Data Science

At Adobe, data scientists are changing the world of digital marketing

You probably know Adobe for its best-of-breed creative software. You’re not alone—the company’s creative tools have been king of the hill for decades. But there’s another part of the company that’s big and getting bigger by the day: the digital marketing business.

After Adobe acquired Omniture in 2009, the company instantly became a player in the online advertising space. The Adobe Digital Marketing Suite helps many Fortune 500 companies analyze mountains of data—petabytes, in fact—that would otherwise be insurmountable. It crunches massive amounts of data about online and offline advertising and customer behavior, helping to determine where they can best spend money, when, how much, and even on which individual customers.

Because Adobe works behind the scenes for customers like Condé Nast, Honda, and Lenovo, fewer people are aware of this burgeoning business. Among data scientists, however, the word is spreading. Adobe has attracted some of the world’s brightest data scientists to analyze more than 35 petabytes of customer data that it manages, unlocking the kind of fun problems they rarely get to play with in the theoretical world of academia.

“Adobe has a bigger playing field than most companies in the digital marketing space, so we can work on much more interesting problems—and we have the back end to make things happen,” says Anil Kamath, VP of technology at Adobe.

That bigger playing field comes from the fact that Adobe—unlike most big players in online advertising—is always a neutral third party working for advertisers. Adobe helps them optimize media planning across the entire Internet and even offline, while other companies help maximize ad spend only on their sites.

“Because we’re a neutral third party, customers give us information on promotions, TV ads, print ads, and ads across all publishers,” Kamath says. “We even get information related to transactions that happen online and offline, so we can understand the entire customer journey from interest to purchase, no matter where it happens.”

In that rich data lay the kind of problems that data scientists love to juggle. And in this case, they not only get to exercise their skills—they get to shape an entire industry.

Name:
Craig M.

Job Title:
Senior Research Scientist

Time at Adobe:
7 years

What they do for Adobe:
Researches and prototypes new ways of analyzing data to help Adobe provide more value to customers

Surprised to discover:
How much advertisers can personalize online interactions for each individual consumer

It’s exciting to work in an industry where there’s a lot of advancement. We’re working with cutting-edge technology that's just in the beginnings of its potential.

Name:
Julia V.

Job Title:
Data Scientist

Time at Adobe:
1 year

What they do for Adobe:
Builds models that assist in customer retention on Adobe Creative Cloud

Surprised to discover:
That Adobe is a powerhouse in digital marketing

Adobe has this massive digital marketing business. But when I say that I work at Adobe, people who know I’m a data scientist say, ‘But what do you do there?’ They didn’t realize that we are such big players in this space.

Name:
Jin X.

Job Title:
Data scientist

Time at Adobe:
Joined full-time after a 3-month internship

What they do for Adobe:
Analyzes big data to help advertisers better target audiences on Facebook

Surprised to discover:
How two slightly different online ads can yield dramatically different results

Digital marketing is the job of the future, and the environment at Adobe is great. The people, especially my boss, are very supportive and knowledgeable.

Name:
Eunyee K.

Job Title:
Senior research scientist

Time at Adobe:
5 years

What they do for Adobe:
Improves the back-end advertisement algorithm for digital marketing

Surprised to discover:
The incredible diversity of Adobe’s digital marketing clients

On our team, we have both practical people and theorists. It’s a great mix of people, and it creates this wonderful synergy.