Q+A: Omniture CEO Josh James After Adobe
Adobe announced intentions to acquire Omniture for $1.8 billion last week. On Monday, the company began rolling out a new set of services allowing advertisers and publishers to distribute Flash-based applications across social networks, mobile devices and the desktop. The online suite of services offers tools to help promote, monetize and track campaigns.
Online Media Daily spoke with Omniture CEO Josh James about the impact of the acquisition on the analytics firm, as well as advertising and marketing companies.
Online Media Daily: How will Adobe's $1.8 billion acquisition of Omniture change the advertising industry?
James: Today, you have many manual ways to track online advertisements, but Adobe products could automate the process. It's one thing that continues to challenge marketers that we can now make easier. You have Flash ads and Flash applications on Web sites. Go to Nike.com and you will see that pretty much everything is designed and built in Flash. Mobile applications have built-in Flash. People use Dreamweaver to make Web sites. Nearly every company uses Photoshop.
Integrating Omniture technology into Adobe applications means you can drop tags into projects created in applications, such as Flash, Dreamweaver and Photoshop. Today, customers call us to walk them through setting up and tagging pages. We hope they tag all the pages on the Web site, but that's one of the challenges. We hope in the future you can just push a button and know the tags are already there. Perhaps you might have a feature in Adobe's products to automatically create the tags as you build the Web site or the advertisements.
OMD: Is this a way to increase commitments from advertisers and agencies?
James: The combination of Adobe and Omniture accelerates those relationships. We were a company focused on independence. In many cases we have developed those relationships from the bottom up, but every CMO knows Adobe and its products. Conversations we have been having in the past few days have accelerated, and people are taking more interest.
OMD: Some analysts believe this acquisition will give Adobe an increased role in measuring online advertising. How do you see that playing out?
James: Dreamweaver and Flash are interesting to our customers. Most customers use Flash in advertising. We spend a lot of time helping customers try and figure out how to track and measure. This will take 'how' off the table, so they can concentrate on other things. It will give them a way to track the Flash ad.
OMD: How long before all Adobe's products integrate Omniture's ability to monitor, track and analyze online advertising?
James: They are working on some new launches for products right out of the gate, and Omniture will become part of that integration. That's a major goal. It's part of what drove the timing of the acquisition -- being able to complete the integration for the launch of their next products. Adobe wanted the deal to have an impact on the new product launches. It's important to Adobe for the acquisition to have an impact on the advertising industry sooner than later.
OMD: What are some of the goals, benefits and hurdles for Omniture from this acquisition?
James: One of the goals for Omniture has been to reach $1 billion in revenue as fast as we can. Combining Omniture with Adobe give us a bigger brand and access to markets we would have had to wait to enter or expand in. It gives us access to overseas markets in Western Europe and Asia where Adobe gets 60% of their revenue and we get 28%.
The acquisition also gives Omniture access to government markets where Adobe has a large business and Omniture practically none at all. There there's education and mobile. So, the deal accelerates our product road map in geographic regions and markets.
Typically, in these situations, you start with between five or six really good ideas. Then during the first few months you get all the engineers and the product development people together and get double the number of ideas.
Hurdles are what exists today. We're removing those hurdles.
OMD: What is your view on the best way for advertisers to measure online advertising traffic and sales?
James: Not only is it important for advertisers to understand the clicks, but the type of commerce it turned into. How many customers were acquired from the advertisement and what did the customers do? When you have analytics plugged into your system you can see the effectiveness overtime. This lets you optimize toward not what generates clicks, but what generates customers. Companies measured clicks because it was easy.
OMD: Now that the negotiations are done, what keeps you up at night?
James: You always want to make sure in a transaction like this that you take care of your people. Fortunately, Adobe recognizes that the most important intellectual property you have in the company walks out of the door every day. So, it's imperative they feel loved and understand their role. Adobe's focus for this transaction is to grow the business. They want to increase revenue. Like with every transaction, there's a bit of overlap, but the majority of the people will stay and we'll hire more.