LAS VEGAS — Adobe Inc. is planning to launch a “next-generation” version of its Marketing Cloud suite at Adobe Summit this week, containing new tools that will help marketers track and segment customers as they move across myriad types of devices and channels, according to leaders at the company.

Adobe’s Marketing Cloud ranks highly among competitors when it comes to analyst comparisons, said presenters on a media preview call for its annual conference. The service is now pushing through 41 trillion transactions per year – a metric Adobe uses that essentially means API calls – and saw a record $1.36 billion in revenue for 2015. The theme set for this year’s Summit is experience, says Kevin Lindsay, principal product marketing manager for digital at Adobe, and will focus on how the customer is interacting with brands, and how marketers can serve that customer with relevance and personalization from the start of their journey to the end – no matter what touchpoint they happen to be using.

“As we think about what an experience business is, we think that companies think about the customer first,” he says. “Not just from a marketing perspective, but across the entire customer lifecycle.”

Adobe Marketing Cloud - analyst rankings
Where analysts rank Adobe Marketing Cloud – click for larger image.

Built-in intelligence features

As the curtains part at Summit, Adobe plans to show off an updated user interface for its Marketing Cloud, backed up by new and deeper integrations and new capabilities for mobile.

smart tags
Adobe’s new smart tags feature promises to deliver performance reports on assets. (Click for larger image.)

A suite of new analytics tools will also be put at the fingertips of marketers subscribing to the service, including:

  • Smart tags, a combination of image recognition technology that will automatically place tags on assets as marketers upload them, and performance tracking capabilities that will deliver reports on what images result in the best engagement. The technology was previewed last year at Summit during the “Sneaks” session dedicated to experimental software add-ons.
  • Segment IQ “will allow marketers to compare and surface segmentations of their customer interactions to make them super actionable,” Lindsay says.
  • Ad Insights will help marketers deliver visuals on analytics that are “PowerPoint ready for the boss.”
  • Predictive subject lines will introduce “a new automated subject line capability that analyzes the open rates on previous subject lines and suggests what could be better in the future,” Lindsay says.

Tracking customers across multiple devices

Adobe - device cooperative
Adobe is organizing a Co-op that helps identify consumers and the devices they own. (Click for larger image).

Another problem Adobe is telling marketers it can solve at this Summit is that of data fragmentation. As consumers interact with brands across a variety of devices – a computer one day, a smartphone the next – retailers can have trouble piecing together the puzzle to understand when they’re dealing with the same person without a login. So Adobe is proposing a device co-operative, in which brands work together to identify a person who owns and uses multiple devices.

“Our target product is going to be able to make customized offers to consumers on landing based on having this cross-device information,” says Asa Whillock principal product manager of the Adobe Marketing Cloud.

The new offering, soon to be available in Canada and the U.S., could link up to 1.2 billion devices at launch. The idea is that a retailer that a consumer interacts with may know what computer they use, while a travel site they use knows about their mobile device. Through the co-op, that information is swapped so both parties know the same information.

Consumers meanwhile, have their privacy protected through transparency. They’ll be able to see their associated devices and participating brands via a to-be-disclosed mechanism. Also, data about interactions on different websites isn’t shared. The brands involved in the cooperative won’t be announced until its launch.

“The only piece of data shared between cooperative members is that two devices are linked to an unknown person,” Whillock says.

Direct marketing for broadcasters

Adobe has a particular focus on new capabilities for its television market, which it categorizes as broadcasters to over-the-top providers. Its Primetime software for these customers will now integrate with Marketing Cloud, meaning users can seek to acquire audience through them.

“Companies like HBO have never had to think about consumer marketing,” says Campbell Foster, director of product marketing for Adobe Primetime. “This new world of cord-cutting and direct-to-consumer has them thinking about new techniques.”

Adobe will be announcing a partnership with comScore to roll out a service dubbed Adobe Certified Metrics. The goal is to provide accurate measurement of television content and advertising across a variety of devices beyond the traditional TV.

“TV is undergoing its biggest shift since the rollout of cable TV,” Foster says.

Follow this week as we report on Adobe Summit with more stories and videos.

Share on LinkedIn Share with Google+