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3/9/2011
02:21 PM
Doug Henschen
Doug Henschen
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Adobe Joins Social Network Analysis Bandwagon

Planned service offers Facebook, Twitter, mobile app and viral video measurement tools. Web analytics upgrade delivers performance and segmentation enhancements.

It's official. Enterprise software and service providers pretty much have to address Facebook, Twitter and all things social media, whether it's collaboration software, a CRM suite or anything else that touches lots of customers or employees.

And when considering a marketing-related product like Adobe's Online Marketing Suite, it's almost surprising that it took this long to add Adobe SocialAnalytics, a planned social network analysis service announced on Wednesday.

In fact, Adobe SocialAnalytics won't be available until the third quarter. But the new social tool, and other upgrades announced at this week's Adobe Omniture Summit, will go a long way toward remaking the platform that many still think of as Omniture, the company Adobe acquired in September 2009. The new platform is designed for an era in which social, mobile and video are every bit as important as plain old Web site traffic.

Of course, the SiteCatalyst Web analytics tool and other components of the Adobe Online Marketing Suite were already capable of measuring Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, mobile access and top-level data on other modern digital interactions. But Adobe SocialAnalytics promises to raise the level of insight.

For marketers with Facebook fan pages, for example, Adobe Social Analytics will provide deeper insight into fan demographics, likes and shares. Marketers will be able to measure use of Facebook apps and mobile apps to determine the effectiveness of a social or mobile strategy. Viral video measurement capabilities will track performance -- including plays, pauses, rewinds, replays and sharing -- of video campaigns across video-sharing sites such as YouTube. And new Twitter measurements will correlate spikes in microblogging mentions to online, mobile, video and other activity.

It's not just a question of adding new measures. Adobe says the big payoff is in gaining new insight in the context of everything the Marketing Suite already measures, including paid search, organic search, ad targeting and segmentation.

"Because we have the suite, we can connect all the dots across all of your online initiatives," said Matt Langie, director of product marketing for the Adobe Online Marketing Suite.

If the new SocialAnalytics service shows that certain terms are popular with key influencers on blogs or social networks, for example, Langie says you connect that insight to paid search bids in Adobe's SearchCenter+ service and then track results in SiteCatalyst to optimize what you spend.

That sounds promising and right in line with cross-channel marketing analysis capabilities we've been hearing a lot about lately. But again, the SocialAnalytics piece won't be available until the third quarter.

Adobe customers won't have to wait quite so long for various Online Marketing Suite upgrades also announced on Wednesday. Set for release in the second quarter, the new platform promises performance improvements that will speed complex reports and queries. SiteCatalyst (Web analytics), Discover (segmentation and analysis) and Adobe DataWarehouse will share a common data set, improving reporting consistency. Audience segments built in Discover or the DataWarehouse will be sharable with SiteCatalyst, so you can filter reports by segment. The upgrade is also said to make it easier to test and target campaigns against audience segments directly from SiteCatalyst.

In another enhancement aimed at the new world of digital media, real-time segmentation capabilities will enable SiteCatalyst users to report on segments such as Facebook users, mobile traffic, visitors who have watched a particular video or any other custom-defined segment.

"If you're a retailer, you may target frequent shoppers as a segment; this capability would help you build campaigns that are optimized to those segments based on the performance that you see through SiteCatayst," Langie said.

Another thing that's obligatory for enterprise software companies to develop these days is iPad apps. A new iPad app Adobe announced for SiteCatalyst will enable marketers to check reports and do analyses while on the go using the world's leading post-PC-era device.

Adobe also announced on Wednesday the addition of multiple partners for Demdex, the data management platform company Adobe acquired earlier this year. Though integrations with the Adobe Online Marketing Suite, Demdex will enables users to take advantage of third-party targeting enrichment data and services. New partners include data providers Acxiom, Bizo, DataLogix, eXelate and TargusInfo's AdAdvisor.

New service providers partnering with Demdex include DataXu, InviteMedia, MediaMath and Turn, companies that give advertisers access to targeted display ad inventory. Also partnering with Demdex are ad server DoubleClick (a Google company) and video ad services companies Adap.tv , Auditude, BrightRoll, FreeWheel and Yume.

IT types might not know all these names, but the long list will inform any marketer that Adobe has brought more prominent players to the table than Demdex could have mustered on its own. The big base of Omniture users -- sorry, Adobe Online Marketing Suite users -- is a strong draw.

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