Over the last two years, the digital experience landscape has expanded at an unprecedented rate, and many organizations are still struggling to adapt. The speed of digital change combined with updates to MarTech, modifications in team structures, and innovations in digital experience are propelling some organizations toward success and others toward failure. This discussion will aim to answer some of the following questions:
- What are some of the biggest trends we’re seeing in digital experiences?
- Should we really be implementing these trends?
- What factors are contributing to the potential success or failure for each?
- What do marketing professionals need to adopt these trends successfully?
- What’s next?
Digital Data & Analytics Strategist, IBM
Tanu Javeri is an 18-year digital marketing veteran with roots in digital analytics, SEO and Paid Search. Currently, she is working at IBM as Digital Data & Analytics Strategist leading the optimization strategies and supporting digital analytics projects. She volunteers her time within IBM as a part of BRG - women@IBM NYC and within the community as the Board of Director for a non-profit, AWAKE, geared towards women’s empowerment. Tanu collaborates within Industry as a speaker, author, mentor, and judge.
Senior Solutions Consultant, Adobe
Daryl Acumen is a Senior Solutions Consultant at Adobe Analytics where he empowers Adobe Analytics users to get the most out of their analytics technologies and data-driven decisions. Prior to re-joining Adobe, he spent seven years as Senior Manager of Digital Analytics at Hewlett-Packard and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Acumen was employee #25 and the first member of the Business Consulting & Best Practices team at Omniture. Over seven years at Omniture/Adobe Analytics he worked with Engineering to create innovations including Fallout Reporting, Excel Integration, the Unified Sources DB Vista Rule & Channel Reports, and the Cost of Goods Sold DB Vista Rule. Acumen has a B.S. in Economics from Utah Valley University.
Product Evangelist, Amplitude
Adam Greco has been in the analytics industry for over fifteen years. He was one of the early employees of Omniture where he helped build the consulting practice in US and EMEA. He also served as Director of Analytics for Salesforce.com and authored the leading book on Adobe Analytics. As a Product Evangelist at Amplitude, Adam helps prospects and customers understand how Amplitude helps build better products through his creation and management of workshops, blogs, videos, and other content.
Chris Baird: (00:06)
Okay. We are live and we are broadcasting from across the country in different locations. And we are excited today to be a part of a panel that is discussing the 5 Trends that are Shaping Digital Experience. And we are very fortunate to have some experts that have joined our panel today. I would like to just pass it around for everyone to take just a few minutes and introduce themselves. Tanu, do you want to go ahead and start?
Tanu Javeri: (00:31)
Sure. I'm really glad to be here with all the different cities and gentlemen that I'm interacting with. And you know, as my title says, I am a data analyst at IBM. But in my free time, I would say I am the queen of water propagating. If you have a plant, I'm ready to water it.
Chris Baird: (00:54)
Love it. All right. Daryl.
Daryl Acumen: (00:59)
Daryl Acumen, I'm the Senior Solutions Consultant at Adobe. I've been working in digital strategy for about 20, 25 years. And fun fact, I was employee number 25 at Omniture which was the predecessor to Adobe analytics. So I've been doing this for awhile.
Chris Baird: (01:16)
Very cool. Thanks Daryl and Adam Greco.
Adam Greco: (01:19)
Hi everyone. My name is Adam Greco. I am a Product Evangelist at Amplitude, a digital optimization company. I've been working in the digital analytics field for about 20 years. I think I'm going to throw out a crazy fun fact about me, a little weird one. Believe it or not. I know pretty much every word to every Barry Manilow song because I was raised by a single mother and a single sister. So I was born in a house of women and they loved Barry Manilow in the seventies. So that's my fun fact.
Chris Baird: (01:51)
That's a great one. I can't...
Adam Greco: (01:52)
What are you gonna do with that one, Chris?
Chris Baird: (01:54)
Well, I was going to say Moody Blues were kind of a big deal in my house growing up. That and John Denver. My mom, there was a time where she actually looked a little bit like John Denver in the eighties. So we always talk about that with the long hair. My name's Chris Baird, I'm with ObservePoint. I also was at Omniture back in the day and Adobe, and I've been at ObservePoint for about seven years now. So fun fact about me is I worked at a boy scout camp, Camp Merry Weather on the Oregon coast when I was 16. And I dressed up in Lewis and Clark regalia and walked around with a Tennessee long rifle and a Tomahawk on my belt as I trained Scouts in the ways of Indian lore and wilderness survival. So not many people know that about me.
Okay. So let's go ahead and dive in. We've outlined five trends that are really shaping and impacting all of us today as experienced makers, with all of our respective companies. And the first thing we're going to jump in and talk about is how we're collecting visitor data and delivering experiences. It's really changing with the deprecation of third-party cookies coming, and the arrival of a lot of different privacy standards globally, we are having to change the way we collect data. And so first I want to pass it to Tanu to talk a little bit about that.
Tanu Javeri: (03:06)
Yeah, Chris, you know, if you attend any conference today or you're having a conversation about where data is sitting, the first conversation that comes up is cookie. This is about privacy. We have the laws, we have GDPR, we have LGPD, we have what's in the US from California, Virginia. There is a new law that's being drafted as we speak. I'm sure there are some updates coming in, but with all that said and done, there is still a nuance that I think most of us miss out is the fact that these privacy laws don't actually say that you can't track a user, what they are talking about is not tracking a non-consent user, and retargeting any kind of advertising to them. So I think that's where the marketers have to bring in that change. Even with platforms, a lot of times when we say the word cookie-less is there is a lot of attention that comes in.
Tanu Javeri: (03:57)
But if you think of what apple is doing, or what Google proposes to do with 2023 is about third-party cookie. The first party cookie is not going anywhere. So in the end, yes, is the data landscape changing. Of course it is. But what we have to do as marketers is understand that even with the lesser data that we have available, it is all based on how we understand the norms of user consent. What is the value exchanges we are talking about? We have to start thinking about moving from DMPs to CDPs. We are talking about, you know, changing from the broad, all on behavioral targeting to understanding what could party personalization cannot function. And we have to start bringing the first party methods into it. And of course, all of this will change the way we analyze the data.
Chris Baird: (04:50)
And that's actually, our next topic is talking about first party, but before we go there, Daryl, how are some of your teams working with and handling this at Adobe?
Daryl Acumen: (04:57)
So larger enterprises that we work with I think are doing okay. Some of the, I'd say, in the mid maturity level companies that I deal with are really struggling. Tanu, I think your insight is really important, what she brought up. Understanding what you can track and understand that you can track you just have to be careful how you use data, that knowledge isn't making it into my clients. What I'm running into are people who their legal departments are telling them, drop all of your cookies, drop everything, unless they opt in and they're losing visibility on 50% or more of their traffic and it's just a nightmare. And I have these conversations all the time. I had one on Monday where I had to explain to a customer look, you've got to learn to draw the line between compliance and being able to run your business. And it's a struggle and the knowledge isn't out there. So I think what you're bringing up is super important.
Chris Baird: (05:58)
And Adam, how can we be better prepared? I mean, you've been in this industry a long time and seen a lot of different changes in the way we collect data, how can we be better prepared for this?
Adam Greco: (06:08)
Yeah. I mean, I actually kind of agree with Tanu. Like I actually think this is a great thing. I think that for many years, I hated the fact that all the people who knew what I did for a living, like my family and friends, thought that what I was do doing was I was the person who is following them around the internet. And I kept saying, you know, mostly what I try to focus on in digital analytics is making a website, now a mobile app, really a better experience. And in order to do that, you don't have to follow people around the internet. Really what's only impacted in my opinion, is the customer acquisition. And I think in many cases, we as marketers got lazy and just started saying, "instead of earning people coming to our website or our mobile app, we basically bought people." A lot of them weren't even qualified people. And I think this is going to force organizations to really earn their visitors. And I think the whole move to first party is where we should have been probably all along. So I've actually been kind of looking forward to this.
Chris Baird: (07:10)
Yeah. And I will add, as we move into that second trend, this movement to first-party data and these experiences, we've seen a lot of our customers and a lot of brands that I'm familiar with, migrate and change this experience for the positive. And for the better, I know that about 18 months ago, Nike launched a new app experience where you had to authenticate in and they provided a really amazing experience once you did. And a really custom experience to what your shopping habits were so much that I was just really impressed with their strategy of offering only certain shoes to a Nike+ members, and then only certain items on their app, really driving people to register and sign-up for their app. And so they can have that better experience. Adam, what else are you seeing?
Adam Greco: (08:04)
Yeah, I mean, I think that the best brands are embracing the first party, this movement to first party. And what they've realized is that there is a value exchange there. There are certain things that they could do that would entice or incentivize someone to actually create an account. I mean, why would you, if you're say Walmart want to have anonymous people shopping on your website when you can actually know who they are. And I think when you see, I call it the plus-revolution, when you see things like ESPN +, Disney +, Nike +, like all of this is basically saying, we want you to be in our ecosystem. We want you to have an app on your phone that you're basically logged into all the time. So you're one click away from your favorite brands. And we're going to just give you an incentive, whether that's a price break or we're going to give you a bundle or something. And I just think that's where people want to be.
I mean, if I was a brand, I would want to have that first party data. I can enrich it with stuff from my data warehouse. I can just make sure that I'm giving really good experiences. And I know as much as I can about the customer. So yeah, I think it's awesome. And you know, my wife has spent more on Starbucks since she got the Starbucks app than she ever would have before using a website. So I think, I think it's a win-win for, for brands that take advantage of this digital transformation that we're going through.
Chris Baird: (09:31)
So moving over to Daryl and Tanu, how will in your opinions, the decrease in accurate third-party cookies impact our advertising attribution and any of the experiences we're creating there.
Tanu Javeri: (09:45)
I think, you know, I, I'm a very strong believer of innovation. Every time there is a change in our industry, there comes along a new method of actually how we utilize data, how we captured it, and how do we do, so yes. Are we moving on from third-party? I totally agree where Adam says, this ambiguous data points, you know, they weren't really authenticated. They weren't really smart data that people leveraging. So I think it will actually clear up our vision and allow us to make those innovations. We will be working more towards a customer centric approach. You know, that actual point that took that Starbucks user to become a little bit more is what we are looking for, that's the exchange. Any company that's working will have to stop thinking of, what is my current tag system, when have we casually relied on the third-party, and now very consciously make that change to the first party. So there has to be a more conscious effort in what we track and how we utilize it. I think we had become a little bit lethargic when it came to our data policies and how we actually did our analysis. So it's a good place to be in. And suddenly I think innovation is going to be phenomenal in the next coming months and year.
Chris Baird: (11:07)
It's demanding more of us. Daryl, anything to add onto there before we move on to trend number three.
Daryl Acumen: (11:11)
Yeah. I mean, my career was mostly in business analytics on the backend, like before Omniture and I spent seven years of Hewlett Packard as Senior Manager of Digital Analytics there. And you always have the agency sort of pushing the envelope with this third-party thing. I gotta be honest, I was always sort of suspicious of it. I mean, they're just, "Yeah, trust me, we're getting these great people." And I'm like, yeah, that's cute. But let's really double down on understanding who our customers were. And I was biased because that was my realm, but I mean, this is something that really good companies have been doing for years, for decades. It just always made sense. And I think that agencies, and in some cases sort of less diligent marketers just lean on that crutch of third-party for so long, and they were pumping the numbers with that. Yet it's really forced to Adam's point, right? It's forced these companies to start doing what they should have been doing all along. Right? Really, they have all these data silos built up, or just really clean up that backend, get your customer data platform tight, and really understand your customers. It's just forcing them to finally take responsibility and ownership for their customer relationships. I think it's fantastic.
Adam Greco: (12:21)
And Chris, one thing I'll throw in there also is I don't want to be too controversial, but I think, you know, you start seeing lawsuits against Facebook and Google for some of their practices. Google has always been a little bit sketchy in my opinion.` I almost feel like they've been like the mafia, in that they spider your content and then charge you money to send people back to the content of yours that they spidered. Obviously they're doing a service, but what's kind of interesting is even Google is now saying we don't know who these people are. We can't tell you if we're getting you to the right person, but trust us. We have this thing called Google signals, and we're going to just use these cool models, and just trust us. We're actually getting you the customers you want, keep giving us money. And I think people are going to just realize that they're spending money and they're throwing it away. Especially when you hear stats like 60% of it is ad fraud. And I think that the digital advertising space is in real jeopardy. And I think people are going to have to like almost go back to the 1950s where it was like big brand campaigns where we didn't personalize to people because I just think it's going to get really hard to personalize these ads given the landscape we're in.
Tanu Javeri: (13:31)
I think that one of the things that Daryl said really hit mark for me was the data silos. You know, we have all these MarTech tools that we have built out and we've built out all these third-party data sets, and first party data sets and nothing is talking to each other. We have all these tools that are layering up on one on the top. But what we are doing is we are exposing ourselves further and further into what privacy laws are, where are the cookies? How are we utilizing this data? So as he was saying that we have to make the conscious choice of what we are collecting and what we are actually utilizing for our analysis. Because each MarTech tool will then expose us or the marketer to a different set of complications. So these data silos can not exist. These MarTech silos cannot exist. So that I think is one of the things that folks have to really start consciously integrating.
Chris Baird: (14:26)
And that's a good point, and that really segues into our third trend, which is the importance of customer experience. It's you know, Daryl, you mentioned personalization and segmentation. How can teams and companies, while experiences are evolving, how can they deliver these experiences without being creepy? Quote, unquote.
Daryl Acumen: (14:47)
That's a good word, creepy. There are two things that you have to keep in mind and sort of to build onto what Tanu said, when you're building out. So the technology that's being embraced here as a customer data platform, CDPs, right? Having a unified hub that manages all of these different identifiers from all these different stacks and having a solution that's got sort of data permissions built in is important. Because data from one place will have certain restrictions and rules and things that you can use the data with, and in that they change depending on where the data is coming in. And you have to have a system that manages those permissions. Because customer's expectations are exploding. We want more personalized content, but there's gotta be consent, and managing that consent is going to be so much more important.
Daryl Acumen: (15:49)
The other thing to keep in mind, right, there are all these fantastic automated tools out there that allow you to do personalization. But you gotta have people involved, right? I mean, even my company we sell the AI and machine learning capabilities and our personalization, we touted. It's great. But then you really have to sort of bring people back a little bit and say, "Yeah, but you got to have hands on the wheel." You've got to have actual people involved. Because if you just let the machine go and do it's thing, it's going to tell you, your wife just bought you a new universal remote for father's day, you've got to have people involved who are the hands-on, that's the thing that gets rid of the creep factor. Cause the computers will get creepy if you don't have hands on. And I found that a lot of my customers struggle with that, struggle with the staffing, right? They'll invest in the technology, but they won't invest in the headcount.
Chris Baird: (16:41)
Adam, any trends that you're seeing in this space.
Adam Greco: (16:45)
Yeah. I've actually ironically talked to three companies just this week on this topic. And I think one of the things that I'm seeing is there's a little bit of a fight going on between data science teams that are building their own models and feel like they know what is the right way to personalize to their customers, and technologies like, you know, like ones that are a company at Amplitude Adobe, other companies that are trying to automate some of this. And it's kind of like Daryl said, you don't want to completely give over to the machines. But what I'm hearing, a lot of companies tell us is that when they want to personalize, you know, who are the people who are most likely to redeem a coupon? They go to their data science team and it could take days, weeks or months before they actually get a model that they can work and test and is work. But with technology, we can actually do that in minutes.
Like we could literally build a cohort or a segment of users and start personalizing right away. And I think there's been some tension because I think companies have invested a lot in data science, in machine learning like internally, but there's just, it's really hard. Every company can't be a personalization vendor. And so I think there are some advantages of working with companies that have already built algorithms, but I think the future is going to be combining those and combining those with like, you know, ones that your organization might want to feed in as well. So you can kind of get the best of both worlds. But ultimately you want to just make sure that what your users or customers are seeing is logical. You want to avoid that situation where someone sees an ad for a product that they just bought, you know, classic scenario.
Tanu Javeri: (18:30)
We have to remember is when we talk about personalization or segmentation, we are not going to apply that to a hundred percent of the users. And I think all this fear that is coming out of this whole idea of privacy or cookie-less is that, "Oh, how am I going to segment?" You still want to have the same principles on how you segment the data. You're never ever going to take your hundred users that have come onto your site and applied the segmentation or personalization on that. You actually apply that on a pattern, on things that the users actually do on the site, which is desired, which is leading to a conversion. So in the end, we have to kind of step back and say, what is that data set that's valuable? As we've talked about third parties going away, first party actually allows us to make this target a little bit, much more precise. So yes, are we starting with the smaller dataset? Yes, but is the conversion higher? Definitely. And of course we have to start working towards that concept you know, consent driven exchanges. If you give a user a seamless, personalized movement across devices, across platforms, they will exchange that data, but don't retarget them wiggly or in an ambiguous way.
Chris Baird: (19:45)
That's a great segue again, into that trend number four, the idea of omni-channel, multi-device and these fluid experiences across devices, Adam talked to us about specifically how marketing and product teams are working together to deliver these.
Adam Greco: (19:59)
Yeah, and this is personal for me because after 20 years of doing web analytics in, in the Adobe world I recently switched over to Amplitude, specifically because of this. I believe that the future is really mobile apps. And really the fact that analytics is shifting slowly from the marketing side over to the product side. If you think about it, our digital experiences are becoming really complex, whether you're a bank or a streaming provider. And I just think that more and more product teams are kind of taking over analytics. And because of that, I'm seeing some tension between the fact that the product teams and the marketing teams barely talk to each other. A lot of organizations view the marketing team is the group that gets us new leads or get us new customers. And then as soon as they get them to the website or the mobile app, or they've downloaded the mobile app, like I'm done with you, I don't care about you anymore. And then the product team is like, our job is to make sure they have a good experience, make sure they come back and so on.
But I think that is false. I think we need to move to a world where product and marketing are working together because there's really synergistic effects. Product folks could really benefit from understanding where did these users come from? Why did they come from this ad? What were they looking for? And I think marketing folks could really benefit from what are the customers using most in our product? Are they using these features? Maybe we should communicate that back to the marketer. So we could go find more people who are interested in these features because they are more successful in our product. And so I think that what's weird is we started in a website world, we're moving to a mobile app world, and we actually have different teams that manage the website and the mobile app, but the customer has the same experience.
Adam Greco: (21:42)
They want to flow from web to mobile. They don't care about our org chart. They don't care about the fact that marketing is in one department, product is another department. So I think the companies that win in the future are going to be the ones that really take a product focus, but bring in the marketers and have one unified experience and one dataset and basically flows for their customers all together. And I think other vendors like Adobe and Google, I think are acknowledging this as well in their new releases, like CJA, their new CDP and Google Analytics 4, which are all kind of more event driven tools like Amplitude. So that's kind of how, how I see it.
Chris Baird: (22:21)
That's a good point. You've inspired me to highlight a couple of different customers that are perhaps doing this as well. I think that that could be something that would be very interesting. Daryl, where are you seeing this omni-channel, multi-device movement in your customers? Are you seeing executive support and buy-in on this?
Daryl Acumen: (22:39)
Yeah. The challenges that you've got customers touching multiple channels, which means their information is showing up in multiple databases and across multiple teams. And you've got data silos, you've got teams silos, and each one of those little teams in each one of those groups has seeing the customer from their own little colored lens. And executives are asking, all right, so we're supposed to be making an investment and they're going out and talking to investors in a lot of cases, right? They're going on their conference calls and they're saying, "Hey, we're all about customer experience, et cetera. We're going to bring all this together, but your teams, aren't talking to each other, your data's not talking to each other. And so how do you make an ROI case?" Right? I mean, who's responsible for that personalization? You've got to get all the data in one place and the teams working in a cross functional manner in order to build that multi-channel ROI case for personalization. That's been the struggle. So getting all the data in one place, getting the folks talking to each other and building that cross operational ROI case, so that you can get executive buy-in. Not just to buy the technology, that's usually pretty straightforward and simple. But for funding the heads to manage it, that's the struggle. And that's what we've been trying to help folks with. And it's a challenge.
Chris Baird: (24:01)
Tanu, so beyond funding the heads, what are some actionable steps that we can take today to make this happen and realize these experiences,
Tanu Javeri: (24:10)
I would say you have to begin with doing a strategic risk assessment. Where are you collecting the data? Where are they sitting in silos? Like if you think of what Adam was talking about, product team gathering some information, marketing team doing something, and the sales team doing something, they are all sitting in evaluating different metrics, different KPIs. There is no unified way of looking at things. They are using different tools and exposing the organization and the data with all kinds of inaccuracies and privacy challenges that we may ruin it. Not only that we have also gone ahead and as things have been developed, we are using AI tools, we are using databases, we're using cloud systems. Net result is that we have created these pockets of information all over with each of them creating a loop or hole often with privacy. We have to make sure that we are condensing all this information into usable information and actually integrate that. And CDPs are the way to go. This will help you consolidate all that information. And I think that's what companies should start investigating into. Which platform actually functions or allows them to achieve the goals that they are interested in.
Adam Greco: (25:31)
Chris, I know we need to move on our next last topic. I just want to throw one super tangible thing that I think people can go and do next week. I think that people should pick one situation where product and marketing can come up with one use case where they would benefit from getting each other's data, and just try to figure out a way to partner on that and build something together. Because I think that can help break down some of the silos.
Chris Baird: (25:59)
That's a great challenge. Okay. So moving on to our final trend here, performance marketing. I feel like we could honestly do a 30 minute deep dive on each one of these trends, so maybe we'll have to do a series. But the fifth one would be performance marketing, specifically tracking and analysis. Tanu, what changes are you seeing in this space right now that are of note.
Tanu Javeri: (26:23)
The concept of linear attribution is gone, that's off the table for conversation. And the whole concept of cross channel reporting and attribution it's kind of getting very, very gray, and very quirky, or murky if that's a better word to use. What we have to get into is actually the form of different analysis, that we have to get into. Can we apply regression analysis? That's an actual step where we have to stop looking at user data, but look at an aggregate data set. And that would actually change. That means we have to pivot from what we are doing. Daryl had talked about AI and machine learning earlier. So I want to say that, we have to actually think about how to drive this machine learning. We can actually take the consent provided users, their data patterns, and apply it to actual users, which have not provided the consent. There will be pattern recognitions that have to be done to achieve that. And of course, as an enterprise or any person that is working today as a marketer, has to start thinking, "Where do I move from a third-party cookie to a first-party? How do I make that evolution done within my organization?" And I think that's, that will be the key as we move forward.
Chris Baird: (27:41)
Daryl, anything to add here that you're seeing from your end?
Daryl Acumen: (27:44)
Yeah, I mean, and this is funny because when I was in my late twenties, early thirties, starting in my career, I started with this sort of back-end data warehouse work, and then went off into web analytics. And now I'm coming back to the back-end data warehouse. Folks are finally really starting to recognize the importance of that first party CDP to manage all these data silos and bring them together. Everyone's talking about it, everyone's excited about it, and that's important. And Tanu's right, if you're going to be doing data modeling, you can't do it with partial data, right? You can't just do it with a sudo-anonymous data that you're getting on the web. You've got to take into account the full customer journey and having a nice, clean, seamless data warehouse, with a CDP allows you to take all of those independent variables, drop them into the model and say, okay, what behaviors are indicative of a customer who will give us long-term customer value? So my customers enterprises are finally starting to understand how important that is, and I think that's long overdue and it's exciting.
Chris Baird: (28:52)
So that's a great point. Adam, any final thoughts as we wrap up this trend?
Adam Greco: (28:57)
Yeah. I mean, I echo most of those things. I think again, companies have to stop thinking about short-term conversion metrics. I think cost per click, all those things have been garbage for years, I've always advocated against those. And I think the further you can go into your funnel and figure out what is your true north star metric, which may or may not be financial, but figure out what is the metric that everyone can rally around that all of the different groups that your company can center around. That's how you're going to be successful in the long run.
Chris Baird: (29:28)
Well, all great points and really appreciate all of your insights. Each of you work with some of the largest brands and enterprises in the world, and we appreciate you taking time out of your schedules and participating, and thank you so much for joining us. With that we will conclude this panel and we will pass it back over to the main stage. Again, thanking all of our panelists and, and thank you for joining us.
Adam Greco: (29:56)