2022 Adobe Summit Review: Top 10 Digital Experience Announcements

It’s hard to believe that we are already a week out from this year’s Adobe Summit (time has been flying since we sprung forward an hour!). If you’re kicking yourself because you missed it, don’t stress—we’ve got you covered! Our team divided and conquered this year’s summit, and we were diligent in our note-taking in order to bring you what we feel are the top ten key takeaways from this year’s data and insights topics. Check out our very own Jim Gordon and Cory Watson (along with some special guests!), in this entertaining rundown of our Top Ten. You won’t be disappointed.

If you loved our top ten, we’ve included our notes in the article below, along with the corresponding summit sessions that you can catch on-demand at the Adobe Summit Main Hub. We’ve got you covered!

Search Discovery’s Top 10 from Adobe Summit 2022

10: The Celebrities

How can we even make a list about the Adobe Summit without talking about the dewy-skinned muses of Adobe’s most beloved product: Photoshop.

Ryan Reynolds intro’d this year’s summit by sharing the importance of building characters and storytelling. He explained that investing in these will build stronger connections between content, brand, and audience. Did you know that he’s not just a face in front of the camera, but the brains behind his own marketing agency?! Yes folks, Ryan Reynold’s agency, Maximum Effort, is the genius behind several incredible promotions including those epic Match.com ads, “Match Made in Hell.”

Another awesome surprise celebrity appearance came from Hollywood darling Kristen Bell. She brought us #summitsneaks with a spoof of one of her latest spoofs, “The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window.” The sneaks were great (more on that later), but the humor of this session might be lost on some. Overall, it was a nice break from the more serious and heavy sessions. 

It’s always nice hearing the grounded perspective of celebrities. Past celebrity appearances include actress, model, and the woman behind the Goop lifestyle products, Gwyneth Paltrow.

Adobe Sessions: 
Adobe Summit Keynote: Make the Digital Economy Personal – MB1
Summit Sneaks with Kristen Bell – MB9 

9: Pocket Analytics

One of my favorite sessions was a walkthrough of Adobe’s mobile data dashboard for CJA. This was built for executives, but really there are use cases for all sorts of teams including sales, marketing, product managers, and so much more! One of the top goals of this app is to save analysts time by providing teams frictionless access to data. 

Leading up to Summit, Adobe updated the visualizations and added a real-time updating feature. You can make a quick change on a dashboard and push it right over to the end user. The dashboard app was also designed with a mobile-first design, eliminating the need to pinch and zoom. But my favorite feature is bio-authentication! This feature helps remove login resistance and gives stakeholders easy and quick access to the data they want to see when they want to see it—whether they’re in a meeting, in the back of an Uber, or on top of Mount Kilimanjaro!

Adobe isn’t done with this app yet. This year they’ll roll out some new enhancements to take things up a notch. You can look forward to preview mode, annotations, and customizable detail slides for richer data story-telling. The app is available now for CJA. Download it, play with it, and tell us what you think!

Adobe Session: 
Analytics Dashboards: 1,000 Insights in Your Pocket – S109

8: Target Connectivity in AEP

We finally have a tool to connect the tool that was built because we had a hard time connecting the other tools to all of the other tools. If you’re not confused, you must be an Adobe analyst! 

This works similarly to Experience Cloud shared audiences and enables same-page & next-page personalization. Potentially most importantly, it can also leverage data from multiple sources.  Once these audiences are dialed in exactly how you need them, they can then be used real-time in Target.

For example, if you have color & size preferences stored somewhere for a user, you can make clothing recommendations that match the user’s personalized criteria, thus being much more relevant.  Or you could tie into weather information and suggest particular types of clothing or travel destinations.

Important to note however, you must be using the Web SDK (with Edge Segmentation enabled) to gain full real-time capability, and some configuration pre-wiring behind the scenes is required.

Adobe Sessions:
How Marriott Experiments Its Way to Data-driven Personalization – S720
Turn Data into Action: Data Collection & RTCDP Connections – S509

7: Rewrite History with Data Views (CJA)

If you could rewrite history, where would you start? I have a few moments in my timeline I would change, but the movie Butterfly Effect kind of ruined that idea for me. Adobe, on the other hand, is making this possibility a reality for analysts through Data Views!

Data Views—which is similar to a virtual report suite—provides incredible flexibility with the data, allowing for retroactive, nondestructive updates without an overreliance on developers. Those updates can be made available for anyone using the Data View. 

Some of my favorite use cases include:

  1. We can now call Desktop Desktop! That’s right, no more notes about what “Other” means in the description. By updating the No Value Options, we can replace “Other” with “Desktop” and treat it as a value, which enables analysis in Flow to understand how users move across devices. 
  2. Create merchandising eVars after the fact using Binding Dimensions. For example, we can bind Product Color to Product Name for accurate revenue breakdowns—no developer needed.
  3. Filter out bad data by leveraging include and exclude rules. These updates will apply not just to the dimension or metric itself, but anything using that dimension or metric as well. A great example of this would be filtering out spurious order values. 
  4. De-dupe your data using the metric deduplication feature. For example, if you accidentally set a Video Start event on every Video Milestone event, you could de-dupe to get an accurate view of how many video starts actually occurred.

Adobe Session: 
Turn It Up to 11! Customer Journey Analytics Tips and Tricks – S102

6: R for CJA

Trevor Paulson’s presentation had a ton of great tips and tricks for CJA. Using a perfectly well-timed transition into an 80s rock band theme, he went through a series of fast-paced demonstrations that revealed a lot of incredible opportunities the new features will put into the analyst’s tool belt. 

Towards the end of the presentation, he showed how to extend the analyst’s playlist to include powerful tools like the R programming language. He introduced cjar, an open-source (read FREE) R package for the Adobe community to harness the power of CJA and R together into a life-transforming drum solo that would take any analyst’s game to the next level!  

The new R package is on CRAN now and is similar to the existing R package, adobeanalyticsr (https://adobeanalyticsr.com), for Adobe Analytics. This similarity will be an additional boost to productivity, since most analysts will be able to quickly transition a lot of their reports and analysis into the new CJA framework. If you’d like to have more information on any of the Adobe focused R packages, let us know. We would love to have a jam session like Trevor anytime.

Oh, yeah…and the guy who did the heavy lifting on the development of cjar was our very own Ben Woodard. We’ve decided we’re going to start calling him ‘oBen Source’ Woodard, actually, in honor of the accomplishment. 

Adobe Session:
Turn It Up to 11! Customer Journey Analytics Tips and Tricks – S102

5: Adobe Announces They’re Sunsetting Universal Analytics

No, wait, they’re sunsetting Reports & Analytics UI. This is also a reminder that the Reports & Analytics UI still exists , but also a reminder for those moving away from Universal Analytics that Adobe has some compelling options to consider.

Check out our free whitepaper, Crossing the Chasm, by Adam Greco and Anne Wilson if your brand is ready to move from a free to a full-featured analytics platform. 

4: #SummitSneaks

Hold on, let me grab my humongous wine glass, fuzzy robe, and binoculars before I dive into Number 4 of our Top 10. While the humor was  campy for some, I personally found this lighthearted breakaway refreshing and fun. During Summit Sneaks, Adobe shared some exciting new tech projects they are working on that really align with their overall messaging around personalization. Here is a quick overview. A lot of cool tech is in the works and I can’t wait to see some of these realized.

#ProjectDemandDetector: This feature would be awesome for product managers who want to get even closer to understanding product trends and make quick decisions about what to restock and when. With this tool, if there are sales spikes with certain products or product lines, Demand Detector will be able to send you an alert that you can quickly act on.

#ProjectKPIPoP: Adobe is putting down roots in the music biz and establishing a new genre, KPI Pop. Ha–kidding. All jokes aside, this feature is so cool and will be valuable for cross-functional teams who have so much data but don’t know what they should be looking at. KPI Pop uses an AI causal model to pull out hyper-focused KPIs and highlight anomalies within the data. What this means is fewer numbers to look at with an assurance that you’re seeing what’s important.

#ProjectRightSized: 
One of my biggest pain points with online shopping is that I can’t ever tell product dimensions or whether the product will look good where I want to put it.Also–I’m a little lazy sometimes (hence the online shopping), and don’t feel like trying to measure it all out. If only there was a solution for this! Enter Adobe.

With this tech, the goal is to be able to integrate a mobile app to scan a product from a website, and, with AR, allow customers to see the product with the exact same dimensions that are on the web, in their space. Customers can add multiple products within the same AR view—very useful if you’re trying to buy multiple items for a space (i.e., a dining set). I know a few retailers have a similar AR feature, but, in my opinion, no one has perfected it. I will be curious to see more on Adobe’s approach to this.

#ProjectWinningScores: For many websites, tracking visitor experiences is tough, and fixing poor experiences is even harder. Adobe is working on an AI technology to help better identify poor visitor experiences using data that already exists. You will get to the core of what contributes to those poor visitor paths to make the necessary changes to improve those experiences. The best part: this is all accomplished without having to ask your customers anything. I, for one, typically skip those satisfaction surveys.

#ProjectQuickConnect: 
It is clear that Adobe is working towards better connecting their tools, but they also want to help better connect teams. One of their approaches is through Project Quick Connect. This is essentially like Slack for CJA with some bonus features. It would allow you to quickly tag in teams to answer questions, make decisions, or act on data. I see a rough road to adoption for this, especially for teams not used to working with CJA, but it does have some promise.

#ProjectStyleBlast: 
This tech planned for AJO is really cool as it will help marketers create better, more personalized emails to increase engagement. This tool will allow you to select your target audience, industry, and business goal, and it will make content and theme recommendations based on experimentation data insights gathered on the platform. 

#ProjectDesignDecoder: Adobe is going hard in the retail space with lots of projects focused on creating better customer experiences. Design Decoder falls right in line with this theme. This tech is designed to help online shoppers see the true features and colors of a product. This will enable shoppers to make more informed buying decisions and help cut back on returns—a win-win for shoppers and retailers. The prospect of this tech excites me, especially for furniture shopping. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve spent scouring customer product images to get a better sense of a fabric color. Thanks, Adobe!

Adobe Session:
Summit Sneaks with Kristen Bell – MB9 

3: Annotations in CJA and Workspace

You asked for it and Adobe has delivered! Annotations are now available in CJA and Workspace. Annotations are great for many reasons, but most importantly, they allow you to put context behind data anomalies that can be referenced later. 

Annotations can be referenced at the project, global, and metric level, among many other distinctions, which allows them to be seen only when they are relevant. They’re clearly visible in both graphs and table views of the data and can be color coded to help distinguish different types of events.

After years of no option for annotations and having to resort to clunky text blocks in reports, this is a game-changer for answering questions about the data before they even get asked.

Adobe Session:
Go for Gold with Adobe Analytics Strategies: Tips & Tricks – S101

2: RT-CDP - “Real-Time CDP”? More like… “Really Turnkey CDP” (hold for applause)

There are a lot of great additions that RTCDP brings to a marketing team, but coming from a Data Scientist’s perspective, there was one big takeaway that stood head and shoulders above the rest. ] In a majority of our data science projects, we face an incredibly hard time acquiring the data we need to get to answer the questions marketing teams are asking. Usually, the process of ramping up a data science project includes weeks—and sometimes months—of helping a marketing team talk with their BI and IT team counterparts answering security and privacy concerns, data migration hurdles, and data structure issues which come from poorly structured queries. 

All of this takes valuable time and eats away at the efficiency gains of activating the results of a well-done  project. With the implementation of RT-CDP (along with AEP), the data privacy, accessibility, and structure has been done for the most part.  This doesn’t necessarily mean it is easier to get the data into the platform initially, but it does mean that the exercise of getting the data into the platform opens the door to a whole new set of opportunities to use the data in ways the marketing team needs without the hassle of repeatedly having to blaze new trails. This is a great thing for enabling the business to make valuable, timely decisions based on the data. 

Adobe Session:https://business.adobe.com/summit/2022/sessions/na-unleash-the-power-of-the-realtime-customer-prof-s503.html 

1: Adobe is All-In on AEP

It was hard to pick a number one from this year’s Adobe Summit, so we decided to focus on a theme. Adobe placed a big bet on AEP, and they are putting their money where their mouth is. Adobe actually BUILT it. Overall, their vision is more cohesive and AEP is becoming more seamless. Adobe is leaning in on “doable” instead of “easy” – “integrate and activate.”

Adobe now touches EVERY part of marketing. Everything is being pulled together natively, and AEP is becoming “The Photoshop of Analytics.” All of this is a continuation of the evolution of digital analytics, where we are operating in a more agnostic digital world. That means the line between an app and a website experience are blurred. This is reflected by Adobe adopting an event-driven model as opposed to the traditional “Pageview / Link Track” metaphors. We’re eager to see how AEP evolves and continues to innovate.

Adobe Session: Any Session from the “Analytics for Customer Journeys, Customer Data Management, Personalization at Scale, etc. tracks (This was really a theme running through the whole summit!)

Final Admission of Fangirldom, Plus Outlook

We are clearly fangirling over Adobe, but there’s still some maturing left to do for Platform to reach its full potential and promise. Adobe clearly remains focused on achieving its integration vision for Experience Cloud, and we’re excited to see its continuing evolution of Experience Platform. Areas we’ll be paying attention to are deeper product integrations, third-party identity services, Sensei maturity, and measuring the impact of AEP in terms of real world impacts to marketing applications–especially for Search Discovery’s clients as we continue to help them maximize their time-to-value across the Adobe D&I product ecosystem.

This was a great summit and if you missed it, over 200 sessions are available on-demand for you to watch from the comfort of your couch. #adobesummitandchill.

I would like to give a special thanks to John Reid, Anne Wilson, Ryan Dupont, Chris Strobl, Ben Woodward, and of course Jim Gordan and Cory Watson, for their superb contributions to this blog post. Thank you all for helping fill the gaps and dedicating your time and energy to making this Top Ten *muah* chef’s kiss!

Reach out to talk to our Adobe experts about your burning data, analytics, and marketing questions.

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