It's no secret that data is becoming more important to the function of marketing. But making that data available to and usable by the marketing department is no mean feat. That's the reasoning behind a slew of new features for Adobe Analytics (part of the Adobe Marketing Cloud) announced by Adobe today.
"You can only push adoption and engagement with analytics so far into an organization with things like ease of use," says Bill Ingram, vice president of Adobe Analytics and Adobe Social. "So we started thinking, how do we take this more advanced technology and help them be more effective without forcing them to become an analyst 'ninja' if you will."
Analytics Automation Helps Organizations Use Data More Effectively
Adobe's answer is to automate the process by placing predictive analytics at the core of its offering in the form of Anomaly Detection. Anomaly Detection—accessible from the Adobe Marketing Cloud interface and in the new Adobe Analytics iOS app for mobile device reporting (or integrated into customized dashboards via open APIs—creates a baseline norm from historical trends and then identifies data points that fall outside that norm. It then issues alerts that ensure that marketers, analysts and data scientists can take note and act upon the information.
"It's the new starting point for virtually every analysis that someone needs to do in an enterprise," Ingram says. "The algorithm analyzes your data and only surfaces things that are anomalous. It's a much easier place to start your analysis."
Anomaly Detection requires a learning period to create a baseline before it's capable of identifying anomalies. Ingram notes that you can feed it historical data, or you can train it on live data, though that process can take between 30 and 90 days, depending on your needs. Once trained, he says, it looks at data that's 24 hours old. However, Ingram noted that as Adobe evolves the feature, it should get closer and closer to real-time anomaly detection.
Adobe has added some real-time features in the latest Adobe Analytics upgrade. This release includes enhanced real-time reporting capabilities intended to give marketers, editors and business users more granular information about content consumption, campaign success and on-site conversion as it happens. Ingram says the data now refreshes as often as every five seconds.
"Adobe continues to deliver new innovations in analytics that make it easier for marketers to do our jobs and prove ROI," says Ben Meacham, Web Analytics and Multi-Variate Testing Manager at Skullcandy. "The new real-time reporting will enable us to get insights into our data faster, which we hope to turn into enhanced revenue opportunities."
Adobe has also been working on data visualization in an effort to make it easier to gain actionable intelligence from your data. In the new release, marketers have the ability to filter real-time streams of data to isolate key metrics. For instance, Ingram notes you can now use Adobe Analytics visualizations to depict what times of day orders are being placed on your site, or how a retailer's "daily deal" is performing.
The release will also let you toggle real-time reporting visualizations for display on big screen TVs and large computer monitors—which Adobe notes is ideal for newsrooms or marketing departments' war rooms.
Helping Marketers Measure and Optimize Mobile Apps
Since more traffic than ever before is originating from mobile devices, Adobe has released a new mobile app software developer kit (SDK) that provides full access to analyze data collected from mobile apps in Adobe Analytics, including GPS location to give marketers the ability to serve location-specific content to customers based on their location when they access a mobile app.
Adobe has also added in-app conversion analysis to Adobe Analytics. This gives marketers the ability to track conversion metrics like time spent in an app or the actions a user takes while in that app.
"A lot of our clients are moving pretty extensively to mobile apps," Ingram says. "They want to understand the mobile app world as opposed to just the mobile Web world."
With the capability to measure how users are interacting with apps, Ingram says marketers now have the ability to begin optimizing that experience.
Finally, Ingram notes that Adobe is adding advanced video metrics with the latest release, providing standardized video analytics reporting and measurement capabilities. Using what Ingram calls "heartbeat" measurements, it captures user day every 10 seconds for content and every five seconds for ads. The data are then aggregated and sent back into Adobe Analytics.
By integrating video ad tracking with content delivery, Ingram says broadcasters will be able to optimize their ad loads by understanding the best times to insert ads, best number of ads to show and ideal length of ads.
Adobe says the new functionality will be available to customers later this quarter.
Thor Olavsrud covers IT Security, Big Data, Open Source, Microsoft Tools and Servers for CIO.com. Follow Thor on Twitter @ThorOlavsrud. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.