Predictive analytics can be said to be the “holy grail” of the digital analytics community. To not only be able to take past trends to improve the user experience (and increase conversions) on a web site or mobile app, but to be able to predict those trends ahead of time and make the right improvements before ever going live can give you an incredible advantage. Many companies that can afford to, use the skills of statisticians, experts in predictive modeling, and other related fields in order to get ahead of the game. Ultimately, it would be ideal if the software could do all that for us.
For those of you who don’t read my blog regularly, I attend the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit (formerly known as the Omniture Summit) every year. For the past couple of years, predictive analytics has been a fairly hot topic, with always several sessions devoted to it (along with plenty of mentions during the general sessions and occasionally during a few keynotes as well). Adobe has been working hard towards providing more predictive analytics capabilities within their digital marketing suite.
I’m not sure how far the other big players in the digital analytics field (WebTrends, Coremetrics, Google Analytics Premium) have come with providing any predictive capabilities in their software, but Adobe keeps stepping up the game. They recently announced the addition of a predictive marketing workflow to their Adobe Marketing Cloud suite of marketing solutions. This is an exciting step forward, however the downside is that your organization needs to own several different solutions in order to leverage this workflow (specifically the new Adobe Analytics and Adobe Target solutions, each of which are comprised of several different pieces of software).
At this stage in the game, using software for predictive analytics won’t be any cheaper than hiring an expert statistician, but we’re making the steps in the right direction to perhaps one day put all those poor statisticians out of a job (sorry folks!!).