Adobe's Cross-Device Co-op Takes Personalization to a New Level

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2016-03-23 Print this article Print

In short, Co-op members will give Adobe access to cryptographically hashed login IDs and HTTP header data, which fully hides a consumer's identity, Adobe said in its marketing material. Adobe processes this data to create groups of devices—or "device clusters" as Rasmussen said—used by an unknown person or household. Adobe then will surface these groups of devices through its digital marketing solutions, so Co-op members can measure and advertise directly to individuals across all of their devices, the company said.

Adobe receives no personal information about the consumers visiting Co-op members' websites, she said. All Adobe learns is which devices are associated with the same unknown person or household.

Despite privacy concerns, many observers said they like the potential of the Co-op and what it brings to both consumers and businesses.

"I think the one of the most innovative new features Adobe announced today is the Adobe Marketing Cloud Device Co-op that will link devices across a shared network of large brands," said Chris Chodnicki, co-founder and executive director of Strategic Partnerships at r2integrated (r2i), a Baltimore-based full-service, independent marketing agency and Adobe Business Solution Partner focused on integrating marketing cloud technology into its offerings to clients.

Chodnicki, who spoke with eWEEK at the show, was on hand as his firm was named the 2015 Marketing Cloud Mid-Market Partner of the Year-Americas. "The ability to leverage real-time data passed through the network and along with information about the consumer's personal device is well beyond the levels of personalization being provided with many of today's technologies," he said.

That is key to the Adobe strategy, both Rencher and Asa Whillock, known as the Identity czar at Adobe, said.

With the Adobe Marketing Cloud Device Co-op, "You can treat your consumer as a person, not as a device," Whillock said. "It extends what you know about your consumer, not a device. With the Device Cooperative in place, we can see how people use our apps and use their devices. You measure people instead of devices."

Jeffrey Hammond, an analyst with Forrester Research, said the new Adobe Co-op is actually in line with the direction Forrester is giving clients.

"So the idea of cross-device connected apps and sites and data-driven decision-making mirror the advice we are giving our customers in building and measuring cross-device journeys," Hammond said in an interview. "It's hard to go fast if you don't know what works."

Hammond said he also liked the onstage demonstration by Rencher and David Nuescheler, Adobe fellow and vice president of Enterprise Technology, involving a Tesla automobile and a futuristic auto infotainment system, in which they simulated ordering Dunkin' Donuts at a drive-in shop.

"But I found myself thinking if I were in the Tesla, I wouldn't necessarily want to tap a big screen to order, I'd like to just talk to my Tesla and say, 'Please order a box of joe and a box of Munchkins,' and then see the results on the screen. Or, if I walked up to the kiosk, why can't it recognize my face instead of me having to tap my phone via computer vision? Net of these examples: Adobe is very focused on delivering cross-channel content, but the interaction models it's supporting are pretty much dependent on touch- or click-based interactions, which are the traditional I/O mechanisms, but not necessarily the ones we will use in our multidevice future. There reason it struck me so is that I expect to hear about more about these new UI mechanisms from Microsoft like Hololens and Cortana and Kinect, etc., next week at Microsoft's Build conference."


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