In physics, the word "amplitude" is defined as the maximum extent of a vibration or oscillation measured from the position of equilibrium.
OK. Unless you're a math nut, that might sound a little heady. But factor out the quantum mechanics and "amplitude" is really just a means of analyzing the range of quality for a process or phenomenon.
In that sense, it's as relatable to measuring points on a wave as it is to tracking digital interactions.
When Adam Greco joined Amplitude as a Product Evangelist in 2020, he saw a wave of displacement across the digital analytics industry – a seismic shift from a marketing to a product mindset, all in pursuit of broader customer analytics. He describes this moment as a new "digital divide" that centers around a much larger question: where exactly should digital analytics live in an organization?
I had a chance to chat with Adam just before Amplitude – a leading analytics and digital optimization platform – announced that it was named a "Strong Performer" in the Q2 Forrester Wave report for Customer Analytics Technologies. The timing was apropos as the company has wind in its sails.
Adam might well be a quantum physicist in the field of digital analytics. For over two decades, he's advised hundreds of organizations on the practice of analytics and authored over 300 blogs and one "definitive" book on Adobe Analytics. He is often a featured speaker at industry events and has served on the board of the Digital Analytics Association.
"I've been through more than anyone on planet." That's how Adam described his 25 years in the Adobe Analytics world – which included the early days of Omniture. As Adobe's undisputed reign over the digital experience space expanded, he consulted around the AEM product and continued to roadmap the critical role of analytics.
What's interesting about Adam is how he grounds a complex narrative with simplicity. In a blog post from late last year, he conjured Ted Lasso as a muse for his analytics journey, adding humorous anecdotes to help shape his story. In that sense, he's as much a physicist as a coach, which made for a great conversation around the convergence of digital analytics – and how Amplitude is helping to drive what's next.
The Evolution of CDP and the Value of Data
Industry veterans always bring the gift of wisdom to technology organizations. Not to "age" Adam, but his two decades of work across the analytics landscape has provided him with unrivaled knowledge. To that end, he has some strong views on the role of customer data – and how organizations have had a traditionally siloed approach to managing and analyzing it.
"We're really bringing disparate technologies together," he said. "CDP, analytics, personalization – all converging to build better customer experiences. As we moved from web to mobile to marketing, CDP, in particular, has been 'ungirding' all of this."
As Adam pointed out, many customers are using CDP just to collect data and then send it to analytics platforms. Part of his goal is to help move more organizations directly into Amplitude so they're not paying twice for their data – what he affectionately calls the "CDP Tax."
"CDPs should be more insights and analytics-driven, capable of looking at problems in experiences," Adam said. "Every vendor will need a CDP of some kind because they want to collect data from every touchpoint: mobile apps, OTT, web, etc. Pulling it all together and creating action is key."
What's clear to Adam is the critical role of analytics in the advancing data morass. He predicts that in five years, CDP will be unified with analytics and personalization, providing more of the actionable insight that organizations demand.
Expanding the Role of Customer Analytics
While still relatively fresh to his role at Amplitude, Adam's history and perspective have been key to shaping what's next for the field of analytics. He noted that companies are more interested than ever in using data to improve digital product experiences and understand customer behavior – and that product analytics, as a category, have been enabling product teams to be nimbler and more responsive.
According to Adam, Amplitude has had a head start in the analytics game because of its customer focus. He says that one of the biggest complaints is that organizations are having to use five or six different vendors to get what they need – from using Google Analytics on their website, Amplitude for the mobile apps, and Optimizely for testing.
"That's a lot of tech," he said. "How do you build an audience with so much data going back and forth?"
Analytics in the Age of the App
Another factor that's weighing on Adam is the complexity of digital experiences and how apps are becoming the norm. The example he gave to me was of dropping your child off at college and realizing that they need three different apps to navigate schedules, calendars, transportation, and more. No websites – just apps. This shift can be generally positive for the user experience, but it's also creating challenges for tracking data.
"Google Analytics just isn't cutting it anymore," Adam said. "We're beyond websites. And websites aren't static anymore." He sees how even smart TVs, IoT, and other endpoints are displacing websites and how the younger generation seems to prefer apps over websites. He believes this trend may challenge legacy marketing products that track sessions and attribution. This includes the dependency on legacy vanity metrics like total users, downloads, and website visits – which are no longer enough to provide insights into the complete customer journey.
Conflating all of this is the expectation that technologies will "just work." Companies are demanding advanced, out-of-the-box customer analytics and democratized access to data insights. As digital analytics markets converge, Amplitude is delivering a real-time, all-in-one analytics solution that equips companies with critical customer insights around all experience layers, including apps.
Privacy and Legislation
One big thing Adam emphasized was the "earthquake" of change in customer data privacy. While GDPR and CCPA have been codified, he said the legislation landscape is rapidly evolving, and business policies are shifting in lockstep. Case in point: Google, which continues to throw wrenches in the works.
"With Universal Analytics sunsetting and being replaced by Google Analytics 4, [Google] realized they were in the wrong field," he said. "Companies are upset." This is creating an opportunity for Amplitude as the market winds shift and organizations look to address new policies and requirements as it relates to their analytics data.
The Shift from Marketing Teams to Product Teams
Part of what's driving Amplitude's strategy is the notable shift of marketing professionals to the product side of organizations. As CMOs come to grips with expanding endpoints of user interactions, Adam said that marketing leaders are realizing they need more emphasis on product analytics than ever before. With Amplitude, these professionals are now getting a suite of marketing analytics and data management tools in one place, reflecting the convergence around measuring and delivering customer value at scale.
As product teams become nimbler, arming them with more insight is essential. Amplitude's efforts to close the "data-to-insights-to-action" loop has been a core attribute, enabling users to test with continuous experience optimization. Amplitude's Digital Optimization System is what enables these capabilities, providing both technical and non-technical product teams to tap behavioral insights to improve CX with greater speed and efficacy.
A Thriving Community of Analytics Fans
Community is essential to the success of any company, particularly in technology. When a user event or conference materializes, it's a throat-clearing signal that a brand has achieved visibility and loyalty within its markets of interest. To that end, I asked Adam about the recent Amplify Conference that was held in Las Vegas this past May.
"We were all a little nervous given the pandemic," he said. "We had about 1,500 people in person and many more online, but I could see that people were just excited to be with other people again."
Adam said that Amplify is a little different from other conferences in that it leans on expertise from across the analytics field. Even if attendees don't use Amplitude, he feels that the real value is creating access to analytics leaders and providing more relevant, "snackable" content through a wide range of sessions.
Outside the conference, Adam said that the Amplitude community has always been connected through their love for the platform. "We're the coolest company for product people that no has heard of before. People who use us are passionate [about our platform]. We've even launched programs like Amplitude Academy that don't just focus on products, but highlight how our users are successful."
Adam's channeling of Ted Lasso seems apropos, as he's very adept at his "coaching role" as an evangelist. He's excited about the direction of the company and his continued efforts to learn, reflect, and share his knowledge as an analytics expert – and a fierce customer advocate.
"I'm listening to a lot of sales calls and meeting with customers, trying to find common problems," he said. That sounds a lot like Coach Lasso: a leader that's truly empathizing with his players and working to understand the root problems.
As for Amplitude, the company appears on a roll as it drives the shift to even broader customer analytics. According to the aforementioned Forrester Wave, "Amplitude was born a digital product analytics vendor, but in a world where digital interactions make up the lion's share of customer interactions, the vendor has embraced the pivot into customer analytics."
As Ted Lasso once said, "you could fill two internets with what I don't know about football." The same might be said for many marketers and digital leaders as they face the growing complexity of customer data. But with Adam evangelizing Amplitude's innovation, they might have the right team to help businesses win the analytics game.