Takeaways from Adobe Summit 2018

13,000 people descended on Las Vegas for Adobe Summit the last week of March.

With any luck, attendees will have worked through the after-effects of the sensory overload of Vegas combined with the sensory overload of Adobe Summit by mid-April, but who knows? Search Discovery sent a small but mighty team of 10 and they all jotted down their hot takes from the show: Attribution, Adobe Sensei, Launch by Adobe, and more!

We let the experience marinate a bit with our team and then polled them to see what stuck in their medium-term memory from the conference. (TIL: asking analytics types to collaborate and consolidate their thoughts on a conference in written form makes for a Herculean editing task).

What they came up with:

  • Adobe Sensei for Analytics — it’s got lots of promise. For Adobe Analytics, specifically, it seems like the primary use cases boil down to “anomaly detection.” From past research — and some post-Summit discussions with Adobe clients — it seems like anomaly detection is still primarily the robust application of Holt-Winters forecasting to various combinations of dimensions and metrics. At the risk of removing some of the mystery/magic of those light green bands in Analysis Workspace, check out this 6-minute video.
  • Adobe Sensei Elsewhere — during an advanced lab, Adobe Sensei functions were used to automate an AEM image upload process including branched workflow based on a Sensei image quality score, and a Sensei function was used for automatic asset tagging. That was super cool stuff! Plus, Sensei was, presumably, operating in some fashion in some of the demos that relied on Creative Cloud, but that wasn’t called out explicitly.
  • Speaking of AEM: It Was Everywhere — the attendees that we spoke with skewed heavily towards being users — long-term or relatively recent transitioners — to Adobe’s CMS. And, Adobe certainly focused a lot of their keynote messaging around it as well (AEM = Adobe Experience Manager, and the central theme of the conference was building great experiences, so that makes sense). A few attendees we spoke with had been using Adobe Analytics a lot longer than they had been using AEM, so the general sense was that more of the market is buying into the Adobe Marketing Cloud “whole product” that Adobe has been pushing in their messaging (and continuing to build out) for the past several years.
  • Data Science Workspace — the idea seems to be to allow analysts (data scientists, even!) to pull more and richer data into an Analysis Workspace-like environment. The proof will be in the pudding. “Data science” is a hot term, and many vendors are touting that their technology will bring data science to the masses. We haven’t heard of a bevy of medical technologies promising to let anyone and everyone with a brain become a “citizen neuroscientists,” but the martech world seems to think that sort of thing should be the goal (and that it is attainable).
  • Adobe Analytics Reporting API — this is getting an update that is long overdue. Essentially, the new API is what is already being used by Analysis Workspace. That means that anything that is doable in Analysis Workspace will be doable through the API. And results will come back way faster than the existing API. It’s not readily available, but it is live. In one of the labs, the session leader shared a secret key to all the Analysis Workspace API goodies. Run “adobe.tools.debug.includeOberonXml = true” in your console, and, “voila!”, you can now inspect the API calls behind any widget you’ve built in Analysis Workspace. This API should be rolling out in the next quarter or so, as it seems like all that is needed is some more API-able authentication methods and documentation.
  • Launch by Adobe — Launch is Adobe’s next iteration of their tag management solution — DTM. But, that’s a dramatic understatement. And it’s available now (not one of those things that was “shown at Summit and promised to be available soon”). Launch is a significant update. It’s built from the ground up to be more open and more readily extensible (over three dozen extensions have already been built! Heck. We built one! And we think it’s pretty slick). There are a ton of new features and capabilities in Launch, and most of the attendees we spoke with who had done a bit of research were actively planning to migrate to it.
  • Launch by Adobe…er…how? — At the same time, a lot of attendees seemed to be scratching their heads a bit trying to figure out how much of a chore it was going to be for them to migrate. This wasn’t really news to us, and we’d actually built a (free) DTM to Launch Assessment App to help anyone who is considering the migration to figure that out.
  • Launch for Native Mobile Apps — 2018 is definitely going to be the Year of Mobile… Actually, we left a little unclear as to where Launch fits when it comes to native mobile apps. It was briefly discussed in one of the sessions, and we’re sure Adobe will be more explicit at some point in the future. Our guess is that it will take the form of a TMS rules engine in the cloud triggered by an event API within the mobile app. But, we’ll all have to stay tuned to see.

Two members of our team — Michael Helbling and Tim Wilson — actually recorded a 10-minute mini-episode of their podcast immediately following the conference with their “hot takes.” Unlike hot takes in the sports world, they both claim that they stand by the impressions they shared then, despite recording them while experiencing post-conference fatigue and without the luxury of time to reflect.

And, as always happens at Summit, some of the announcements and demos had to be very finely parsed to hear what truly was — and was not — really being said. At least one post-Summit reflection published online noted that Adobe Analytics can “now measure podcasts.” That’s true, but only under very specific conditions (read: the podcast is being listened to inside of an app or on a website that has Adobe Analytics implemented; most podcasts are not consumed this way). Again, if you send a bunch of detail-oriented analysts to an event that is all about generating enthusiasm, they’re bound to get a little steamed about that sort of thing.

Overall, though, our whole team agreed that Adobe launched some impressive advancements to their platform in advance of the conference, additional launches are imminent, and they’re not slowing down.

Did you attend? What did you think? We’d love to chat with you about any of the highlights we noted above, so feel free to contact us.

Search the Blog

Scroll to Top