It's not new, but it's still the best
February 08, 2016

It's not new, but it's still the best

Alison Smith | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Adobe Analytics

Adobe Analytics is used throughout the Arcadia group to provide reporting and ad hoc analysis in support of all areas of the digital business including trading, marketing and creative and content. Regular reports, often served via ReportBuilder, track conversion rates for the purchase funnel, performance of different trading departments and marketing channels. Ad hoc reports provide more detail and are used to answer specific questions.
  • Segmentation, within the reporting tool, is very flexible and easy to understand. So even if you have not set a variable correctly (e.g. set a prop instead of an eVar) you can use segments to provide the required analysis.
  • Documentation is excellent, enabling self-learning. Track down the full implementation PDF and you will learn pretty much everything you'll ever need.
  • Dashboards, favourited reports, ReportBuilder and bookmarks make it easy to provide reports directly to management and novice users.
  • Admin area provides total control of access right down to individual reports.
  • Like most analytics solutions, it relies on cookies to uniquely identify visitors, which is less and less reliable with the increasing number of devices used by visitors and the combination of websites, mobile sites and apps. "Visitor stitching" is available but this can only join activity if the visitor signs in on each device/app, so there is always a risk of misinterpretation if users don't understand these limitations.
  • Unless you are willing to pay a hefty fee, there is no ability to reprocess historic data. So if bad data is captured or imported you are stuck with it. This happens more often than you might think!
  • Although documentation is very good, it can be hard to locate the specific item you need. Similarly, the support team are very good but more complex issues can sometimes take a while to find their way past the first-line support to the experts.
  • New features are released fairly frequently but Adobe will never be as responsive as smaller more agile companies, so it often feels like they're playing catchup with the rest of the industry. I'd like to say that it's worth the wait, but the truth is that there are often annoying bugs introduced with new releases which cause disruption and can take several days to be fixed.
  • There's no way to flag points in time, across all reports, eg to flag peak days or times when the tracking was badly broken. Therefore reports can be misinterpreted unless there is close management or some external log of dates and events for cross-reference.
  • Automation of reports, particularly using ReportBuilder (Excel add-on) has increased efficiency, saving several man-days monthly.
  • In-depth reporting of TV ad campaigns and other marketing programs has exposed poor performance and enabled refinement of ad programs to improve ROI eg limiting to ads to evening slots and challenging agencies' claims for new customer acquisition
Webtrends Analytics provides much the same service and toolset, but when I last used it (some years ago, admittedly) the management of variables and reports was a nightmare; the options were *too* flexible. By limiting the number of variables, and keeping a distinction between traffic and conversion vars and events, Adobe have kept their system manageable. It is easy for an admin user to see how each report is configured so there is less chance of misinterpretation of results.

Google Analytics has the benefit of a large base of users of their free GA tool, but they are almost all amateurs with little real understanding of analytics. The free tool is not sufficient, in terms of the volumes it can handle and the breadth of reporting available (limited custom vars) but the Premium tool lacks the weight of experience, documentation and support that Adobe provides and is no cheaper on a like-for-like basis.
Adobe Analytics is only available as an on-demand service (SaaS) so many financial companies, who have strict security requirements, prefer in-house solutions. It is most useful where you have a combination of self-serving users with relatively basic knowledge plus one or two experts who can manage the setup and configuration, clarify interpretation of reports and provide more detailed, deep-dive analyses. Billing is per million server calls, so costs increase if you need to track a lot of user interactions/events e.g. tracking every few frames of a video and this may be a consideration in vendor choice. Certainly the costs make it prohibitive for most smaller companies, so it is mostly used by corporates. Beyond that, I don't believe it has any limitations compared to other analysis tools and it is generally considered to be the front runner of all the major analytics tools.

Adobe Analytics Implementation