Understand the differences between Customer Journey Analytics and Adobe Analytics with our Senior Analytics Consultant Martine Jørgensen

Customer Journey Analytics vs Adobe Analytics
Data analysis is crucial for businesses to make informed decisions, and Customer Journey Analytics and Adobe Analytics are two prominent tools that aid in achieving this goal. Although both tools serve the purpose of providing valuable insights, there are key differences between them. In this blog post, we will explore these differences, discuss the benefits of implementing Customer Journey Analytics, examine successful case studies, and dive into the user profiles of both tools.

But first – What is Customer Journey Analytics?
Customer Journey Analytics (CJA) has become a hot topic lately – and understandably.  It is a powerful tool for businesses to track, analyze, and optimize customer interactions online and offline. It visualizes the entire journey from awareness to advocacy, helping identify pain points and preferences. By creating detailed customer personas, businesses tailor marketing and products accordingly. Businesses can use these insights to enhance marketing effectiveness, optimize resources, and create a seamless customer experience. It looks a lot like Adobe Analytics in relation to the UI and offers many of the same functionalities – so what’s all the hype about? Although it looks a lot like Adobe Analytics in terms of UI and functionality, there are fundamental differences between the two tools that we will discuss later.

What is Adobe Analytics?
Adobe Analytics is the more widely used web analytics tool that focuses primarily on tracking and analyzing website performance. It provides businesses with valuable insights into website traffic, user engagement, conversion rates, and other website-related metrics. Users can create reports with tables and data visualizations in a workspace to analyze and distribute insights.

Adobe Analytics offers a wide range of features, including real-time tracking, segmentation, data visualization, and reporting. It enables businesses to understand how users are interacting with their websites, identify the most effective marketing channels, and optimize website experiences to drive conversions.

What are the Key Differences Between Customer Journey Analytics and Adobe Analytics?
As mentioned above, Customer Journey Analytics and Adobe Analytics differ in various aspects. Below are the most essential differences:

The data approach
One fundamental difference is their approach to the breadth of data – meaning the variety of data sources. Customer Journey Analytics focuses on capturing and analyzing the entire customer journey, from the initial touchpoint to conversion and beyond. This comprehensive approach allows businesses to gain insights into the various touchpoints and interactions that lead to a conversion, providing a holistic view of the customer's experience. However, Adobe Analytics mainly concentrates on measuring website traffic and engagement metrics, providing valuable information on user behavior within the digital space.

Connect to any data source on the Adobe Experience Platform (AEP) for cross-channel analysis. It is essentially a analysis workspace sitting on top of the AEP whereas Adobe Analytics is an analysis workspace on top of an Adobe Analytics implementation – specifically designed for collecting data within the digital realm. In CJA, instead of report suites in the workspace panels, you will see “data views”. This is your ‘view’ into the data connection that you or other admin users have created containing relevant data sources stitched together. Data views are like virtual report suites. Here you can work with the data, create derived fields, classify values etc.

The Architecture
Thus, the architecture looks different for CJA and Adobe Analytics. CJA leverages the technologies of AEP. Here, data collection can come from various sources such as through Adobe's SDK, other Adobe solutions, third-party tools and more. The data is received in the AEP through streaming or batch files. Then, data is organized into a unified set of schemas and cataloged in the Experience Data Model (XDM) which enables a consistent view of the data. To get data from AEP to CJA, one must create a data connection in CJA. When CJA accesses the data lake in the AEP, it essentially pulls a copy into CJA.  Then data from the data connection can be curated into a single data view. So CJA can be seen as an extension of the AEP – an analytics interface builds on the AEP.

An illustration of Customer Journey Analytics architecture

When it comes from Adobe Analytics, data is collected from web or app and is sent directly to an Adobe Analytics server where it is mapped into dimensions and events. This difference is vital to understand as it will also be important from a reporting perspective.

An illustration of Adobe Analytics architecture

Another key difference is the level of customization. CJA offers a highly configurable platform, allowing businesses to tailor the analysis to their specific needs. This level of customization empowers organizations to create bespoke analytics solutions that align with their unique business objectives and KPIs. For instance, the derived fields feature in CJA. This can be compared to processing rules in Adobe Analytics but offers even more customization. With derived fields, the user can clean up data more easily, classify data and create more complex data manipulations. This can all be applied retroactively to the data which means that it will be applied to all the collected data and not just data collected after applying the logic.

In contrast, Adobe Analytics provides a comprehensive suite of pre-built features and reports, making it easier for users to start analyzing data without extensive customization. This out-of-the-box approach can be beneficial for organizations looking for quick and standardized analytics solutions.

Advanced Segmentation
Additionally, Customer Journey Analytics offers advanced segmentation capabilities, enabling businesses to target specific customer groups based on their behavior and preferences. This granular level of segmentation allows companies to personalize their marketing efforts and create targeted campaigns that resonate with different customer segments. On the other hand, Adobe Analytics, although capable of segmenting data, places more emphasis on general website trends rather than individualized segmentation. This broader focus can be useful for organizations looking to understand overall website performance and trends across different user segments.

Benefits of Implementing Customer Journey Analytics
Implementing Customer Journey Analytics brings several benefits to businesses. Firstly, it enables the organization to utilize the powerful technologies within the AEP. It provides a holistic view of the customer journey, enabling companies to identify pain points, bottlenecks, and areas of improvement across online/offline data sources. This knowledge empowers businesses to optimize their marketing campaigns, website experiences, and customer engagement strategies.

Furthermore, Customer Journey Analytics enables businesses to gain insights into highly engaged and potential prospects. By understanding the behavior, interests, and preferences of these prospects, companies can segment them and target them with tailored messaging and offerings. Advanced segments based on these 360-degree views of the user journey can be created and sent to the Adobe Experience Cloud to activate on these segments using other Adobe Products such as Journey Optimizer to leverage the value of the integrated tools. It is also possible to send these segments to other parties such as Google Ads, Meta etc.

Moreover, Customer Journey Analytics can also help businesses in predicting future trends and customer behavior. By analyzing historical data and patterns, companies can anticipate potential shifts in customer preferences and market demands. This proactive approach allows businesses to stay ahead of the competition and adapt their strategies, accordingly, ensuring long-term success.

Additionally, Customer Journey Analytics can be instrumental in improving customer retention and loyalty. By tracking customer interactions across various touchpoints, businesses can identify loyal customers and understand the factors that contribute to their satisfaction. This information can be used to create loyalty programs, personalized offers, and exceptional customer service experiences, fostering long-lasting relationships with customers.

Who Would be the User of Adobe Analytics and CJA?
Adobe Analytics and Customer Journey Analytics have distinct user profiles. Adobe Analytics is commonly used by marketing professionals, web analysts, and digital marketers. Its intuitive interface and pre-built features make it accessible to users with varying levels of technical expertise.

Customer Journey Analytics, on the other hand, offers more advanced technical features. The level of customizable may appeal to users who require in-depth customer journey insights and tailored analysis. Nonetheless, given its user interface closely resembling Adobe Analytics, Customer Journey Analytics can offer value even to users who don't necessarily need highly customized reports but prioritize comprehensive insights into the customer journey. It retains familiar drag-and-drop functionalities and right-click options within the Analysis Workspace. Thus, transitioning from Adobe Analytics to Customer Journey Analytics wouldn't present a significant adjustment for users accustomed to working in the Analysis Workspace.

Before deciding which analytics tool to use, consider the following factors: 
1. Data approach: Consider the variety of data sources that you need to analyze. If you need to capture and analyze the entire customer journey, Customer Journey Analytics might be the better choice. If you only need to analyze website traffic and engagement metrics, Adobe Analytics might be sufficient. 

2. Architecture: Consider the technical requirements and resources needed for each tool. Customer Journey Analytics requires a connection to Adobe Experience Platform (AEP) and leverages its technologies, while Adobe Analytics is an analysis workspace built on top of an Adobe Analytics implementation. it's worth noting that while Adobe Analytics is optimized primarily for web and app tracking, it is indeed feasible to transmit data from alternative sources to Adobe Analytics. Yet, this process may not be as streamlined as it is when using CJA. 

3. Customization: Consider the level of customization needed for your analysis. If you need more flexibility and control over your data, Customer Journey Analytics might be the better choice. If you only need to analyze website and/or app-related behavior and don't require as many on-the-fly data processing and customization abilities as CJA offers, Adobe Analytics might suffice.  

4. User profiles: Consider the profiles of the users who will be working with the tool. Customer Journey Analytics might be more suitable for business analysts, data scientists, or marketing professionals who need a comprehensive view of the entire customer journey. Adobe Analytics might be more suitable for web analysts or digital marketers who simply need to analyze website traffic and engagement metrics.  

5. Budget: Consider the cost of each tool and how it fits into your budget. Customer Journey Analytics is a more advanced and comprehensive tool, which comes with a higher price tag when migrating or setting it up. Adobe Analytics is a more affordable option, but may not provide the same level of insight and detail on every customer touchpoint as Customer Journey Analytics. Nonetheless, there are a lot of actionable insights that can be derived from using Adobe Analytics.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision on which tool to use for your data analysis needs.

In conclusion, Customer Journey Analytics and Adobe Analytics are both powerful tools in the data analysis realm, but they have key differences. Customer Journey Analytics focuses on the entire customer journey, offers advanced customization and segmentation, and enables businesses to gain insights about highly engaged prospects. Adobe Analytics, on the other hand, primarily concentrates on website performance analysis, provides pre-built features, and targets a wider user based.

By understanding the strengths and characteristics of each tool, you can make informed decisions about which one best aligns with your specific requirements and goals. Whether it's optimizing the customer journey or analyzing website metrics, leveraging the right analytics tool can pave the way to data-driven success.

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