profiles and audiences, administration, and collaboration tools, creates incentives to stay within its suite. Consider Adobe if you are a midsize-to-large B2C enterprise looking to compete on quality of customer experience and personalization.” – Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing Hubs, pub. 5 January 2016

A consultant to UNICEF gave the package a mixed review over at TrustRadius, finding it powerful but pricey, as well as potentially tricky to implement:

“ROI on Adobe Marketing Cloud purchase – Adobe Marketing Cloud has been a valuable customer-aquisition asset for several B2B companies I’ve had contact with. While return in investment depends on other variables surrounding the tool and the business, consistent increase in lead-to-conversion rates have been a good indication of increase in performance.
For B2C businesses, however, Adobe Marketing Cloud can be an overkill solution. Its high license, implementation and maintenance costs make it a hard investment to back, since cheaper solutions can provide the same kinds of insights.” – Rodrigo Domingues, Integrated Marketing Consultant, UNICEF


Adobe Marketing Cloud pricing: How much is it?

A picture of piles of coins for the Adobe Marketing Cloud pricing section

Adobe Marketing Cloud pricing is a bit tricky to nail down, as it is made up of eight products that can be subscribed to in any combination; pricing is also dependent on company size.

The services are for enterprise customers with complex digital marketing needs and budgets that can accommodate a minimum spend in the tens of thousands of dollars.

If you want to know exact pricing, it is best to contact an Adobe salesperson.

A former CMO for Acquia (a smaller CMS rival) argues that Adobe Marketing Cloud is simply not a mid-market product:

“It’s no secret that Adobe CQ [experience manager] is the most expensive CMS. Adobe said during their recent partner summit that the average CQ deal is $450,000 in license with the total implementation cost of over $2m USD. Adobe’s focus is squarely on the largest companies who value their entire Marketing Cloud…” – Tom Wentworth, writing as Chief Marketing Officer, Acquia


Adobe Marketing Cloud Exchange – what is it?

A screen grab of the home page of Adobe Marketing Cloud exchange

Adobe Marketing Cloud Exchange – launched in May 2014 – is a marketplace for AMC applications, some of which better integrate Adobe products with each other as well as third-party apps.


Adobe Marketing Cloud training videos

A picture of the home page for official Adobe Marketing Cloud video resources

Adobe has its own video platform, where a lot of its most valuable official content is hosted, as opposed to YouTube. Best to use the search function to look for walkthroughs about particular products.

If you’re feeling a bit lost with Adobe Analytics, it has an official YouTube Channel featuring a number of short videos ranging from simple to expert tips.

Digital marketing agency Axis41 publishes an Adobe Experience Manager podcast – as well as a few short spotlight videos on various aspects of the software – YouTube Playlist.

Here’s a quick video tour of Adobe Social, with a playlist of relevant videos also on the page.

This 13-minute Adobe Target product showcase will give you a good sense of the personalisation tools available.


Most valuable Adobe Marketing Cloud resources

Adobe has a well-stocked resource centre for its Marketing Cloud services.

Case study: See how Chelsea Football Club arrived at their purchase of Adobe Marketing Cloud via IT firm CACI and how they implement it across the business.

Case study: House of Fraser’s Paid Search Manager talks about how the company uses Adobe Media Optimizer for Search within Adobe Marketing Cloud.

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Luke Bilton

Luke Bilton

Director, Digital & Content, UBM

Luke Bilton is Director of Digital and Content at UBM EMEA, one of the world’s largest event organisers, where he is responsible for live and online content and digital products.
Luke has worked in publishers such as Future Publishing, IPC and the Chelsea Magazine Company where he has launched magazines, websites and events.
Luke is a member of the IDM Qualifications Advisory Board, advising on business-to-business digital marketing.

Connect with him on Linkedin or Twitter

November 2, 2016

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