Ben Gaines is a Senior Product Manager for Adobe Analytics. In this role, he works closely with Adobe customers to understand their needs, provides input on product strategy and roadmap, and manages the planning and design of new features.
Ben is also a frequent contributor to the Adobe blog, with great articles on tips, tricks and updates on Adobe Analytics.
While at the Adobe Summit 2015 in London, I had the opportunity to interview him on the latest features of Adobe Analytics.
Nicolas Malo: According to you, what are the top 3 new Adobe Analytics features?
Ben Gaines: Good question! Off the top of my head, I would think of the following ones:
1. Contribution analysis: this new feature allows a marketer or an analyst to tell Adobe Analytics to automatically look at any of your data to figure out the factors that drove a trend. For instance, if the revenue is up, what are the factors that contributed to increase revenue? Maybe a video went viral on social media. Anomaly detection helps you to determine what happened, while contribution analysis helps you to understand the "why." With the Adobe Analytics standard version, you may analyze contribution with up to 3 different, customizable dimensions at the same time (for instance: what drove revenue across all of your campaigns, referring domains, and products). The entire data set is analyzed automatically with Adobe Analytics Premium. For instance, we discovered with one customer that a peak of traffic on certain pages was due to a competitor scraping and copying its page based on the hostname dimension.
2. Customer Attributes: we've facilitated the ability to bring CRM or other enterprise customer data into Adobe Analytics in order to merge with online behavioral data. Customer Attributes are a new type of variable similar to a classification, by using a common customer ID key. Values are applied forward and backward in time at the visitor level during the entire life of the visitor cookie. 200 attributes may be used per report suite for the Premium version, while 3 attributes may be used for the standard version per company. Labels like gender, age group, loyalty level, etc... may be used as customer attributes, at the exception of personal data. Finally, attributes onboarded to the Marketing Cloud are available for all Marketing Cloud workflows, not just Analytics. One great way to leverage attributes is to build segments and to share them across the entire Marketing Cloud.
3. Free Form Analysis: this is a new analysis tool which allows you to combine dimensions, metrics, segments, and date range in any combination, with unlimited breakdowns and comparisons, to answer questions at the speed of thought. Never before on the web has a tool given you so much control over how you want to view your data. Use segments as dimensions. Break down dimensions by a date range. Compare as many segments as you want. The sky is the limit! The Freeform Analysis tool introduces also a new method for querying your data which really unlocks the power of the Adobe Analytics platform in ways that even Ad Hoc Analysis has never been able to do, returning and rendering results significantly faster than ever before
Nicolas Malo: According to you, what are the top 3 underused Adobe Analytics features, even the oldest ones?
Ben Gaines: Well, I've never thought about it this way before! Let's say:
1. Calendar Events: this one is an oldie but still a goodie! Context is indeed critical to any analysis. With this feature, you may add contextual information on all reports based on dates. You may also push your own events to other users' reports.
2. Descriptions of custom variables, custom events and classifications at the top of every report: we released this feature last year and it is very helpful, especially if you have a large number of props, eVars, events, etc...
3. Calculated metrics: this feature is still underused in Reports as well as in Adhoc Analytics. Advanced metrics from Ad Hoc Analysis like variances and estimates will be available in Reports in our future releases.We will also launch soon the "derived metrics", based on segments.
Nicolas Malo: What are the top 3 hot requests from customers currently?
Ben Gaines: We are getting a lot of customer requests for improving:
1. Free form analysis, by providing the ability to curate a project. This will allow non-analysts to find their own insights, without overwhelming them with dimensions, metrics, and segments that aren’t relevant to their data needs, or haven’t been implemented.
2. Anomaly detection, by providing YOY changes and seasonality
Nicolas Malo: Do you have any news regarding cross-device measurement and attribution modeling in Adobe Analytics?
Ben Gaines: Absolutely! Visitor stitching and attribution modeling are now available with Data Workbench part of our Adobe Analytics Premium package. We are looking to expand adoption outside of Workbench, but we do not have an ETA to share publicly for the moment.
Nicolas Malo: Any additional sneak peak to share for the readers of my blog?
Ben Gaines: We are currently working on providing tags for segments and reports. This will become a great way to share a new set of things in bulk. It will be released soon in the Adobe Analytics Reports interface!
Nicolas Malo: Thank you very much Ben for this interview!