CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 25 February

the Latest marketing technology and ad technology news from Adobe, BrandMaker, Clicktail, Sprout, Vision Critical, AppNexus, Google, Contently, and SugarCRM

Adobe expands mobile capabilities with Experience Manager

Adobe has launched Adobe Experience Manager Mobile, a content development platform designed to help organisations improve how they build and manage enterprise applications. The new offering is an extension of Adobe Experience Manager content development platform, one of several key components within the vendor’s Marketing Cloud.

Adobe Experience Manager Mobile allows developers to extend the functionality of apps by connecting them to business data systems including CRM and ERP. Capabilities include the ability to incorporate new and existing content from other content management or digital asset management systems to create and update new mobile apps, as well as support for iOS, Android and Windows. It also features a unified dashboard to allow management of multiple apps simultaneously.

The new offering is also integrated with Adobe Analytics as well as Adobe Target, the vendor’s personalisation engine. It uses device APIs and plugs-ins to connect to other business systems as well as product information management tools.

“Mobile apps are integral to the enterprise, yet brands struggle with how to build, manage and deliver mobile experiences that consumers have grown accustomed to,” said Adobe Experience Manager Mobile senior director, Nick Bogaty. “Adobe Experience Manager Mobile brings the simplicity, functionality and design that people expect to enterprise apps.”

Thin Film and Leo Burnett partner on activation technology

Leo Burnett’s shopper marketing and activation agency, Arc, has partnered with printed electronics vendor, Thin Film Electronics, on new NFC-enabled technology that will allow brands to serve dynamic content to consumers.

The NFC OpenSense tags are thin, flexible labels that adhere to products and can be activated using an NFC-enabled smartphone. Each is uniquely identifiable and can detect between a product’s factory seal and ‘opened’ state. Once tapped, the tag uses wireless connectivity to communicate with a smartphone, and delivers contextual brand content when a customer is at the shelf or when using the product at home.

The two companies said they will work together to provide the technology to brands, as well as create customer NFC OpenSense solutions for clients globally.

“Technology affords people the opportunity to plan, shop and buy on their own terms anytime and anywhere, resulting in highly sophisticated shoppers and a highly competitive marketplace,” said EVP of innovation and growth at Arc/Leo Burnett, nick Jones.

“Thinfilm’s NFC OpenSense technology is a game changer. It allows brands to connect with shoppers beyond the point-of-sale, delivering multiple messages through a product’s lifetime.”

Clicktale buys mobile apps startup

Mobile apps were also the order of the day for customer experience management vendor, Clicktale’s acquisition this week. The vendor picked up FlightRecorder, a two-year old startup that produces user experience solutions for mobile apps, for an undisclosed sum, saying the technology will serve as a basis for its new Clicktale for Apps offering.

The user experience, engagement and app analytics solutions is aimed at giving business visual insights and recommendations on improving apps in order to better retain users. FlightRecorder was founded by Can Abacigil and Omer Erkmen and operates out of San Francisco and Istanbul, Turkey.

The platform works on both native and hybrid apps, across iOS and Android, with features such as user session replays, crash reports, data insights, mobile analytics and heatmaps.

“More and more of our clients have been asking for a way to understand user behaviour inside their apps,” commented Clicktale founder and CEO, Dr Tal Schwartz. “We were thrilled to acquire FlightRecorder and are excited to make its innovative and market-leading technology available to our broader set of customers.”

Sprout Social raises US$42m for marketing tools

Sprout Social has chalked up US$42 million from Goldman Sachs and New Enterprise Associates in its latest Series C round of funding.

The social media monitoring, publishing and analytics platform, which was founded in 2010, has now raised more than $60m to fund its growth activities. The company said the investment will be used to aggressively expand its products and customer base. As part of the latest round, Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division vice-president, Jason Kreuziger, joins Sprout’s board of directors.

Sprout’s platform is being used by Hyatt, Marvel, Microsoft, Uber and Zipcar, and across more than 3000 agencies, 8000 small businesses and 5500 mid-market and enterprise organisations, the company stated. It’s available as both a desktop platform and mobile application.

Vision Critical spins off research consulting division

Canadian customer intelligence vendor, Vision Critical, is spinning off its research consulting division in order to focus exclusively on development of its SaaS-based platform.

The vendor has struck an agreement with MARU group to take over its North American research Consulting division, which will now operate as a standalone entity but retain its current leadership team. Vision Critical will continue working with Maru under a reseller and strategic partner agreement.

Vision Critical said the deal allows it to focus on driving innovation in its customer intelligence technology, which is aimed at helping brands better listen, learn and distribute customer insight throughout their organisations. The platform is used by Adobe, Dewalt and Univision.

“We are embarking on the logical next step in Vision Critical’s evolution, from our pioneering creation of Insight Communities to defining the future of customer intelligence inside the enterprise,” said Vision Critical CEO, Scott Miller.

“More and more, our customers are pushing to expand the scale of their communities from tens of thousands of people to much larger groups of their customers. Because of this rapid growth in demand, focusing our efforts across three dimensions is imperative: Continuing innovation in our software platform; helping our customers drive engagement and insight through best-in-class community intelligence services; and expanding our partner ecosystem around the world.”

Contently purchases content insights startup

Content marketing platform vendor, Contently, has acquired Docalytics, a US-based technology company that provides sales and marketing teams with insights on how people engage with downloadable content such as PDFs and sales collateral.

Contently is a five-year-old company with a range of enterprise clients including American Express, Google, GE, ING, Walmart and Marriott Hotels. In a blog post announcing the deal, the company said buying Docalytics was as much about acquiring technology as it was about the technical engineering smarts within the organisation.

Contently said the purchase is specifically helping brands and publishers understand how consumers interact with content and gain clearer ROI around content investments. Docalytics’ functionality will be integrated into Contently’s Analytics offering in order to provide better analytics and insights capabilities.

At present, Contently Analytics offers contributor analytics, benchmarks for comparing content across brands, and data-driven recommendations through a unified platform. The acquisition adds the ability to track downloadable and emailed content, along with integration with marketing automation, CRM and email marketing platforms, and flexible lead forms.

“Our brand clients use content to achieve a diverse set of business objectives, ranging from brand awareness to conversions to driving new revenue streams,” the blog post stated. “These goals need to be tracked with metrics beyond engagement time, metrics that measure exactly how leads are generated and converted.

Wipro and SugarCRM partner up globally

SaaS-based CRM vendor, SugarCRM, and Wipro have struck a global strategic partnership that will see the integration company build a new SugarCRM practice into its service offering.

Under the agreement, Wipro will establish a SugarCRM practice with its CRM service line, as well as a centre of excellence featuring trained and certified employees who can support customers worldwide. The integrator has 55 of these centres of excellence around different technology solutions.

“We are delighted to strengthen our CRM portfolio by the addition of this modern CRM solution, which empowers individuals to build extraordinary customer relationships and drive business performance,” said Wipro’s VP and head of business application services, Hiral Candrana.

“Wipro’s global reach and strength in CRM consulting and services will accelerate our customers' ability to transform their customer relationship management strategies,” added SugarCRM’s CTO and co-founder, Clint Oram. “Customers are already choosing SugarCRM and Wipro together – the beginning of a very productive relationship.”

BrandMaker brings marketing resource management to Australia

Marketing resource management (MRM) vendor, BrandMaker, is looking to tap into growing demand for marketing management tools and extending its reach into the Australian market.

The vendor has struck a partnership with nMerge to bring its Marketing Efficiency Cloud solution to local marketers, offering a raft of software-based marketing planning, budget and workflow capabilities. The platform is used globally by more than 300 brands including Bayer, Volvo and Commerzbank.

Read more about the MRM market here

AppNexus launches open video marketplace

Ad tech vendor, AppNexus, has launched its open marketplace for video inventory featuring both proprietary and third-party inventory.

The offering features native video provider inventory, including that from AppNexus, Teads, and StickyADS.tv, in a pool of programmatic outstream units. The vendor said this will allow publishers to auction video inventory with customisation and control across desktop, mobile and native.

“Programmatic video is a growing and critical component of digital advertising,” said Eric Hoffert, SVP of video technology at AppNexus. “With in-stream supply under compression, outstream offers all publishers the ability to monetise through video across multiple screens. While other platforms have erected walled gardens around their video supply, we’ve created an open market driven by choice, competition, and innovation.

“Just as AppNexus emerged as the independent alternative to Google and Facebook in the display market, we intend to make AppNexus the independent leader in programmatic video.”

AppNexus’ outstream video technology for publishers runs on both desktop and mobile Web, and is available using real-time bidding, mediation, deals and direct video ad serving. It comes with three video players: HTML5, Flash, and a specialised inline mobile player supporting autoplay video. The new offering is now available to buyers and in closed testing for publisher clients in the US and Europe, with general availability globally planned in Q2.

Google boost speeds for mobile search

When you do a search about a product you want to buy or look for recommendations for the best Asian dumplings in town, you don’t want to wait long for a site to come up on your mobile device. You don't even want to wait three seconds.

Starting today, Google is moving to make it faster for you. The search giant has announced it will alert users in their search results page to corresponding webpages that have been optimised to run fast on smartphones and tablets.

“Access to information is at the heart of Google's mission,” wrote David Besbris, Google's vice-president of engineering for search, in a blog post. “Unfortunately, today, the mobile web isn't living up to the expectations people have for getting the information they need, particularly when it comes to speed. In fact, data shows that people abandon websites after just three seconds if the content doesn't load quickly.”

To deal with this, Google teamed with other industry players last October to launch what it called the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP), an open source initiative to make the mobile web as fast as possible. The move to highlight users with optimised Web pages is part of that project.

“In just over four months, AMP has come a long way, with hundreds of publishers, scores of technology companies and ad-tech businesses all taking part in this joint mission to improve the mobile web for everyone,” wrote Besbris.

When a mobile user searches for a story or topic on Google, webpages using AMP specifics will appear in the Top Stories part of the results page. According to Google, those optimised webpages will be, on average, four times faster and will use 10 times less data than equivalent non-AMP pages.

  • With additional reporting from Sharon Gaudin.

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