Adobe's Omniture buy signals plush times ahead for data industry

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Adobe's decision to acquire Omniture later this year signals a newfound prominence for Web analytics and measurement tools within the online marketing industry. The deal could also indicate that other firms in the measurement space will hear from suitors as more companies look to add analytic tools, according to industry experts.  

“Practitioners involved in the space have been shouting from the rooftops for a long time about the importance of analytics,” said John Lovett, senior analyst at Forrester Research. “I think the acquisition will raise attention and awareness for measurement technologies everywhere.”

Adobe announced September 15 that it will acquire Omniture in this year's fourth quarter for $1.8 billion. As a result, Omniture's analytic software will be embedded in Adobe's content-creation tools. The companies will operate separately until the transaction closes. In July, IBM announced it will acquire predictive analytics firm SPSS.

Meanwhile, Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, VP of marketing for Webtrends, a competing Web analytics firm, said that the deal “reinforces the continued focus on analytics as ‘table stakes' for businesses.”

“[This] can only benefit the industry over time,” he said.

Lovett added that Omniture's competitors may soon find themselves in a similar situation.

“This might mean more consolidation and activity in the space, whereby measurement tools will become inherent to larger enterprise software applications,” he said. “We've been saying for years that we believe analytics is destined to become an integrated service that's built in to marketing applications so marketers can fully measure and monitor what works and what doesn't.”

John Squire, chief strategy officer at Coremetrics, a Web analytics and data solutions provider, said that companies' shift of marketing dollars to online platforms is increasing the demand for analytics tools.

“Lots of marketing dollars are coming online even though advertising as a whole is down,” he said. “Online is one of the few media where we can measure every single action, so metrics really are the center point of online marketing.”

Omniture has a portfolio of 12 products spanning online analytics, multichannel analytics, acquisition and conversion. It has more that 5,000 customers in more than 20 countries. The Adobe Reader software is available in 26 languages on 10 major platforms in more than 40 countries.

John Berkley, VP of product management and marketing for Responsys, doesn't foresee any changes to his company's partnership with Omniture. Responsys uses data from Omniture to create e-mail and cross-channel marketing campaigns for companies including Chico's, StubHub and Epson.

“Our programs are remaining intact,” he said.

Yet Adobe's interest in Omniture, Berkley added, means “there's going to be more cooperation and integration between software companies and analytics,” he said. “This is a sign of the maturity of the space and how the online channel is really the power channel right now.”

John Mellor, EVP of corporate strategy at Omniture, said the acquisition will mainly help content publishers, advertisers and software developers.

Advertisers in particular may benefit from the deal because Omniture's analytics technology will be layered throughout the Adobe infrastructure. For example, Omniture's metadata can be added to a streaming online video, including the location of the video and its contents.

An Adobe spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.

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