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7 data analytics trends for 2022

Over the last two years, digital trends have been anything but static. According to the 12th annual Digital Trends report from Adobe and eConsultancy, 87% of surveyed senior executives agreed that the events of 2020 and 2021 have rewired customers to be digital-first. But customers don’t just expect rich digital experiences. To make a lasting impression, businesses need to provide personalized content that creates a unified journey across channels.

New technology and market changes are constantly pushing the envelope on digital experiences. Businesses can’t simply configure their data analytics once and forget about it. Instead, they need to be adaptable and turn to real-time data and insights to keep pace.

The right technology acts as a foundation. Adobe Analytics already helps thousands of businesses unlock data in real time for immediate, actionable insights. Businesses that use Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform can pull the right data from the most relevant sources to create personalized experiences in real time across any channel at scale.

A strong digital foundation needs to be met with a digital-first strategy. Start building yours by understanding the latest data analytics trends for 2022. To gain a competitive edge, you’ll need to:

1. Unify data for agile operations

Storing clean and reliable data is not enough — it needs to be usable. Because data is often gathered from disparate channels, platforms, and systems, businesses need to centralize and standardize it. That way, data can quickly be queried, accessed, and activated in ways that will support real-time decision-making.

Customer data platforms like Adobe Real-Time CDP can help unify customer data into a single actionable profile. These profiles are refreshed in real time and are ready to be activated by different teams as customers’ needs change. Using this approach, one Adobe customer was able to reduce their data refresh cycle from 72 hours down to just 14 seconds.

2. Prepare to test, learn, and manage uncertainty

Agile practices encourage teams to test in small, quick iterations. A business that has relevant and accessible data is going to be better equipped to determine the causes and effects of an experiment. Today, customer engagement is inherently omnichannel. Being able to analyze content and strategies across channels is critical for understanding relationships and impacts across customer experiences. Acting on this trend will be especially crucial in managing changing customer expectations, but few businesses are currently well-positioned to do so. According to Adobe and Econsultancy, only 33% of practitioners consider their organization’s ability to build experiments to test in the field as strong or very strong.

Establishing a strong testing program can bring valuable results, even as needs change. For example, a leading entertainment brand had many members cancel reservations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using integrated omnichannel data, the company retargeted those customers with personalized email campaigns. They then analyzed which customers had initially canceled and later completed new bookings post-shutdown as a result of those campaigns. With these insights, the brand made updates in real time and saw a three times lift in engagement as a result.

3. Translate data into customer journey insights

To deliver meaningful experiences, businesses need to know their customers. That means having a solid grasp of their behaviors, motivations, preferences, and needs. One additional data point can reshape an organization’s entire understanding of an audience or an experience. By designing personalized customer experiences using just part of the journey, organizations risk wasting precious marketing resources and losing valuable opportunities to interact with customers.

Businesses that can translate omnichannel data into insights can identify the right moments within the customer journey — and then deliver the personalized experiences that will leave a lasting impression. Already, marketing organization leaders are pulling ahead — 82% observe new and changing customer journeys powered by their data insights. For example, when an entertainment brand activated Adobe Real-Time CDP and Adobe Customer Journey Analytics to provide ongoing analysis and personalized customer experiences, the approach led to an engagement lift of three times in email campaigns.

4. Create actionable insights to deliver customer experiences with speed

It’s not enough to translate data into insights. To reach customers with the right experiences at just the right moments, businesses need to discover actionable insights quickly. Right now, this is a data trend where leading marketing organizations are pulling ahead. Of leaders surveyed by Adobe and Econsultancy, 65% rate their speed of getting insights as strong or very strong, and 64% rate their speed of acting on these insights just as highly.

To gain a competitive advantage, businesses need to use AI and machine learning to automatically surface insights and rapidly build customer experiences from omnichannel data. Some businesses are already seeing the benefits. ESRI learned from their AI insights that customers with a propensity score of 90 to 100 convert 3x higher than average scoring customers. Similarly, when NVIDIA used AI-driven insights to reallocate their media spend, they produced a 5x lift in conversions on certain campaigns.

5. Earn trust through data privacy

Data privacy is a delicate landscape to navigate. In response to shifting public opinion and high-profile corporate data scandals, it’s had to evolve constantly. While CIOs need to navigate highly complex data privacy and compliance standards, businesses also must earn their customers’ trust to access their personal data. As customers become more protective, they need to feel confident that the benefits of sharing their personal data outweigh any possible downsides. Businesses need to use data responsibly and effectively, as well as think creatively about how to bring customers experiences that are worth the exchange of their data.

Technology is essential to apply privacy rules across customers, brands, and regions. Adobe enables businesses to meet regulatory requirements and customer expectations across their enterprise through rich privacy and policy controls. These controls not only ensure consumer privacy is respected — they also make businesses more efficient. A consumer packaged goods client using Adobe Real-Time CDP reduced the time spent on fulfilling privacy requests by 50%.

6. Prepare for a cookieless future

The future of customer engagement will be based on consented first-party data. Despite Google’s upcoming deprecation of third-party cookies, only 21% of practitioners consider themselves prepared for the end of the third-party cookie. Businesses that ensure they are equipped to navigate this shift and that can act on first-party data will have a competitive advantage. “Here we have to think long term,” said Andreas Pauschert, senior consultant of analytics at SSI Schäfer Shop. “Cookies will soon be a thing of the past, which is why we are planning to use a big data system.”

Get ahead of this data trend by building a future-proof and flexible foundation for customer data management. Brands need the ability to manage both known and pseudonymous customer data with the right governance in place to ensure marketing is both responsible and effective.

7. Achieve real-time personalization at scale

Personalization at scale is the ideal. Understanding customer behaviors gives marketers the opportunity to interact through experiences, offers, and content curated precisely to however customers chose to engage. Through personalization, businesses are building a trusted relationship that is consistently positioned to understand and react to changing customer needs.

While personalization can create exceptional customer experiences, unlocking it requires the right technology. A unified Adobe technology stack can manage a business’s digital architecture, advanced analytics, centralized content, and digital asset management — all to provide actionable insights on customer behaviors. To reach customers at just the right moments, businesses also need fully integrated and automated cross-channel campaign management tools. This allows for same-page, next-hit personalization that can happen in just milliseconds.

Let data lead the way

Over the course of 2021, businesses that were able to navigate disruption and shift to digital experiences found themselves ahead in terms of financial performance and customer advocacy. Others struggled to incorporate the cultural and operational changes to unlock data and insights. In 2022, accessing real-time data and actionable insights are more important than ever. With the pace of innovation, there’s an opportunity for data analytics to get both smarter and friendlier so businesses can improve their ROI. Make sure your organization builds omnichannel data analytics into the core of its digital strategy to tap into valuable insights and create better digital experiences for customers.