Adobe’s Photoshop for the web attracts customers as they Google

Adobe brings Photoshop to the web for much of the same reason content creators do search engine optimization – the need to capture customers from the moment they Google how to do something.

Why is this important: Content creators have long tailored their products for search engines. Now software makers are getting in on the act.

Driving the news:

  • Adobe is testing Photoshop for the web in Canada. Current paying customers outside of Canada can also try out the browser-based photo editing app.
  • The company already has Acrobat for the web, which is used by 50 million people per month, double the rate a year ago.

“We’re able to capture users at the point of intent,” Adobe executive David Wadhwani told Axios in an interview earlier this month.

Be smart: Adobe has moved from selling software licenses to a largely subscription-based model. Mobile and web apps, as “freemium” products, are the top of their sales funnel – the point at which potential customers enter their world and can be targeted with pitches and offers.

Another product, Adobe Express, brings together features from products like Premiere, Acrobat, and Photoshop into a project format designed to appeal to a wider audience.

  • It already has millions of active users, Wadhwani said, “We’re aggressively taking core functionality from our desktop applications and integrating it directly into Adobe Express.”
  • Adobe’s mobile scanning product, Adobe Scan, has 100 million registered users.

The big picture: After shifting its primary audience of design professionals to the subscription business, Adobe says new customers are helping to fuel its recent growth.

  • The upshot, Wadhwani said, is that Adobe added 1,500 employees last quarter and plans to continue hiring even as other tech companies have begun to downsize.

And after: Adobe is also trying to invest in more distant opportunities, including the metaverse. For now, he is focusing on how to help companies digitize their products in a way that benefits sales through online trial runs and virtual photo shoots for advertisements.

  • “We want to go where the opportunity is today,” Wadhwani said.

Between the lines: In the past, the company has opted for a more experimental approach, trying many different ideas. The company has rolled out a number of mobile products over the years, many of which have been discontinued after failing to gain traction.

  • More recently, Adobe has focused on making its core products available on new devices. In addition to the new web app, Photoshop and Lightroom are available on iPad.