Adobe promotes marketing platform unification

Correction: Adobe announced the release of Adobe AdLens, not Adobe SiteCatalyst. The integration of SiteCatalyst into AdLens is a platform update.

Adobe Systems Inc. announced the release of Adobe AdLens, a unified analysis and optimization platform designed to help brands and agencies manage their campaigns via search, display, and social media.

“The idea is to tie the content that you’re building into how you can distribute it, measure it, and then optimize it,” says Justin Merickel, senior director of new product innovation for Advertising Solutions at Adobe.

AdLens can be deployed onto a brand or agency’s analytic system, such as Adobe SiteCatalyst, to leverage and optimize all of its data, Merickel says. It also serves as a central hub for rich data feedback to prevent marketers from bouncing to and from multiple sources and receiving mismatched reports. Adobe integrated SiteCatalyst into AdLens as part of its unified platform updates.

“There’s a pain point in the industry where, a lot of times, the report that you’re getting out of your advertising system may not exactly match the report that you’re looking at in your analytics system,” Merickel says. “Those discrepancies are really painful to marketers, so we’re taking that out of the equation.”

In addition to the SiteCatalyst, Adobe has included AudienceManager in its updates. AudienceManager integrates and combines data to build targeted segmentation strategies to be implemented across AdLens’s digital markets, such as Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange and Facebook Exchange, Merickelsays. Adobe has been named as Facebook’s strategic preferred marketing developer and provides a gateway for marketers to buy Facebook ads in real time.

“AudienceManager becomes the way that we’re building and managing audiences for clients,” Merickel says.

Finally, Adobe has also added Adobe Dynamic Ad Targeting to help bulk up the creative aspect for targeted display advertisements. Merickel acknowledges that marketers may want to target different audiences with their display ads and Adobe Dynamic Ad Targeting is designed to give them that creative freedom. “Give us a series of headlines, images, background colors, and we can assemble creative on the fly and link that to the audience that you want,” Merickel says.

AdLens stemmed from the purchase of digital company Efficient Frontier; the purchase  was completed this past January. Merickel says one of AdLens’s top benefits is that it provides a unified platform. “Having the data unified and operationally through a single platform, we can see it and then act on it in ways that if you’re using different systems you really can’t,” Merickel says.

Additionally, the SaaS platform also takes out a lot of guess work out for bidding, according to Merickel.

“A lot of times in campaigns, until you see the results from a given keyword or audience segment, you don’t know whether or not it’s successful. So how can you bid that to the right price, if you simply don’t have data to make a judgment on?” Merickel asks. “You have to look at alternative methods to get the right judgment on whether or not it will be successful, and this richer data aspect from this integration allows us to do that more accurately.”

Merickel says part of the challenge in updating AdLens, which can be purchased as a package or a la carte, is increasing the number of tools without increasing the level of difficulty. “If you’re adding more steps and more complexity to the process, your clients aren’t going to want to do it,” Merickel says. “We need to solve complexity [and] deliver simplicity on behalf of our clients.”

While Merickel admits that search is a critical platform piece, he claims that it’s important to remember that social and display don’t fulfill the same roles.

“What happened early on is everybody looked at display and looked at social and said, ‘I want it to be like search’ and it’s just not. It’s a different channel,” Merickel says. “Search does fantastic at driving clear intent from a click to an action…. I think social and display are a little different…you have to pull people in.”

Merickel says that is also important for the right channel to receive the correct attribution. “You see a very significant percentage of interactions that may start in the social channels and end up in a search-driven click and conversion. Should search get all the credit for that?” Merickel asks. “We believe that the value is critical.”

All in all, Merickel says that managing marketing channels in a unified fashion is the key to achieving a company’s overall objectives.

“I think there are some tension points, even internally at clients today, between what are the individual challenges versus what are the overarching business goals and how you get the right mix in your staff, goals, and efficiencies.” Merickel says. “That’s something you’re starting to see companies iron out: unifying their team [and] unifying their infrastructures so they’re not silos.”

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