Adobe Summit 2023: 30 Trillion Key Takeaways

Adobe Summit 2023

Adobe Summit 2023, back in Vegas! Summit was back in its home at the Venetian for the first time since 2019 — or at least, mostly back. This year’s conference felt a little light, almost like the entire event was that last day, when you realize most everybody else has left and you’re wishing you caught an earlier flight. That’s probably due to the hybrid format this year, which drew “almost 10,000” attendees according to Adobe, compared to 25,000+ in years past.

Speaking of big numbers, Adobe’s press release before the event boldly stated that “brands now create over 30 trillion audience segments every day with Adobe Real-time CDP.” But when you actually think about that number, it means roughly 4 audiences for every human on earth, every day. Talk about 1:1 personalization! On the flip side, assuming each audience represents just 10,000 people, that means each person on earth is in roughly 37 million audiences per day. I think it’s fair to say that this number, and several of the others shared, are tenuous at best.

But on to what they did announce.

Adobe Summit 2023: 30 Trillion Key Takeaways

Obviously, there was generative AI, with a focus on the content and the integration into Adobe Firefly for AI-generated content and images. This makes a lot of sense given Adobe’s strength in content creation tools and the broad acknowledgement that content creation will be one of the first areas disrupted by generative AI. More broadly, Adobe talked about a new content supply chain offering, that allows for the planning, creation and deployment of content using a better-integrated suite of Adobe tools (Workfront, Creative Cloud, and AEM, respectively).

The other major announcement at Adobe Summit 2023 was their new Product Analytics offering in Adobe Experience Cloud, which extends their analytics offerings into the digital product space. Given the foundation of Adobe’s products being the digital data provided by Adobe Analytics, this builds on that strength and further tries to “own” the data. It’s an interesting move for Adobe, because the product analytics space is well-established by a number of later-stage or post-IPO startups including Amplitude, MixPanel, Heap and Pendo. Adobe talked about product-led growth companies needing to span analytics across product and marketing, which is true — but how many of these companies will look to Adobe for their solutions is an open question, since startups tend to favor technologies from other startups.

Overall, I’d summarize Adobe Summit 2023 like this: Adobe is shifting focus back to its traditional strengths in content and analytics, with less of a focus in their customer data platform (CDP) offering.

This makes sense, as Creative Cloud has long been Adobe’s cash cow (representing $10.46B out of $17.61B total revenue in FY’22) but that growth is slowing (10% YoY growth in FY’22). With the proposed $20B acquisition of Figma, it’s clear that Adobe is willing to invest to maintain its strength in the content space. But with reports that the U.S. and EU regulators are closely scrutinizing the deal on anti-competitive grounds, maybe Adobe is hedging that bet with increased internal investment in Creative Cloud.

In the current economic climate, especially in tech, companies ranging from startups to Facebook and Google are looking for efficiency by focusing on their core products and eschewing the many side bets that emerged in an era of loose money and inflated valuations. Maybe this is Adobe’s version of that. Or maybe after years of forward-looking marketing statements about their CDP, reality is finally catching up with them.

Either way, Adobe Summit 2023 is another Summit in the books. Whether or not these conferences will return to their former glory in an era of hybrid work is an open question, but we’re not there yet. And after 3 days in Vegas being targeted by all of Adobe’s customers, I have roughly 100 million emails to go through.

Justin DeBrabant
Justin DeBrabant
Senior Vice President, Product
Justin spent his formative years building large distributed systems to support data science and analytics. Justin holds a Ph.D. from Brown University where he researched scaling high-throughput in-memory database systems to support larger-than-memory datasets.

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