A real and sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge fac­ing mar­keters today is the absolute del­uge of data that’s com­ing from numer­ous dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing chan­nels with no end in sight. The sheer vol­ume of data being col­lected has the poten­tial to help mar­keters bet­ter under­stand their cus­tomers and how to improve and opti­mize how they engage with them. This leaves mar­keters and their data ana­lysts, who need to be able to take action “now” on what mat­ters most, in a dif­fi­cult posi­tion. Many emerg­ing trends can go unno­ticed and develop into larger issues for your busi­ness by the time they are iden­ti­fied, assum­ing they are uncov­ered at all. Being able to uncover from this del­uge of data the crit­i­cal insights that are most rel­e­vant to increas­ing con­ver­sion can feel like try­ing to find a nee­dle in a haystack.

This mar­ket­ing rid­dle I heard recently at a con­fer­ence might help illus­trate the point:

What do these four things have in common?

  • A $3 mil­lion dol­lar order
  • 16,000 zero-dollar orders
  • An aggres­sive bot that’s hit­ting your Web prop­er­ties from a com­pany in Europe
  • A 5,000 per­cent, single-day increase in traf­fic from a city in France

Any guesses? (Hint: It’s some­thing mar­keters won’t want to hear.) They’re all things our cus­tomers were only able to iden­tify after they’d already become issues weeks or months ear­lier. It was way too late for them to take action because the prob­lems were missed in the flood of data. I won­der how many more crit­i­cal insights were sim­ply missed altogether.

Today’s mar­keters are being asked to lever­age data to iden­tify key insights in real time—say, a 5,000 per­cent spike in traffic—and then be able to take the action needed to under­stand and hope­fully respond to max­i­mize results. That’s one of the rea­sons I am really excited about our Fall 2013 Adobe Ana­lyt­ics release—a major update to Adobe Ana­lyt­ics that will help mar­keters and ana­lysts gain insights into data quickly so they can act more pre­cisely, being guided by their data. One of the updates our beta cus­tomers loved is Anom­aly Detec­tion, a sta­tis­ti­cally based pre­dic­tive ana­lyt­ics capa­bil­ity that enables mar­keters and ana­lysts to uncover anom­alies that have occurred in their data.

Really, we see anom­aly detec­tion as a new “start­ing point” for analy­sis, by help­ing mar­keters and ana­lysts unearth spikes and dips that fall out­side the his­tor­i­cal norms in the range of pre­dicted results. Hope­fully, that 5,000 per­cent spike won’t go unno­ticed for weeks or months—because it’s clearly not nor­mal. How­ever, other anom­alies that could have a sig­nif­i­cant effect on your busi­ness can eas­ily be uncov­ered and then acted upon with this new capability.

Here’s a quick use case for a retailer. A com­mon prob­lem retail­ers face with online sales is pric­ing issues. If some­one misses a zero, a $100 prod­uct may sud­denly start sell­ing like hot­cakes at $10 each and end up sold out. That’s an insight you need to know about as soon as pos­si­ble, and Anom­aly Detec­tion is designed to help mar­keters dis­cover these key insights quickly so they have time to act. You don’t want to find out days later that you sold out of a prod­uct and your mar­gins are terrible.

A crit­i­cal aspect of our Fall 2013 Ana­lyt­ics release is speed.

Mar­keters need real-time data at their fin­ger­tips to cap­i­tal­ize on trends when they hap­pen. For pub­lish­ers, real-time data allows mar­keters to gauge how con­tent is per­form­ing and being con­sumed so they can move high-performing sto­ries to the most promi­nent posi­tions on their Web prop­er­ties, as often as many times per hour. In the case of retail­ers, they might want to know if a daily deal is per­form­ing or if sales items are mov­ing in order to make adjust­ments and make bet­ter ship­ment decisions.

We are pleased to have sig­nif­i­cant updates to our Advanced Real-Time Reports, which pro­vides just that: a gauge for mar­keters to see how their busi­ness is per­form­ing in real time. It’s all about pro­vid­ing a dash­board of insights that will help you cap­i­tal­ize on emerg­ing trends that auto­mat­i­cally refreshes every 3 to 5 sec­onds with one minute gran­u­lar­ity views into the data, rang­ing over 15 min., 30 min., 1 hour, and 2 hour time peri­ods. My col­league Ben Gaines wrote and excel­lent arti­cle on how to use the new real-time reports in Adobe Analytics.

Video and mobile are two hot areas for mar­keters today, and we have some sig­nif­i­cant upgrades in this release. For instance, Adobe’s Mobile Ana­lyt­ics now offers a greater depth of key mobile insights. One line of code in your mobile app using our new mobile SDK will get you a host of new mobile app life­cy­cle met­rics includ­ing app store data, GPS loca­tion data, and events that influ­ence cus­tomer life­time value such as pur­chases and social shar­ing. Our inter­nal data sug­gests that mobile users are spend­ing the vast major­ity of their time in apps with smart­phones and tables. Mar­keters need to under­stand not only how many peo­ple are using their apps and what ver­sion they are on, but how are they engag­ing with them and how they can improve the expe­ri­ence and even per­son­al­ize it. Our new mobile ana­lyt­ics gives mar­keters a clear pic­ture of how their apps are per­form­ing and what mar­keters can do to opti­mize and per­son­al­ize engagement.

With this release, mar­keters can now also serve location-specific con­tent to cus­tomers, ana­lyze in-app con­ver­sion rates, and see how many cus­tomers buy after first-time viewing.

Upgraded Video Ana­lyt­ics Mea­sure­ment is another capa­bil­ity that is going to help busi­nesses and pub­lish­ers under­stand the true impact of video on their busi­ness. The upgrade pro­vides inte­grated video ad mea­sure­ment and gives mar­keters quick snap­shots of video “heart beats” every 10 sec­onds, offer­ing a real-time win­dow into video engage­ment and the insights needed to opti­mize ad-load. Using the new video met­rics, for instance, mar­keters will see the impact of ad place­ment in the video stream, which will inform the ideal time and length for ads. My col­league Scott Smith wrote an inter­est­ing blog on this: “Adobe Video Ana­lyt­ics Gets a Pow­er­ful Upgrade.”

One other notable upgrade is the option to load a sim­pli­fied menu. This lit­tle gem is going to make it much eas­ier for mar­keters to find the reports and insights they are look­ing. Our cus­tomer, Tim Ellis­ton, shared his thoughts on our Adobe Ana­lyt­ics Fall 2013 release includ­ing the ben­e­fits of a sim­pli­fied menu, here.

Across the board, these upgrades are about serv­ing mar­keters and ana­lysts and giv­ing them the capa­bil­i­ties they need to man­age the del­uge of data quickly, find insights, and drive action. We know how fast busi­nesses move online these days. That speed requires an ana­lyt­ics solu­tion that can keep up.