CMO's top 10 martech stories this week: 17 December

Marketing and ad tech news from Salesforce, MediaMath, Azalead, True Influence, Experian, Extole, SocialRank, Infer, InsightSquared and RhythmOne

Salesforce buys data science startup

Salesforce has acquired four-person data analytics startup, MinHash. Founded just last year, the startup has been applying data science to making sense of audience trends. News of the acquisition was uncovered Monday, but terms were not disclosed.

“At Salesforce, we will continue to pursue our passion for search, data science and machine learning on a much broader scale, as part of the world’s #1 CRM company,” read the announcement MinHash site.

The MinHash platform will be discontinued on 21 January 2016. Salesforce confirmed only that the MinHash team is joining its own, but it didn't respond to a request for further details.

MinHash describes its flagship AILA product as "your personal, AI-driven marketing media maven”. In essence, it aims to relieve marketers of the burden of scanning thousands of media posts, tracking trending keywords and social signals, managing workflows and coordinating campaigns.

Instead, MinHash's technology taps artificial intelligence to uncover emerging trends across media sources and then help marketers respond quickly via campaigns that integrate text, images, hashtags and URLs.

To do this, it uses algorithms to ingest media and apply phrase detection to extract trending messaging. Crawlers, meanwhile, find images and messaging to compose into creative material that resonates with a particular message and audience. The results can then be imported into a favourite marketing tool, MinHash says.

You can read more details about the deal here.

B2B data-as-a-service platform identifies prospects before they’re prospects

Lead generation provider, True Influence, has launched a self-service, data-driven offering for B2B marketers aimed at lifting their ability to find and target prospects.

According to the vendor, the new InsightBase gathers more than 3 billion intent and behavioural signals per month from third-party B2B website visits, which marketers can use to pinpoint prospective customers before they have officially put up their hands around purchasing intent.

To do this, the vendor said it monitors online activity by individuals visiting business websites from their corporate domains, capturing the Web pages visited and content viewed and providing email addresses and other targeted information on individuals. It also compares the level activity by target companies over time to identify surges in interest using select keywords.

The service can then be used for target account-based display advertising, trigger-based and targeted email campaigns, and integrated with existing CRM or marketing automation systems such as Oracle Eloqua, Marketo and Salesforce.

True Influence CEO, Brian Giese, claimed marketers using the service have seen an average improvement in campaign conversion results of 400 per cent.

Founded in 2008 and based in Virginia US, the vendor’s customer base includes blue chip brands such as IBM, Microsoft and Cisco.

Azalead secures funding for launch

In a similar vein – technologically at least - Azalead, an international leader in B2B account-based marketing software, has secured a €4.5 million (AUD$6.8m) round of funding led by Idinvest Partners, along with historic investor Aurinvest, to launch its Account Based Marketing (ABM) platform that now serves display ads to specific target accounts.

The new B2B marketing software is built around Azalead’s patent pending Company ID technology, which uses cookies and machine learning to detect the names of companies visiting a website even if they visit from unregistered IP addresses. The Azalead platform draws data from the client’s website and a database of over 180 million international companies. The Azalead platform also integrates with the client’s existing CRM and marketing automation systems.

“In 2015, over 70 B2B marketers worldwide turned to our Account Based Marketing (ABM) solutions to transform the way they market to their target accounts,” said Azalead CEO, Nick Heys. “This new round of funding led by Idinvest will help us accelerate our growth and product roadmap”.

MediaMath partners on Skimlinks Audiences

Ad and media management vendor, MediaMath, has partnered with Skimlinks on its content monetisation platform, opening up a new consumer data stream to its brand and agency clients.

MediaMath claims to be the first demand-side platform (DSP) to directly integrate Audiences by Skimlinks into its TerminalOne Marketing Operating System, so users can access the latter’s audience targeting service through the platform. The vendor said the partnership will give users faster access to fresh consumer audience segments based on online behaviours and gives MediaMath first-look access to more than 500 brand-level intent segments.

Audiences by Skimlinks is built off anonymous browsing, clicking and conversion data from 1.3 billion users engaging with content across its publisher network each month.

Neustar completes US$450m MarketShare acquisition

Neustar has completed its US$450 million acquisition of marketing performance and attribution software vendor, MarketShare. As part of the deal, MarketShare’s founders, Jon Vein and Wes Nichols, have joined Neustar’s leadership team.

Neustar has set its sights firmly on the CMO space, and said the purchase is about expanding its marketing services business.

MarketShare’s customer base includes MasterCard, Turner Broadcasting System, Intel, USAA, CarMax and Twitter. The company grew its revenues by 38 per cent from 2011 to 2014 and generated $57m in revenue for the 12 months ended 30 September 2015.

“By combining MarketShare’s analytics software with our authoritative identity framework, we are now positioned to help clients build comprehensive marketing plans to reach customers efficiently and attribute sales to the appropriate marketing spend, both online and offline,” Neustar’s president and CEO, Lisa Hook, said.

Using the combined solution, CMOs can allocate and manage resources across all sales channels – stores, online, call centres, and sales teams, as well as media platforms including in-store. The platform also acts as a decision-making engine on operational factors as staffing, pricing, supply chain and distribution.

Experian consumer insights divisions get acquired

Private equity firm, Symphony Technology Group, has acquired Experian’s consumer insights businesses, Simmons and Hitwise, for US$47 million.

Under the deal, Simmons will operate as a standalone business within Simmons Research and the Symphony Technology Group portfolio from next year. The business is best known for its National Consumer Study in the US, which investigates consumer preferences, attitudes and media behaviours through surveys and data collection.

“With the tremendous changes affecting the digital and media landscape, we believe high quality, foundational and extensible data like Simmons are critical to understand the dynamic multi-dimensional consumer,” said STG managing director, JT Treadwell.

“We intend to work with the excellent team at Simmons to extend their capabilities, enriching depth, frequency, digital extensibility – and enabling actionability across devices. And as the media consumption fragments across channels, we believe there will be very compelling intersections between the depth of Simmons measurement and the real-time video measurement that we are building with Symphony Advanced Media.”

STG’s Connexity company has also acquired audience-based insights business, Hitwise, which undertakes large-scale online clickstream data collection and consumer behavioural analytics. The Hitwise business will now operate as a division within Connexity.

The deals encompass the recently launched and joint Simmons and Hitwise audience segmentation and behavioural analytics platform, AudienceView. The total acquisition is estimated at $47 million but could cost up to $5 million more based on earnout figures.

Extole partners up with marketing tech players

Referral marketing platform player, Extole, has taken the wrappers off an official partner program and revealed 10 marketing technology vendors have joined its ranks: Adobe, Branch Metrics, Bounce Exchange, Demandware, Ensighten, Marketo, Optimizely, Tealium, Vibes, and Yozio.

The vendor said the integration of its cross-channel referral marketing functionality with a host of marketing technology stacks will ensure referrals are tracked right through the customer lifecycle. Its target markets include organisation in retail, consumer and financial services.

“With today’s partner program launch, we’re putting a stake in the ground that referral marketing must be an integrated part of the entire marketing stack, and we’re making it as easy as possible,” said Extole’s CEO, Matt Roche.

“We know that referred customers are fundamentally better customers. And they’re three times as likely to refer in another new customer, making them an extremely powerful acquisition engine. By reducing the friction of running a sophisticated referral marketing program with today’s partner program launch, we’re excited to see more brands take advantage of the revenue-generating, brand-enhancing opportunity represented by everyday advocacy.”

SocialRank aims for team spirit

SocialRank, a platform for managing social media audiences, has announced a new version of its technology for team collaborations as well as unwrapped its Market Intelligence tool.

SocialRank for Teams allows users to set up email address logins for all team members, set permissions for individual members, and do this from a dedicated domain. The vendor aims to help brands and agencies better understand, segment and interact with the audiences supporting them through social media channels.

The team offering will also tap into the vendor’s new Market Intel tool, which allows users to run any public Twitter or Instagram through the SocialRank platform. Several new filters are also coming out of beta, including ‘Compare to another account filter’ as well Word/hashtag and gender filters.

“This launch is a pivotal moment for SocialRank. We are putting down the foundation layer for what is to come,” the company said in its blogpost. “We are evolving from a social media analytics product to a collaborative audience management platform and CRM. We have new filters and sorting options coming out soon. After that the next steps are to add CRM capabilities and actionable items inside of SocialRank. This means letting you add notes, create lists, track campaign performance, and have scalable private communication.”

Predictive tech vendors partner up for B2B

Predictive technology vendor, Infer, and sales analytics player, InsightSquared, have partnered up to combine their customer conversion predictions and sales reporting tools into new dashboards for B2B marketers.

Marketers can use these reports to determine the impact of demand generation programs on growth, while sales teams can use them to better align effort to impact through continuous lead management. New capabilities include activity scorecards, lead ageing and lead funnel visualisations, and lead yield results.

“By using Infer’s signals within InsightSquared, executives can take their dashboards to the next level and keep a pulse on things like whether reps are spending their time on the leads with the highest close potential,” said Vik Singh, co-founder and CEO of Infer.

“A cornerstone of our strategy is to infuse predictive intelligence into best-of-breed tools so they can unlock even more value for marketers, and today’s partnership is a great addition to the many specialized applications in Infer’s ecosystem.”

RhythmOne and TapInfluence extend partnership

Ad tech vendor, RhythmOne, and influencer marketing platform provider, TapInfluence, are extending their integration partnership.

Under an expansion of their five-year relationship, RhythmOne will now start using TapInfluence’s TapFire engine to lift its capability to distribute influencer or brand-created content across social channels via social posts. Up until now, RhythmOne has been using TapFusion, a SaaS platform, to automate workflow processes and identify influencers for a brand’s program and influencer content, as well as to measure earned media value and the impact of influencers on a brand’s owned media assets.

“The speed and ease with which TapInfluence’s platform enables us to build, manage, and measure influencer marketing campaigns allows us to devote more time to our clients and create innovative influencer marketing solutions for them,” said Katie Paulsen, VP of Influencer Marketing, RhythmOne.

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