How Adobe’s Digital Economy Project Benefits Government

This blog post is an excerpt from GovLoop’s industry perspective “How Government Can Thrive in the Digital Economy.” Download the full report here

Findings about inflation or deflation and online vs. offline purchasing behaviors are guideposts that private firms regularly use to determine their strategies.

Although this information can provide useful indicators about current economic trends, they may not be statistics that government employees rely on to do their jobs. But that hasn’t stopped government workers from seeing value in Adobe’s Digital Economy Project and how they can tailor it to meet their needs. As part of this initiative, Adobe uses data, updated daily, that it aggregates and analyzes about consumers’ online spending. As online spending becomes an increasingly large driver of the economy, these transactions become a more reliable source to spot pricing trends, inflation, consumer behavior and more.

“What we can provide is context,” said Adobe Digital Insights Director Taylor Schreiner. For example, Adobe’s analytics capabilities provide a more holistic view of citizens’ digital experiences across multiple websites, compared with the view that a single government agency may be able to capture about the way citizens interact with its websites.

A growing number of agencies are tracking citizen engagement, and building trust in government services using citizen-facing apps and other digital applications that make it easier for people to complete tasks. But what happens when government data lacks the context of larger national trends on citizen digital engagement?

For instance, an agency’s data may show that most users access .gov websites using desktop computers rather than mobile devices and that they’re spending more time on those websites than in previous months. The agency may conclude from this data that citizens prefer using desktop computers and are highly engaged with the content. But without proper context, the agency could be making assumptions based on incomplete information.

According to national trends collected by Adobe Analytics Cloud, since 2014 there has been a surge in website visits on smartphones, and this has come largely at the expense of visits on desktops or tablet devices. If mobile adoption continues at the current rate, desktops will eventually become a secondary option for people who are having problems with the mobile experience, Schreiner said.

Citizens are becoming more technologically savvy and demanding faster access to information. So if they are using a desktop to get to your website, and spending more time navigating the site, it is worth investigating if they are being forced to use a desktop because the mobile experience is subpar. It is also worth exploring whether visitors to your site are actually able to find or do what they need.

“People spend a lot of time on sites that are badly designed, but on well-designed sites they spend 15 [percent] to 20 percent less time getting done what they need to do,” Schreiner said. They can easily figure out what they want to do and do it faster.

This is the type of context that Adobe can provide agencies through analytics, because it is able to look across multiple data sources to tell a complete story about what is happening and why. Agencies such as the Federal Reserve and the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics have shown interest in the work Adobe is doing to measure and track the digital economy.

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