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

Adobe launches a new Device Co-op initiative that tracks consumers across devices, enabling businesses to further personalize marketing efforts.


LAS VEGAS—At its Adobe Summit digital marketing conference here, Adobe introduced its Adobe Marketing Cloud Device Co-op, a network that will enable companies to work together to better identify consumers across digital touch points, including smartphones, tablets, desktops, laptops and other devices.

While seemingly a brilliant idea, particularly to marketers, the announcement set off immediate concerns among some observers. However, Adobe said the solution has been designed to ensure the highest level of privacy and transparency.

In a blog post on the privacy of the network, Meme Jacobs Rasmussen, Adobe's chief privacy officer, said, "This is a solution I'm quite proud of. It exemplifies the concept of Privacy by Design."

The Adobe Marketing Cloud Device Co-op will "empower" participating brands to recognize their consumers so they can deliver more personalized experiences across devices and apps at massive scale, said Brad Rencher, executive vice president and general manager of the Digital Marketing Business at Adobe, in introducing the offering. Early measurements indicate that the Adobe Co-op could link as many as 1.2 billion devices seen by Co-op members worldwide, Adobe said.

"The Adobe Marketing Cloud Device Co-op will enable brands to intelligently engage with their customers across all the different devices they are using," Rencher said in a statement. "By harnessing the power of the Co-op network, members can benefit from a truly open ecosystem and a massive pool of devices enabling them to turn yesterday's device-based marketing into people-based marketing."

According to Nielsen, the average American owned four digital devices in 2014; today, that number has risen to seven. The latest Adobe Digital Index report indicates every consumer uses an average of three devices on a daily basis, said Amit Ahuja, head of Adobe's Audience and Planning businesses, in a blog post on the Co-op.

"In the eyes of the average consumer, few things are worse than beginning a customizable experience on a mobile device, only to have to start all over once the transition has been made to a larger screen via the nearest desktop," Ahuja said. "And if you do not think this will be an issue for your brand, think again: According to Adobe's Get Personal study, nearly 8 in 10 consumers (79 percent) and 90 percent of millennials report switching devices some of the time when engaged in an activity; two-thirds (66 percent) of device owners find it frustrating when content is not synchronized across devices."

Indeed, Ahuja contends, "Today's consumers expect personalized experiences in which tasks initiated on one device can be seamlessly completed on another. Brands can start working toward delivering seamless experiences across digital devices by focusing on consistently identifying people as they move from one digital experience to the next."

So how does the Co-op work? In her post, Rasmussen offered an example of searching for flights on an airline website by starting on her smartphone and then moving to her laptop.

"If I have three devices, but I have only logged in to the airline site on two of those three devices (say my phone and my laptop), the airline won't recognize me on my third device (my tablet)," she wrote in her post. "This is where the Co-op comes into play. If I have logged in to other Co-op member sites from my tablet, Adobe will associate all three of my devices with the same individual (but we still won't know it's me personally). We call this association a 'device cluster.' We will make the association between the devices and then pass that device cluster only to companies participating in the Co-op who have seen my device."