CMO’s top 10 martech stories this week

The latest marketing and ad technology news from Unruly, SendGrid, Bluecore, Performance Horizon, OpenText, OtherLevels, Navilytics, Forrester, Chime Insight, Zoomph, Microsoft and Autodesk

Custom audiences from Unruly and MediaCom

Video ad tech company, Unruly, has partnered with MediaCom to launch Custom Audiences, a new targeting capability designed to help Australian advertisers better tackle relevant consumer segments.

The capability allows advertisers to target ads to Australian consumers most likely to experience a strong emotional connection to a specific piece of video content. Custom Audiences is accessible via Unruly’s programmatic video distribution platform and relies on its predictive algorithm, Unruly ShareRank, which launched earlier this year. The algorithm uses 2 trillion tracked views and 395,000 consumer data points globally.

The first MediaCom-driven campaign employing the new capabilities is Westpac’s promotion for the third season of documentary TV show, Air Rescue, airing on Channel 7. The campaign features the crew of the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter Service and launched on 2 December.

According to Unruly’s ShareRank data from 2013 to 2015, 70 per cent of viewers who experienced an intense emotional response to an ad were very likely to buy the product, more than double those experiencing a moderate emotional response.

SendGrid ramps up marketing campaigns

US-based email delivery vendor, SendGrid, has rolled out marketing email features to go with its core platform. SendGrid Marketing Campaigns allows marketers to create, send and track campaigns and includes a Web interface for campaign creation workflow, subscriber and contact list management, campaign analytics, and A/B subject line and content testing.

While the vendors said the new marketing email services has been built for developers, it claims to feature easy to implement APIs, pitching SendGrid squarely against the likes of MailChimp and Campaign Monitor for marketing campaign management.

“Both transactional and marketing emails are critical to a successful customer engagement strategy that nurtures one-to-one relationships with key audiences,” said SendGrid’s CEO, Sameer Dholakia. “With Marketing Campaigns, our platform now provides an affordable pathway to optimise and mature email engagement, enabling businesses to scale and evolve their strategy from a one to many conversation to a more targeted, personal relationship with their customers.”

Bluecore secures US$21m in funding

Email marketing platform for ecommerce brands, Bluecore, has raised US$21 million in a Series B round of funding to further invest in its infrastructure and product roadmap.

The three-year old company, which rebranded from TriggerMail to Bluecore in January, raised $6m a year ago and has since signed on 180 ecommerce brands to its platform including Staples, Express and Cabelas. It has also been adding about $1 million in annual recurring revenue every 45 days, according to figures posted on VentureBeat.

The platform is built on allowing marketers to use behavioural data, such as product page views, search term use and cart abandonment, to personalise customer engagements. In September, the company launched a feature called Live Segments, allowing marketers to segment users for email campaigns via pull-down menus based on website behaviours as well as might interest them in a product catalogue.

“This leads us to the real opportunity in front of us,” Bluecore said in a blog post. “To put this financing to use for the benefit of our current and future partners by investing in the infrastructure and product road map that will become the cornerstone of future marketing stacks.”

Performance Horizon goes deep into mobile

Digital partner marketing platform, Performance Horizon, has launched Mobile Measurement Kit and Smart Redirects. According to the vendor, the new mobile functionality will enable advertisers to optimise mobile campaigns, reward digital marketing partners based on app installs and in-app purchases, as well as learn from actionable insights regardless of how and where customers converted.

Key capabilities include tracking mobile events such as app downloads, sign-ups, in-app purchases, bonuses and upgrades, plus customising the user experience with mobile deep linking to specific content. Users will also be able to identify trends and modify partner activities in real time.

“Mobile ecommerce traffic and conversions continue to rise year over year and drive significant revenue gains for brands today,” said Performance Horizon’s head of product, Marco Botticelli. “We added adaptive technology for mobile app measurement to help advertisers address this reality and improve margins by seamlessly expanding their digital partner marketing programs to the world of mobile apps while taking advantage of the most advanced standard in mobile measurement.”

Wingify sets sights on full-feature optimisation platform with Navilytics buy

Testing software vendor, Wingify, has acquired Navilytics, a website visitor analytics solution used by the likes of Atlassian, Aerospike and SingleCare.

Wingify said the deal, combined with its recent launch of On-page Surveys, bolsters efforts to launch the first full-featured conversion optimisation platform in 2016. Specifically, Navilytics provides capabilities such as upgraded heatmaps, clickmaps, scrollmaps, visitor session recordings and form analysis. Insights generated via the platform can then be used to trigger a survey based on a consumer’s behaviour or action.

“As most marketers and CRO [conversion rate optimisation] practitioners know, A/B testing is a small but important activity when it comes to optimising conversions and revenue,” Wingify said in a blog post announcing the acquisition.

“Our vision is to be able to integrate all the tools needed for CRO – heatmaps, visitor recordings, usability analysis, expert feedback, surveys, A/B testing, personalisation – into one solid platform and provide a thoughtful process on top of it that even beginners can use without getting overwhelmed.”

OtherLevels aims for intelligent messaging

Digital messaging platform, OtherLevels, has taken the wrappers off its new Intelligent Messaging functionality. Intelligent Messaging taps into machine learning and big data to help build a profile of each customer, as well as to determine which channel and message is best for presenting content to that end consumer including email, SMS, push notifications, rich inbox, interstitials, browser and in-app.

The vendor said it has also added retargeting to its platform in a bid to further increase campaign reach, if the primary channel did not achieve the target goal.The ambition is to help brands can maximise the likelihood that their content is viewed and interacted with by the audience, increasing engagement, retention and revenue.

“The future of messaging is being able to interact withyour audience, mixing traditional and new message types, with many triggered in the moment - not the legacy first generation approach of ‘segment and send’,” said CEO of OtherLevels, Ramsey Masri.

Riding the Forrester wave for video demand-side platforms

TubeMogul, Videology and The Trade Desk have all been named by Forrester as leading providers in the video advertising demand-side platform (DSP) category in the research firm’s latest report.

The Forrester Wave: Video Advertising Demand-Side Platforms, Q4 2015 report is based on product evaluations across nine vendor companies, as well as client references. It found TubeMogul, Videology and The Trade Desk as the leaders in the field, pointing out all built their technologies in anticipation of TV programming and advertising becoming more digital in nature.

In contrast, vendors such as BrightRoll and Tremor Video have evolved from being video ad networks but lack linear TV inventory. As a result, these players need to bolster their DSP functionality, Forrester stated. Vendors from the display advertising side meanwhile, including DataXu and Turn, have added video inventory but lack capabilities that support core branding objectives for video, the report found.

Other vendors highlighted by Forrester were Viant, which built its Advertising Cloud through a series of acquisitions, and Google’s DoubleClick Bid Manager, which is relatively new to the video space but was still listed as a non-participating vendor by Forrester.

OpenText buys information governance vendor

Canadian enterprise information management vendor, OpenText, has acquired Daegis Inc, a global software and services company providing information archiving, governance, application development and migration solutions. The deal was made through OpenText’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Company D Merger Sub.

OpenText said Daegis is will bring a broad range of information governance expertise and technology into its offering that enable customers to mitigate the risks and costs associated with information sprawl and permanent retention of information.

OpenText CEO, Mark J. Barrenechea, said the vendor will support all Daegis customers and partners in archiving, hosted e-discovery managed services, migration and mobile development tools.

Chiming in on market research

International market research agency, Chime Insight & Engagement Group, has brought its PowerProbe and PowerCode applications to Australia. The research programs aim to transform real-time qualitative feedback into fast, actionable insights for clients, and are based on Confirmit Horizon’s SaaS-based and multi-channel voice of the customer solutions.

Chime Insight’s CEO, Crispin Beale, said expanding into Australia was prompted by high client demand for global research and the growing importance of the Australian and Asia-Pacific markets.

“PowerProbe and PowerCode have changed the way consumer insights are gathered and reported by merging traditional methods with sophisticated new technologies such as geo-location, eye and path tracking,” he claimed. “These programmes enable us to conduct tailored, sophisticated interviews which deliver high quality, actionable insights in real-time.

“Confirmit Horizons provides the multi-channel capabilities we need to maintain this high level of respondent engagement.”

Zoomph gets into the Emoji act

Social streaming analytics vendor, Zoomph, has announced a new Emoji tracking feature to tap into the growing use of these icons in digital content. The new tool allows marketers to access reports on those emojis preferred by different demographics, such as men, women and millennials, as well as to track emojis gaining popularity on different social channels. The capability is available through the Zoomph dashboard.

In a blog post announcing the new tool, Zoomph pointed out several brands, including Chevrolet, Coca-Cola, Taco Bell and Domino’s have all started tapping into emojis as part of the digital marketing efforts. An emoji is a small picture icon used to express and idea or emotion in digital communications.

And an extra tech story from left field: Microsoft and Autodesk partner on augmented reality

Autodesk and Microsoft have teamed up to connect Autodesk’s Fusion 360 software for designing, testing and manufacturing physical objects with Microsoft’s HoloLens headset and augmented reality offering.

While details about the final product are scarce at this stage, the two companies have spent time working together over the past year on bringing 3D models from a screen to the real world by displaying them to users wearing the HoloLens. The collaboration could make it possible for designers working in Fusion to work together on digital models in the physical world, if everyone involved is wearing one of Microsoft’s augmented reality headsets.

The HoloLens likely won't replace physical prototyping entirely, though: The device’s field of view is fairly limited at this point, which means that it could be hard for designers to get a full feeling of what an some objects would look like, especially if they're particularly large.

Microsoft has said it will begin making HoloLens headsets available to handpicked developers during the first quarter of 2016.

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