What feels like an either/or discussion when it comes to Adobe and Google is anything but. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is a great product and serves the needs of many, but what happens when you begin to run into the limits of its web and advertising focus? Enter Adobe…and witness the transformation of it and Google from odd couple to power couple.
Adobe’s Customer Journey Analytics (CJA) is a multichannel insights exploration solution that extends GA4 very nicely, especially for those businesses maturing into more complicated data and business needs. For example, this duo can be the solution for the need to connect Web Analytics data, CRM data, shipping/logistics data, offline marketing data, third-party marketing data, offline event data, and more.
In this article, we explore scenarios for when you might consider CJA to extend the value of GA4. Let’s jump in.
Answering a common scenario: “I use GA4 and have offline data. What’s next?”
Congratulations! Your business is thriving! You have an established website which has been growing year over year, your products have made a substantial impact on the industry, and you are expanding your business beyond just a website.
Awesome connectivity with the Google stack
You made the decision to adopt Google Analytics and have successfully implemented Google Analytics 4 to continue to utilize the fantastic behavior tracking features, the expansive ecommerce reporting capabilities, and the wonderful integrations Google Analytics 4 has with the Google Marketing Platform stack (Google Ads, Search Ads 360, Display & Video 360, Campaign Manager 360, etc.).
Expanding beyond a website introduces other avenues for your customers to engage with your business and your products, such as a brick and mortar store, a call center to help assist new and existing customers, a new email platform to keep your clients updated on new products, discounts, events, and other awesome ways to keep your customers happy and engaged.
As you may begin to notice, you are starting to accumulate a lot of different data sets in a lot of different systems that do not seamlessly interact with each other. You may start to realize that there are a LOT of questions that expanding your business may create—questions like these:
- Are my customers participating in each of these avenues?
- Are they participating in SOME of these avenues?
- Which avenues are bringing people to my new, dare I say “stunning,” brick and mortar location?
- Are customers on my website abandoning their cart online and, instead, going to my brick and mortar store and finishing their purchase?”
[REDACTED: 300+ other scenarios of your growth and success to preserve your brain from melting.]
New integration and activation needs
You need a way to combine all your data points to understand your customer journey across your online and offline avenues, and you want to be able to use and act on your findings quickly—while they’re still relevant.
As a business owner or team who is looking to continue to grow and be amazing at it, what can you do to connect your Google Analytics 4 data to all your other data sources and activate your findings in the best way possible?
Getting to Cross-Channel Insights
So you’ve acknowledged the need for omnichannel insights, and know you want to stick with GA4, so how do you bridge the gap? That’s where Adobe’s Customer Journey Analytics (CJA) comes in. Yes, you heard me right—an Adobe Product that plays nice with GA4! (No, really! Check out our POC here).
Here are just a few key ways CJA is able to extend your current GA4 capabilities, which we’ll dive into in more detail in the following sections:
- Unlocking insights around how customers interact with your brand, rather than just your website, enabled by CJA’s cross-channel analytics capabilities
- Democratize your data and empower business users across your organization to become citizen data scientists using CJA’s advanced analytics capabilities on complex datasets—without any knowledge of languages such as SQL, Python, or R
- Accelerate time to action by seamlessly sharing audiences with your organization’s campaign delivery solutions, such as Campaign, Journey Optimizer, and Target.
CJA is not just another BI Tool
CJA was purpose built to enable cross-channel insights by ingesting data from multiple sources and combining them in a unified schema for easy analysis and activation (read more about CJA here and here.). At first blush, some may confuse CJA with another BI tool, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
BI tools, such as Power BI and Tableau, are great for creating dashboards to measure business performance, but quite difficult to leverage for any sort of deeper analysis are data science. Typically, organizations leveraging a BI tool want to better understand why performance is different from expected across channels. To do this, they need to pull data from multiple sources, combine it, then analyze it in a statistics tool. This approach requires proficiency in languages such as SQL, R, or Python and often takes days or weeks to complete.
By contrast, CJA’s unified schema means your data, once ingested, is already combined, enabling your team to get these same insights in mere minutes, without the need to know additional languages. Analysts and business users alike will be able to analyze how current and potential customers interact with your brand, rather than just your website, all within a straight-forward UI.
Beyond the typical free-form tables and flowcharts, CJA can even help your team unlock their inner citizen data scientist with more advanced features, such as algorithmic attribution models and regression-based metrics.
Don’t just analyze the data—activate it!
Once you’ve unlocked those cross-channel insights, activation is a breeze. CJA is part of Adobe’s Audience Experience Platform (AEP)—the overarching architecture supporting solution apps such as CJA—which was built with activation in mind.
Unlike a traditional EDL (enterprise data lake), AEP operates using a single data workflow to handle both analytics and operational use cases, which dramatically reduces latency. With just a few clicks, you can send audiences to RT-CDP to be used in campaigns from standard batch emails to mobile push notifications to same-page personalization.
Not sure where to start? Some of the more common CJA use cases we’ve seen include these:
- Reducing support calls
Customer support is a cost center for most businesses, so anything that improves call center efficiency has a good chance of improving your organization’s bottom line. If you’ve integrated both GA4 and Call Center data into CJA, you’ll be able to break down calls by reason and flow backwards from customers’ calls to see what pages they viewed prior. This can help organizations identify common issues leading to support calls, and more proactively address them virtually through the creation of new content or features.
- Real-time, targeted campaign delivery
How many times have you heard some version of “right message, right person, right time”? GA4 with CJA can help unlock that for your organization. For example, imagine an authenticated user adds a product to their cart online, but doesn’t purchase. If that product is available at a local brick and mortar store, you can let them know with an email or push notification—with some help from a tool like Adobe Journey Optimizer (AJO). And, once they visit your store to purchase, Sales Associates can even view other products they browsed to help aid in cross- and up-sell efforts.
- Improving attribution
By including a broader view of customer and prospect touchpoints, your organization can more accurately attribute credit for key conversions. Your typical First Touch, Last Touch, and Participation models are still available, but Adobe really upped the ante with their Algorithmic Attribution model, which leverages statistical models to help users better understand the role each channel plays.
Privacy & HIPAA Compliance
Privacy and HIPAA compliance regulation continue to evolve at breakneck speeds, and this is one area where CJA has found a strong niche, particularly in the Healthcare and Financial Services industries. CJA offers HIPAA readiness that assists in compliance via a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) through the Healthcare Shield add-on. Similarly, Adobe’s Privacy Shield provides a similar safe haven for those in other industries facing increasing regulatory pressures.
The catch is that CJA may need to act as your only web analytics solution (forgoing Google) to meet some regulations. This is an entire topic in of itself, and we will be writing more about this in an upcoming post: “How Adobe enables privacy compliance with its Privacy Shield and Healthcare Shield Add-ons.”
In short, coupling GA4 (and other data sources) with CJA will accelerate time to insights, enable real-time activation, and democratize your data to help give your organization an edge when it comes to providing relevant, impactful omnichannel experiences.