At the Adobe Summit EMEA the company has unveiled new advertising capabilities for its Marketing Cloud. It is promising tools to create more personalised ad experiences over multiple platforms and new analytics capabilities to provide a better understanding of the effectiveness of advertising.
One of the challenges for digital marketing over the last year has been the rise of the Ad Blocker which means that any promise to improve the effectiveness of advertising technology will be greeted with caution but also with great interest. As sites using Google Analytics have discovered, reliance on Google analytics to understand reach is becoming increasingly difficult. This is because the current range of privacy tools inside browsers not only reduce the number of pop-ups and adverts but also block the gathering of statistics. This has become something of a hot debate in the advertising industry and has forced a number of sites to block users who are using Ad Blockers.
Adobe’s claim hinges on the delivery of new highly personalised content that will come with new analytics. In the press release Justin Merickel, vice president, Digital Advertising, Adobe said: “Customers’ expectations of online experiences continue to increase, with 85 percent of consumers stating that the prefer ads that are tailored to their personal interests. The advancements in Adobe Media Optimizer and further integrations across Adobe Marketing Cloud give brands the confidence to deliver exceptional ad experiences across digital touch points.”
It’s all about personalisation
The claim by Merickel that 85% of consumers want more personalised ads across their digital touch points jars with the experience of the industry at the moment. Consumers are buying into Ad Blocking technology big time and every other survey shows an increasing resistance to online advertising. To suggest greater personalisation and for that to be across all a users digital touch points raises privacy and tracking concerns.
To be fair to Adobe it has always kept out of the debate over tracking and content blocking. However customers will want to know how it intends to help them get around the technology customers are deploying. Adobe’s response has been to focus on moving away from one-size fits all to using incentives to get customers to sign up for advertising.
This is an approach that has worked well for loyalty card schemes and for a number of retailers and big brands. Customers who are willing to give up some data get something in return. While there is still resistance to this from a large number of consumers there are ways around it. One of these has been social media channels where users are often willingly to give up a lot of data for relatively little back.
Five new capabilities
There are five new capabilities outlined in the press release and each points back to different Adobe products. These are:
- Creative Content at Scale: Using Adobe’s Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) digital assets created for large scale campaigns can be reused as part of a personalised ad approach. Brands can then combining content from multiple digital asset management systems including Adobe Experience Manager Assets to create a multi-channel approach across all of the brand’s own channels.
- Video Advertising: New support for video ads in Adobe Media Optimizer makes it easier to deploy video across multiple channels including web and social media. Using Adobe Analytics, Adobe Audience Manager and Core services, the effectiveness of those ads can be more accurately measured.
- Mobile Audience Acquisition: New integrations with Adobe Analytics and Mobile Core Services SDK makes it possible to track customer app installs, usage behaviour and conversions. With users often having the same app on multiple devices it will also be possible to target device specific data to the user taking advantage of the platform that they are using at the time to deliver a highly personalised as campaign.
- Location Data: Location data is still significantly underused yet consumers often fail to block its use. There are two options here. The first is to be able to make an ad more relevant by targeting users close by such as sending offers to in-store shoppers. The second is to respond to what is happening at a specific location and focus offers on people in that geography. Taking advantage of social media analytics would also enable advertisers to hook into trending topics and events.
- Reporting Advancements: Adobe has improved the integrations with Adobe Analytics creating a more accurate picture of ad performance. It is now possible to bring together information from multiple channels to see exactly which channel is the most effective at any given time. While the data is not yet being offered in real-time Adobe is claiming a number of new features in the Analysis Workspace in Adobe Analytics including an intuitive, drag-and-drop visual interface.
Analysts see this as a strong move by Adobe with Bola Rotibi, Research Director, Creative Intellect Consulting commenting: “In a world with high digital engagement and online activity through a variety of form factors (desktops, mobile devices and smart TVs) it is no longer enough to simply focus on the creative look of content. To grab the attention of consumers that are subjected to vast amounts of digital content and information, the focus needs to be on targeted creative content that personalises their interaction both in meeting their needs and aspirations without getting in the way of their engagement.
“Such considerations are not only crucial to their overall experience but impact the outcome of further interactions and long term loyalty. Adobe’s new suite of advertising solutions which focus on delivering creative content, deep data insights and engaging users with highly personalised messages and offer, draw a significant battle line in a highly competitive market where attention spans are being constrained.”
Digital advertisers have spent much of the last year facing an almost perfect storm of privacy legislation, moves to curtail tracking and the widespread uptake of ad blocking. Anything that can help them improve the effectiveness of their campaigns, particularly better analytics will be seen as a bonus.
Adobe and Oracle are battling it out in the marketing cloud space. While Adobe has introduced some significant iterative improvements with this announcement Oracle has been integrating its recent acquisitions into their marketing cloud. Who has the best approach will be determined by the success of their customers and the ability to win new ones, it will be interesting to see who gains market share over the next few months.