Talk Adobe to Me | Adobe Experience Platform Works with Google, Too!

This is the first post in “Talk Adobe to Me,” our continuing series where we explore interesting areas within the Adobe Experience Cloud. In this article, we explore interesting connections between Adobe and Google. It’s a common misconception of the Adobe stack that you can’t bring your Google data over, but these posts challenge that notion and highlight largely-untapped opportunities.

Many customers, at one point or another, have considered using Adobe Experience Platform to expand their capabilities to tackle more complicated use cases related to customer mapping, personalization, and optimization. However, brands whose analytics foundation is on the Google stack may shy away from using Adobe tools, because they may not be sure how the two platforms work together. This article is a summary of the video below, and it sheds light on this topic and showcases how practical the connection of the tools is.

 

Integrating Adobe Experience Platform (AEP) with GA 4 and Salesforce CRM: Mission possible?

As a part of a recent proof-of-concept, we integrated Adobe Experience Platform with Google Analytics 4 and Salesforce CRM in our own Search Discovery martech environment. In this scenario, Google Analytics serves as the source for web analytics data (in the place of where Adobe Analytics would traditionally sit), and we added in customer data from an additional source, Salesforce CRM, for good measure.

Our use case for this mashup was to leverage the powerful features of Adobe Customer Journey Analytics, Real-Time CDP, and Journey Optimizer on top of Google Analytics 4 and Salesforce CRM in order to create personalized lead followup emails. (Read more about linking Google Analytics 4 and Salesforce data in this other blog series.)

Why did we do this?

The Adobe Experience Platform was built to integrate with anything you can throw at it, and there’s a great opportunity to leverage the multichannel capabilities of AEP, even for those not currently using Adobe Analytics. For example, teams can start with Google Analytics and still use Adobe Customer Journey Analytics, Real-Time CDP, and Journey Optimizer to achieve optimized, personalized messaging that meets the customer where they are. We set out to prove this by building a solution for our own online experience as a proof of concept.

How does it work?

Google Analytics 4 data is streamed real-time into Adobe’s Experience Platform via a real-time HTTP API. Any of the attributes from the events in this complex Google schema can drive a customer journey in Adobe Journey Optimizer (AJO) via event triggers

Adobe Experience Platform (AEP) integrates with Google Analytics 4 (GA4) in this use case where AEP tools, including Customer Journey Optimizer, use data streamed from GA and Salesforce CRM.

Here’s how that works:
Step 1: Adobe Experience Platform leverages GA events to put a user into a journey once they submit their email into a contact lead generation form, then the user’s email and first and last name are leveraged in real-time to populate a welcome email in AJO.

Step 2: Additional form data submitted is then pushed to Salesforce and is batched daily into AEP.

Step 3: Once a profile is populated with all the additional data captured by the form, it is ‘stitched’ with the event data received from GA to create a richer view of the customer.

Step 4: Adobe Journey Optimizer can then use any of the data AEP has gathered about the user to tailor a personalized, multichannel journey, based on the user’s interests and activity.

Time to Value: How long did it take to stand this up?

Once the data was streaming into Adobe Journey Optimizer, it took one week to configure AJO (Events, Data Sources, Email Presets, and Execution Fields). After it was all configured, it took one more week to build out the Journeys, and then finally it took another week to QA and validate that everything functioned as expected.

What other use cases could this AEP + GA4 solution work for?

If personalized lead follow-up is not at the top of your organization’s priority list, fret not! This solution is applicable to a number of additional use cases we find are often high-priority for organizations looking to become even more data-driven and deliver personalized experiences at scale.

Holistic digital campaign performance & insights

The ability to join CRM and web data enables marketing teams in several ways GA4 simply cannot do on its own. First, it allows for a more complete picture of how digital campaigns are driving bottom-line impact by allowing us to base performance on offline sales, rather than an online conversion such as lead forms.

Also, the contributions of your campaigns can now be analyzed leveraging CJA’s attribution models, including algorithmic attribution for AI-augmented analysis (stay tuned for a post about this soon!) This solution that combines marketing mix modeling and AI attribution will enable digital marketers to more effectively plan and optimize spend to drive bottom-line results.

Because we can view on- and offline conversions side-by-side, we now have the ability to identify key paths that are leading to sales (not just form fills). This enables your analytics team to quickly identify insights such as where not-converters are typically falling out, what content converters are consuming most often that non-converters seem to be missing, or typical time between touchpoints of converters and non-converters. Such insights can then be used to identify key optimization opportunities and help your organization improve the user experience and, in turn, further drive performance.

Streamline data science workflows

Say goodbye to multiple pulls from your enterprise data lake and manual stitching! AEP’s architecture ensures multiple data sources are already stitched together in a standardized scheme, so your data science team can spend less time pulling and stitching data, and more time leveraging for analysis and modeling. For those organizations where R is the language of choice, there is even the CJAR package, which will allow your team to pull CJA data without ever needing to interact with the UI.

Increased Data Flexibility

While this solution cannot overcome any data collection limitations within GA4 itself, CJA does open the door to features that you would not have otherwise had access to. Some of the key features include:

  • Fixing inaccurate historical data by leveraging include and exclude rules. What’s great here is that once a dimension or metrics is updated, that update will apply everywhere it’s currently being used. And, updated dimensions or metrics can still be used to create new calculated metrics, histograms, etc.
  • Ability to create merchandising dimensions even after your implementation is complete with the Binding Dimensions option. This feature helps ensure you always have accurate revenue breakdowns at your fingertips.
  • Easy data deduping with the metric deduplication feature. This helps ensure accurate analysis, even for collection errors (such as an event being inadvertently set on subsequent server calls.
  • Team clarity on what they’re analyzing with the No Value Options feature. An additional benefit of this feature is that the new No Value Option you choose will be treated as a value, and therefore can be analyzed in Flow to understand where it fits in the customer journey when appropriate.

What other Google Analytics data can be integrated with Adobe?

While leveraging GA4 data was the focus of this solution, that’s not the solution’s limit. What we’ve developed can easily accommodate data from any other Google solution (or any other source for that matter), provided there is a consistent ID available across data sets. That means you’ll be able to bring in data from your other Google platforms, such as Optimize or Surveys, leveraging AEP’s out-of-the-box tools. Two items to note about this solution, however:

  • First, you’ll be limited to a ten-year lookback window for historical data, and a one month lookahead window for predictive data.
  • Second, a person will need to be associated with at least one event before they are shown in CJA, though their data will be retained in AEP.

While neither of these are particularly limiting, they are important to know at the outset to ensure clear expectations of the solution’s abilities.

Learn more about this solution and other ways Adobe and Google can work together by reaching out today!

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