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.

adobe-sen-en-feature-smarter-data-461x294

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 Adobe.ie, 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.

Oracle Marketing Cloud updates: Pricing, academy, partners

An image with the text The Oracle marketing cloud updates hub featuring a cartoon scientist offering a comprehensive guideWhat’s in our Oracle Marketing Cloud hub?

What’s in the Oracle Marketing Cloud?

In April 2014, Oracle announced it was getting into the marketing cloud space, bringing together tech assembled through acquisition, including Eloqua (marketing automation), Responsys (cross-channel marketing), Compendium (content distribution) and BlueKai (data management). In December 2014 it added Datalogix (marketing analytics) and in the middle of 2015, testing and optimisation firm Maxymiser was acquired.

Oracle breaks up the offerings into cross-channel, content and social marketing and data management. This includes:

  • Oracle Eloqua – Marketing automation software based on cross-channel campaigns, with analytics. Ostensibly for marketing to businesses.
  • Oracle Responsys – A similar raft of tools but for marketing to consumers, with some nifty real-time consumer behaviour features.
  • Content Marketing – Includes centralised content planning, personlisation, tailored workflows for content generation, cross-channel and social media publishing and analytics.
  • Social Marketing – social listening, engagement, publishing and analytics.
  • Oracle Data Management Platform (AKA Oracle DMP or Oracle Bluekai) – For managing audience data, analytics, a 3rd party audience data marketplace and pre-integrated advertising partners.

Oracle’s approach is slightly different from its marketing cloud competitors, such as Salesforce (TFM’s updates hub), IBM (updates hub) and Adobe (updates hub), with an explicit emphasis being made on openness and integration rather than being a “monolithic suite”.

Oracle created a gently amusing cartoon series to elaborate on their “Modern Marketing” campaign for the marketing cloud – the trailer for Season 1 is an entertaining two minutes:

Oracle Marketing Cloud pricing

Oracle Eloqua’s monthly cost for a database under 10,000 contacts is $2,000 for the Basic plan (up to 10 marketing users), $4,000 for Standard (up to 50 marketing users and adding various features including priority service) and you’d need to contact sales about the Enterprise plan.

TrustRadius puts Oracle Responsys’s entry-level setup fee at $16,250 per account.

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


NOVEMBER 2015 – New features
A raft of new upgrades to OMC let marketers orchestrate mobile customer engagement, clearly attribute revenue to marketing activities, and optimise experiences for individual customers – VentureBeat.


OCTOBER 2015 – New features

New product Match Multiplier was announced the OpenWorld conference, designed to bring together participating Marketing Cloud users to anonymously “pool” their capacity to identify customers across multiple channels. Other new features include Offline Data Append and Business Units for Content MarketingAd Exchanger.


AUGUST 2015 – Acquisition

Oracle slots cloud-based marketing tools provider Maxymiser – used for testing, optimisation and personalisation – into its marketing cloud lineup – Business Cloud News.

Oracle Marketing Cloud Academy

A cartoon representation of an online course

The Oracle Marketing Cloud Academy offers a range of classes for marketing professionals to hone their chops.

Course are split up into the four broad segments that Oracle identifies for its marketing cloud products – B2B, B2C, data management and content marketing.

You can get onsite or remote, team or one-on-one training. Content can be consumed on demand or via interactive webcast.

Customer of OMC can buy an All Access Education Pass (AAEP) for individuals.

There are two Oracle Eloqua (B2B) certification programs – the B2B Marketing Masters and B2B Marketing Luminary.

Supposedly there are certification programmes coming (“in 2015”) for Oracle Responsys (B2C) – dubbed “B2C Marketing Campaign Master” and “B2C Marketing Program Master”.

Google Analytics updates: Certification, API, tutorial

Welcome for our hub for Google Analytics updates, a regularly updated page with the latest on GA certification, API, tutorials, videos and our pick of blog posts.

What’s in our Google Analytics hub?

A picture of a scientist making notes about the Google Analytics hub.

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What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics (often referred to as “GA” or its newer version “Universal Analytics”) is a service for you to track how people use your website or mobile apps. The basic features are free and available to anyone with a Google Account (also free). It can be used to measure simple things like the number of visitors over a given period or provide more complex data like how long a visitor spends on a particular page, what device they’re using and how they arrived there.

Google Analytics was launched in 2005, a time when many companies were paying for tools like WebTrends to generate website analytics. Gradually they realised that Google Analytics was free and more than adequate in terms of functionality. Google was able to provide the service for free because it fit so well with its highly profitable AdWords product, encouraging businesses to keep spending money on pay-per-click search campaigns.

Linking AdWords with Google Analytics enables a more complete data picture when it comes to AdWords campaigns – something which, unsurprisingly, Google encourages.

Google Analytics updates: What’s the latest news?


MARCH 2016 – New features
Google takes on the big marketing clouds through an upgrade to Google Analytics Premium, dubbed the Google Analytics 360 Suite, turning it into a capable marketing data management and analysis platform – Smart Insights.


DECEMBER 2015 – Features

The Smart Goals feature, via Google Analytics, comes to AdWords for advertisers that aren’t able to track conversions in order to optimise campaigns – press release.


JUNE 2015 – Features

Google brings Remarketing Lists for Search Ads [now known as “Audiences”] to Google Analytics, with limitations – analysis from Search Engine Land.

Here’s a guide to how “Remarketing” works – Google Support.


 

How Google Analytics Works

Congratulations – you’ve enabled a powerful tool that will generate lots of statistics for you. Trouble is, that torrent of information won’t be much use until you define what it is you want to know in the first place.

Broadly speaking, when using Google Analytics, you’re taking part in the cycle: measure, learn from the results, tweak accordingly, measure and so on.

Some things you can find out include:

  • How is my audience finding my site? (where they came from = “source”)
  • How many people are visiting my site? (visitors = “users”)
  • How long do they stay? (duration of a single visit = a “session”)
  • How many different pages are they clicking between? (“pages per session”)
  • Which pages are most interesting?
  • What search queries are bringing people to my site?

As with your business, you should have goals that you want your website to achieve, for instance by August, you want to see newsletter subscriptions grow to 10,000.

To help you measure whether you’re reaching your goals, Google Analytics has a feature aptly named “Goals”. The helpful people over at Kissmetrics have written an in-depth guide to the different types of goals.

The Google Small Business YouTube channel has a video which can help you decide what you want to measure:

If there’s a term you didn’t quite understand, there’s a handy glossary over at Socialmediaexaminer.com.

Google Analytics is designed around the structure of Accounts, Properties and Views:

  • An Account (of which you can have 100) is the umbrella under which…
  • …you can track up to 50 Properties (distinct websites or apps)…
  • …and you can have 25 Views per Property. This is the level at which you’ll create reports

For more info on these hierarchies, have a look at Google’s support pages.

Google Analytics review: What the analysts say

This Datanyze chart compares analytics software used across the top 1 million Alexa-ranked websites: Google Analytics and Google Universal Analytics enjoy a whopping 65% combined market share:

A Datanyze chart of the market share of analytics software across the Alexa top ranking 1 million sites, showing Google Analytics and Universal Analytics enjoying a combined 65%
TrustRadius published reviews of Google Analytics all score the service 7/10 or above, although there are some caveats:

“For most SMB’s I would definitely recommend Google Analytics. If a business sells a lot of ‘complex’ products with many attributes, then Omniture [Adobe Analytics] may be a better solution.” – Michael Baker, Digital Marketing Manager, Raymour & Flanagan.

Generally, people are effusive:

“As a free product, Google Analytics is hands down a fantastic value and a terrific tool for everyone from professional marketers, to beginning bloggers or search engine marketers.” – Joshua Van Horsen, Marketing Manager, Drury Hotels

Google Analytics Academy, training and certification

A picture of the three pillars of the Google Analytics Academy: "View lessons from experts", "test your knowledge" and "join the learning community"

Google Analytics Academy is a website stuffed full of free courses and resources. The courses cover things like Tag Manager Fundamentals, Mobile App Analytics and Ecommerce Analytics.

If you’re so inclined, you can take short quizzes and try exercises.

There are numerous other providers of local or online GA training, such as UK-based Jellyfish (£500 + VAT for a one day London course) and Lynda.com (which operates a monthly membership subscription + free one month trial).

The Google Partners accreditation scheme for advertising agencies, digital marketing professionals and other online consultants offers a Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ). The exam is free, although there are plenty of hoops to jump through to become a Google Partner, not least a minimum AdWords spend in the tens of thousands USD.

The Google Analytics IQ exam tests knowledge of both digital analytics and GA. In advance you should consider these Analytics Academy courses: Digital Analytics Fundamentals and Google Analytics Platform Principles.

Then there is the company level The Google Analytics Certified Partner accreditation program with its own set of requirements.

What is available through the Google Analytics API?

A flowchart showing the Google analytics structure and APIs

There are a number of APIs for Google Analytics, including the Management API (info relating to GA accounts) and the Core Reporting API (the report data itself – pageviews etc).

The Google Developers site gives a good overview of the various APIs, as well as resources relating to them.

Optimizesmart.com has a simple to follow but deep guide to using the basic GA APIs without any coding.

Google Analytics tutorial: Useful resources

The Google Developers site is a great place to start for technical know-how.

Here’s a top-level overview presentation about the importance of analytics, if you need a primer –

Digital agency ArcStone has collected together a useful list of resources, starting from the basics.

This video covers the essential functionality of the platform:

Google has its own repository of white papers and other resources with some things to read on the customer journey, for instance this guide to digital attribution and customer touchpoint mapping: “Four Ways To Measure What Matters Most” – PDF.

This article, for search marketers, goes over the benefits of combining Google Analytics with Remarketing Lists for Search Ads – Search Engine Land.

Building reports and filters

Reports
The various standard reports live on the left-hand sidebar of the main reporting screen.

A picture of the Google Analytics reporting dashboard

These defaults can be limited in terms of how relevant they are to your particular business.

Custom reports can be used to isolate the stats that really matter – Econsultancy has a few handy examples of custom reports.

Filters

Filters are a handy way to help keep things simple and relevant. They can be set to include or exclude certain data, and can cut across all domains or be applied just to one. A good example is that you might want to differentiate traffic caused by your own employees on your website from that of customers.

You can access filters via the Admin tab:

A screengrab of the Google Analytics admin tab showing where filters are
Google Analytics’ support pages cover Filters extensively, including this introduction video:

A quick history of Google Analytics

Google Analytics service was launched in November 2005 following Google’s acquisition of web statistics company Urchin. After some hiccups with high demand causing capacity issues, the service was made available to everyone in August 2006.

In late 2009, Google launched a new version of the tracking code added to users’ websites, improving the accuracy of the data generated and addressing previous complaints that the service was causing websites to load more slowly for their visitors.

Over the years, the kinks have been ironed out of Google Analytics’ usability, with the somewhat addictive feature of real-time data being added in 2011, meaning you can see who is using your site at any given moment.

Universal Analytics, announced in 2012 and launched in 2014, was the last major update to the platform, designed to help users keep track of site visitors across different devices. It currently exists alongside “classic” Google Analytics and, as with older versions of Windows, is causing some companies anxiety over the ease and timing of migration.

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