Customer Journey Analytics vs Adobe Analytics: Which Is Best?
Let’s face it, getting the clearest view of all the touchpoints that matter to your business, and knowing how to improve customer experiences at each step, is more important than ever.
If you’re here, your current data analytics solutions…probably aren’t illustrating your funnel enough. Or they’re presenting you with data that doesn’t help you easily conclude your customers.
Adobe’s offerings in the analytics space, however, are designed to help you make the most of your cross-channel data, and help you act on your customers’ touchpoints when it counts the most.
But Adobe Analytics and the Customer Journey Analytics software can sound similar at first glance. So we’re here to give you some tips on how to decide between the two.
What Is Adobe Analytics?
Adobe Analytics (AA), once known as Omniture, is a web analytics platform that helps businesses analyze customer behaviors specifically across online channels. Adobe acquired Omniture in 2009 and officially folded it into its list of products as Adobe Analytics in 2012.
Whether you want to know how customers interacted with your website, ads, or even how their offline engagements ultimately contributed to their online behavior, AA compiles all this data in one centralized location. It not only helps you visualize data, but also predict customer behavior, and gain actionable insights.
One of the greatest benefits of Adobe Analytics is its incredible list of features to create actionable, and customizable insights from all touchpoints your customers cross, like:
- Real-time data collection and segmentation without a need for complicated rules.
- Simplified tag management with help from Adobe Experience Platform Tags.
- Multi-channel collection of data from nearly any source.
- Data unification with cross-device analytics.
- Highly advanced audience segmentation.
- Cohort analysis to compare customer groups that share similar traits.
- Data anomaly detection and contribution analysis to identify the cause.
- Comparison of statistically significant data between segments.
- Easily importable advertising analytics.
Pros and Cons
Like any platform, Adobe Analytics has its upsides and downsides. Depending on your business, these downsides may or may not be consequential. But it’s nevertheless important to keep them in your back pocket as you decide whether AA is for you.
Some of the pros of Adobe Analytics are:
- Access to a robust report builder that’s easy to use, and drag-and-drop enabled.
- Automated anomaly detection plus analysis of reasons why the anomaly occurred.
- Highly customizable segmentation and visualization of data.
- Visibility of data across online channels and devices for a full-funnel view.
- Integrations with a variety of software and platforms you already use.
Some of the cons of Adobe Analytics are:
- The learning curve is steep and does require some training.
- Implementation is complex and typically more costly and will require experts to assist.
- The monthly cost to use its industry-leading capabilities starts at around $500 per month for the lowest package tier.
- The platform is not one of Adobe’s HIPAA-certified offerings.
What is Customer Journey Analytics (CJA)?
Think of Customer Journey Analytics by Adobe as the next step up from Adobe Analytics. Both tools are incredibly powerful data analysis engines. But Adobe Customer Journey Analytics (CJA) is built specifically to analyze data holistically from all channels that a customer touches, and then tie all those data points together across a customer’s profile.
CJA by Adobe accomplishes this analytics wizardry via its connection to the Adobe Experience Platform (AEP)—a central hub for the collection of customer data through any source.
Whether your customer touchpoints happen on an app, in a store, over the phone, or somewhere else, Adobe Experience Platform’s customizable integrations are capable of collecting and storing it all. Then, you can process that data and visualize it in any number of ways with CJA.
Because Adobe’s journey analytics take a bird’s eye view of your data, it’s better able to help you see where your funnels flow and where they drop off as a collective. It’s easier to draw connections between segments of customers that are alike and find out what customized messaging or specific touchpoints work for them and what doesn’t.
When you have this kind of analytics power, you’re better able to allocate your time to the efforts that work, fix what’s broken, and predict what will work for your customers next.
Being the next level up from Adobe Analytics, there are many features you’ll find are similar between the two. But there are still plenty of additional, more easily distinguishable key features unique to CJA, like:
- Safe usability of personally identifiable information in analysis and reporting (the platform is HIPAA-ready).
- Profile IDs that connect data from customer engagements across all touchpoints.
- Report-time data processing relies on any data stored within the Adobe Experience Platform’s data lake and enables more customizable reports.
- Data views are analyses of data collected from a connection of multiple sources.
- Access to deep, enterprise-capable data storage, with a minimum of 5.5 terabytes of data, or more with add-ons.
- Unlimited metrics, dimensions, and user seats.
Pros and Cons
Customer Journey Analytics is a highly developed tool, but it won’t necessarily be a good match for every business. So, while we’re excited to present you with the benefits the platform has to offer, we also think it’s important to highlight a few of its drawbacks.
Some pros of Customer Journey Analytics are:
- Adobe Experience Platform in Customer Journey Analytics enables you to store and process a huge amount of omnichannel data in the AEP data lake.
- Adobe’s customer journey mapping assigns customers a Profile ID and focuses on providing an overall view of that same ID’s journey across online and offline touchpoints.
- Being a HIPAA-compliant software, CJA is capable of processing and protecting personally identifiable information, making it ideal for sensitive business verticals.
- An intuitive reporting interface makes it easy for anyone (not just experts) to generate effective reports quickly.
Some cons of Customer Journey Analytics are:
- Web analytics must be pulled in with Analytics Connector and CJA can’t always bring data through exactly how Adobe Analytics can (e.g. marketing channel rules).
- Migration to CJA is expected to be more expensive and requires knowledgeable tech experts to implement it properly and pull in all data sources accurately.
- CJA’s robust omnichannel reporting naturally commands a higher price than some other solutions on the market, with the potential for additional costs depending on add-ons desired.
- The learning curve can be steep for CJA.
Adobe Analytics vs Customer Journey Analytics: Key differences
At first glance, Adobe Analytics and Customer Journey Analytics seem similar, and a lot of what they do is to achieve similar ends. But what each platform is intended to help you analyze is quite different.
To help clarify the line in the sand between the two, we’ve provided a handy comparison table below.
|Customer Journey Analytics
|Web analytics focused, with the ability to bring in offline event data—but only to build insights on how it relates to online data.
|Holistically omnichannel for analytics on the customer journey in its entirety, with less functionality to drill down into insights around a specific data type (such as web analytics).
|Data is stored within Adobe Analytics, which can present processing limitations when working with large data sets from many channels at once.
|Data is stored within the Adobe Experience Platform, which allows a minimum of 5.5 terabytes of data storage before add-ons and enables data collection across multitudes of channels.
|Not currently HIPAA compliant.
|HIPAA-ready and capable of processing sensitive data.
|Processes most of your data immediately at collection time, and allocates minimal processing at reporting time.
|Processes most of your data at reporting time, and applies minimal processing at collection time. This allows for more customizable, complex reports.
|Virtual report suites enable thorough data segmentation by your various audiences.
|Data views enable you to view, customize, and analyze data from a connection of multiple data sources.
|Assigns an Adobe Analytics ID to customers, which can be used to link online activities cross-channel and relate offline activities to online activities.
|Assigns a Profile ID to customers, which can be stitched with varying types of IDs assigned from different data sources, to connect data points across channels.
What is better: Customer Journey Analytics or Adobe Analytics?
Many businesses use Adobe Analytics and Customer Journey Analytics as a team. That’s why it helps (for now) to think of CJA as the next step on the Analytics ladder.
The reason this is the case is that Adobe Analytics hones in on web-specific analytics, providing complex breakdowns of online customer activity. While CJA is anticipated to have added support to do this on its own in the future, it currently relies on Analytics Connector to pull in this detailed online data.
However, you can use CJA without Adobe Analytics and connect it to other web data sources. And you can use Adobe Analytics without CJA if it suits your business needs perfectly well on its own.
The solution that’s right for your business depends highly on a few variables, including:
- The amount of data you’re storing and using for reporting.
- The number of touchpoints your customers have that are valuable for you to analyze.
- What you can invest in an analytics platform.
- How data privacy and cookie limitations affect your data insights at large.
For many businesses, Adobe Analytics is a powerful solution in its own right, capable of reporting on large sets of web-specific data.
Example Customer Journey Analytics use cases
We usually see a lot of confusion about when it makes sense for a business to step up to CJA. So, let’s take a look at some examples of potential CJA use cases below.
Businesses with large numbers of SKUs to manage might find it hard to reach the level of customizability needed for detailed reporting on each SKU across the customer journey.
Adobe Analytics allows for detailed customization to an extent but does face some limitations with the customizability of reports around larger data sets. For instance, Adobe Analytics only permits 500,000 maximum unique values in reports each month.
Customer Journey Analytics, provides higher flexibility and granularity with large datasets, identifying limits around rows of data within Analysis Workspace Projects, such as:
- 50,000 exportable rows maximum for a single dimension.
- 400 maximum rows within the Analysis Workspace interface.
- 1,000,000 maximum ingestible rows of data per Person ID.
Your business operates globally and needs a solution that enables a full view of data across multiple countries in one place.
At this time, Adobe Analytics isn’t capable of cross-comparing data from reports centered around different countries. For global companies, a big part of understanding your customer journey on a grand scale entails comparing data and performance among all your markets at once.
You can do this manually, generating report suites one at a time, and comparing them one after the other—but Customer Journey Analytics already can compare reporting suites across multiple countries in one place. That means the time you would have spent manually comparing reporting suites separately…can instead be spent acting on data insights sooner.
You operate in an enterprise industry where cookies are no longer a feasible way to track customer behavior, and/or data privacy is vital.
With data collection becoming an increasingly sensitive topic, and with cookies anticipated to deprecate, many businesses need an alternate solution for tracking that both enables insight and enforces data privacy.
Adobe Analytics currently gleans its web data from both first and third-party cookies. Support for third-party cookies is anticipated to be phased out by Q3 2024, whereas first-party cookies will remain with limitations on Apple devices. This results in data gaps that can be especially substantial for enterprise businesses with large data flows.
Customer Journey Analytics relies on server-side tracking rather than cookies, helping to prevent these data gaps. In addition, CJA features extensive consent management capabilities, enabling businesses to customize data tracking based on permissions that customers provide.
CJA also anonymizes personally identifiable information in compliance with strict data privacy standards like HIPAA. Which, naturally, makes it an optimal solution for businesses where data collection is especially sensitive.
Going beyond web analytics
Web analytics are only a small fraction of your overall customer journey, and you already have a clear picture of what happens online.
Whether you’re currently using Adobe Analytics or another web analytics platform—you might already be in a position where you understand the entire online journey.
But there are many industries, such as hospitality, travel, healthcare, entertainment, or financial services, where the online journey is only a fraction of the full customer path, and not necessarily the most important piece.
If you’ve got just as many (if not more) vital touchpoints that happen offline, and you need to know how those affect a customer’s entire journey (not just how they contribute to what happens online), CJA is your best bet.
For example, in healthcare, important offline touchpoints may consist of calls to a call center to schedule appointments, visits to a clinic, new patient check-ins, and returning patient visits—all of which are essential to understanding the customer journey from awareness to loyalty.
Whether you’re going to be working with Adobe Analytics, Customer Journey Analytics, or both—each platform is a data analyst’s dream. And there’s a little data analyst inside everyone that’s endeavoring to understand their customers better.
Now, when it comes to data, you’ll want to see the facts, figures, and graphs sooner than later, and we can help with that. Our experts are familiar with every corner of AA and CJA implementation and know exactly how to pull it off without a hitch—avoiding any unnecessary strain on your existing tech teams. Drop us a line to learn how!
Do Adobe Analytics and CJA both provide real-time analytics capabilities?
Yes, Adobe Analytics and CJA both provide real-time analytics. However, currently, CJA doesn’t support real-time reporting. This is in the works, according to Adobe.
Are Adobe Analytics and CJA equipped to manage big data?
While Adobe Analytics and CJA are both designed to handle large data coffers, CJA is better equipped to handle massive datasets because it draws data from the Adobe Experience Platform. AEP has expanded capabilities for data storage up to 5.5 terabytes not including add-ons. Adobe Analytics stores data in the platform itself which is limited. Adobe hasn’t quantified these storage limitations, but 2 million+ data lines have been known to throw back errors.
Do Adobe Analytics and CJA both have predictive analytics features?
Yes, Adobe Analytics and CJA both have predictive analytics features.