Adobe Analytics vs Customer Journey Analytics

15 Apr 2024 » Analytics Tips

When I wrote my post comparing Adobe Journey Optimizer, Adobe Campaign, and Marketo, I got a lot of attention. I guess there is a lot of interest in comparing Adobe tools to decide which one is best for a particular situation. Today I am going to do a similar comparison, this time between Adobe Analytics (AA) and Customer Journey Analytics (CJA).

The goal of this post is to help understand how AA and CJA differ, which can be useful in choosing between one or the other or transitioning from one to the other (usually, from AA to CJA). It will be just a summary of the most important differences, from my personal point of view. I will barely touch upon the similarities, as they are not that important for the goal.

If you want a more in-depth comparison, where all the features are evaluated, you can refer to the Customer Journey Analytics feature support help page.

Is Adobe sunsetting Adobe Analytics?

Let me get this out of the way before I continue: NO. There are currently no plans to finish the development and support of Adobe Analytics. I cannot find the LinkedIn post with the following statement:

“Adobe Analytics is going to live for a long long long long long time. […] Don’t worry, there are absolutely no plans for Adobe Analytics going anywhere in any time for a very very long time.”

Eric Matisoff, Principal evangelist for analytics and data science at Adobe.

In case you still have doubts, have a look at the AA release notes. As of April 2024, that page is full of new features and fixes.

The only other thing I will say is that I miss Reports & Analytics. For my work as a technical consultant, they were better than Analytics Workspaces. I guess I am getting old and miss the good old days.


As I said earlier, I will just show the most important similarities, without getting into the details.

  • Purpose. The main reason for this post is that they cover a very similar space: they are both analytics and reporting tools for the marketing department. There are many reporting tools in the market, starting with Microsoft Excel, but most of them are for general purposes. Both AA and CJA were designed with the marketer in mind.
  • Look and feel. As silly as it may seem, I think that this is an important similarity: the UI for the reports (the workspaces) in both use the same visual library. As you can imagine, this is not a coincidence, as a similar UI helps with the transition from one tool to the other.
  • Types of reports. The reports that you can generate with both tools are also very similar. This also makes sense, as some clients are transitioning from AA to CJA and they will only do it if they get, at least, the same information as before.
  • Data collection. You can use WebSDK to capture data for both tools. However, CJA can get data from other sources and AA still supports AppMeasurement.
  • Event meta-data. AA has Classifications and CJA has Lookup Datasets, but they are basically the same concept.


These differences are the essence of this post. They will direct a decision to go either with AA or with CJA. This decision may be to purchase an additional license or, if you have both tools, to decide where to generate the report.

Data storage

This is the most obvious difference:

  • CJA is built on top of the Adobe Experience Platform (AEP). Consequently, it uses data from AEP, more specifically, from the Data Lake.
  • AA is a standalone application. It uses its custom-built data storage, generally called report suites.

On its own, this does not mean much. It will become more important as I explain more differences.

Data source

AA started its life in the late 90s as SuperStats (this is the reason why the tracking URL contains a /ss/). If you remember, back then, only page views mattered. It later evolved into Omniture SiteCatalyst, then Adobe SiteCatalyst, to finally settle as Adobe Analytics. This means that AA was originally designed with only one type of data source: web behavior or clickstream. It later also considered mobile apps, but this is as far as it went.

Some of you may think that you can load other types of events into AA, which is true. However, AA will always consider it part of a clickstream and the reports will reflect it.

On the other hand, CJA can handle just any type of XDM Experience Event:

  • Clickstream
  • Online and offline transaction
  • Email interactions
  • Call center calls
  • Audio & video (I know, AA could also handle them, but it required a separate engine)
  • Advertising interactions
  • Et cetera

To me, this is the main distinction between the two tools and the main reason why you may want to stay with AA or start moving to CJA.

Basic metrics

This is a fundamental difference between how AA and CJA process the underlying data, which has a deep impact on the numbers produced by the reports. I cannot stress enough how important these differences are.

I will write a blog post just to clarify these differences. For now, what you need to understand is that if you generate the same report in AA and CJA, even if you think the data is exactly the same, these metrics will be different. For now, I will just put this summary table:

Page Views Hits
Visits Sessions
Visitor Person

Decision guidelines

I will finish this post with my personal guidance. This is by no means a decision tree, it is more like a directional suggestion. There are many other considerations that you will also want to take into account.


Are you planning to get AA or CJA? This table may provide some guidance:

Has AA license Has AEP license Requirements Suggestion Observations
Yes No AA fulfills all requirements Keep AA Only evaluate CJA if AA cannot meet new requirements.
Yes No AA fulfills most requirements Keep AA Evaluate whether a CJA implementation would fulfill all requirements.
Yes No AA fulfills all requirements; CDP required Keep AA Only evaluate CJA if AA cannot meet new requirements coming from the CDP implementation.
Be cognizant that if in the future AEP + CJA is acquired, an additional migration effort may be needed.
No No Web and app traffic reporting; no CDP required Consider AA Get an in-depth comparison between AA and CJA.
AA is likely to be the best option, but CJA features may better match your requirements.
No No Web and app traffic reporting; CDP required Get RTCDP + CJA Focus on a single AEP implementation, spanning RTCDP and CJA.
No No Web and app traffic reporting; ESP required Get AJO + CJA Focus on a single AEP implementation, spanning AJO and CJA.
Yes/No No Reporting on various metrics beyond web and app traffic required Get CJA While it may be possible to implement AA to satisfy all requirements, CJA is likely to be a better fit.
No Yes Migration from another web analytics tool required Get CJA This is probably the clearest case: extend the existing AEP implementation to include CJA


The other goal for this post was to help decide where to generate a report if you already have AA and CJA. Obviously, if you only have one of the two, that is your only option.

This case is much more simple than the previous table:

Requirements Suggestion Observations
Report consumers are familiar with AA AA Only evaluate CJA if AA cannot generate the requested report.
Report must be consistent with old AA reports AA CJA metrics may show significant variance with the same AA report.
Report requires CJA-only features (e.g. people or session metric) CJA Trying to get these metrics in AA will be very difficult, if not impossible.
Report is based on data only available in AEP CJA Only CJA gets access to AEP data lake.


Image by Darwin Laganzon from Pixabay

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