Adobe simplifies app advertising, integrates Marketing Cloud with iBeacons

The company hopes to give mobile marketing a push while safeguarding privacy

Adobe Systems is stepping up its mobile efforts by integrating the company's Marketing Cloud with Apple's iBeacons and simplifying advertising in apps, while also partnering with SAP to help sell it using Hana.

Adobe is this week gathering 6,000 attendees for the company's Summit conference in Salt Lake City.

"This is really a big event for us at Adobe. It's that one time every year when you get customers together, all of your partners together. We are of course able to announce news, but also reinforce the community that is digital marketing, said John Mellor, vice president of business development and strategy at Adobe.

The theme this year is the big shift the marketing industry is experiencing.

"We all wish there was a play book that would tell us what to do, but there isn't," Mellor said.

The growing popularity of smartphones and tablets is a major part of those changes. What Adobe has focused on is solving "the mobile app problem" with the help of a new PhoneGap offering called Enterprise. PhoneGap is Adobe's cross-platform development tool for building mobile apps using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

"Historically mobile app development solutions have been focused on the developer. But what we are announcing is that our solution can actually be used by marketers, as well," said Ray Pun, strategic marketing manager for mobile at Adobe.

The developer builds the app, but when it's done the marketing department can update content on its own. This helps reduce the friction when making changes on apps that are available across multiple app stores, according to Pun.

Adobe has also added support for Apple's iBeacons with Mobile Services 2.0, which aims to help marketers better understand and improve user engagement with mobile apps. The integration lets Marketing Cloud users analyze and act on the users' location when they are within the coverage of a beacon.

"If users are connecting to beacons through their apps in a stadium or in a store, we can analyze the engagement. Once you know that someone is dwelling on a beacon, we can send them a targeted promotion. This is helping early adopters of beacons understand the ROI of location-based marketing tactics and drive innovation in micro location," Pun said.

As digital marketing becomes more advanced with the help of products such as iBeacons, and personalization becomes increasingly common, privacy also comes to the foreground.

"The benefit with beacons and the leveraging of Bluetooth is the need for consumers to opt-in to receiving the signal, as well as location-based data being collected and push notifications," said Pun.

With Adobe Mobile Services 2.0, marketers can also measure which campaigns are driving mobile app downloads across Apple's App Store and Google Play, and see what users do with the application.

To help marketers decide what to spend their budgets on, Adobe is previewing Marketing Cloud technology that uses algorithms to provide analytics including effectiveness, forecasting and campaign scheduling across all marketing channels.

Just like any other IT platform, ease of use is key if enterprises are to get the most out of Marketing Cloud.

Adobe has implemented a feature it calls master marketing profile, which gives companies a single view of customers based on and accessible from all parts of Marketing Cloud, according to Mellor. There is also a central repository that lets users share, store and search digital assets including images. Add to that single sign-on and a common user interface.

"Until you get to this level of integration, you haven't really integrated in a way that marketers care about," Mellor said.

The news at Summit conference isn't just product related -- SAP and Adobe announced a global agreement targeted at digital marketing for enterprise customers.

SAP plans to resell Adobe Marketing Cloud with the Hana platform. Adobe and SAP will both invest marketing, sales and development resources in the partnership, they said Monday.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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