CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 16 June

All the latest martech and adtech news from Microsoft, Criteo, Impact Radius, Confirmit, Media iQ, Service Objects, Pinterest, Sprinklr, Emarsys and IOT Group.

Understanding Microsoft’s US$26.2bn acquisition of LinkedIn

Microsoft surprised a lot of industry insiders this week when it announced it will spend nearly US$26.2 billion in cash to purchase enterprise-focused social networking and recruiting company, LinkedIn.

The acquisition, which is the largest in Microsoft's history and one of the biggest tech acquisitions ever, will combine the world's largest enterprise-focused social network with one of the biggest enterprise software companies. It's more than just a social play, though. In addition to LinkedIn's core professional networking product, Microsoft also gains access to products including presentation- sharing software SlideShare and professional training service Lynda.com.

Since the deal, the whole industry has been speculating on the reasons for the acquisition, not least because of the individual data LinkedIn has on its 433 million users.

You can read IDG’s analysis into the reasons for the acquisition here.

Criteo files lawsuit against Steelhouse alleging fraud

Ad retargeting vendor, Criteo, has filed a US lawsuit against rival technology vendor, SteelHouse, alleging fraud, misleading advertising and anti-competitive behaviour for what it claims is a “counterfeit click fraud scheme”.

In a filing dated 13 June to the California District Court, Criteo alleged SteelHouse had launched a fraudular click scheme to steal credit for online sales attributable to its competitors and partners including Criteo, and had wrongfully taken credit for direct traffic attribution. The vendor explained this as consumers reaching the ecommerce provider’s website by typing the etailer’s direct Web address into their Web browsers, not by clicking on an online advertisement placed by SteelHouse. Criteo also claims SteelHouse continues to artificially suppress the conversion rates of its own services and the return on ad spend for its ecommerce clients.

Criteo alleges the practice, which has disadvantaged partners and competitors and which SteelHouse has used to inflate its performance, has been running since at least May 2015. Both companies operate on a pay-per-click model.

According to the filing, Criteo made SteelHouse aware of its concerns, and subsequently created code that made the fraud more difficult to detect.

Impact Radius acquires fraud detection prevention vendor

Preventing fraud is also the subject of the latest acquisition by affiliate marketing solutions vendor, Impact Radius. The company has purchased Forensiq, an advertising fraud prevention tools provide, and claims the combination of its technology offerings will create a trusted system of record for marketers to manage and optimise digital campaigns.

Impact Radius CEO, Per Pettersen, said the teams will focus on developing artificial intelligence technologies for advertising attribution, viewability and preventing ad fraud. The deal comes after the vendor secured US$30 million in investment.

“Exposing and removing fraudulent traffic across devices and ecosystems will create a more pure, real-time data hub for media buyers, analysts and executives to stay on the same page, share granular insights and maximise marketing ROI,” he said in a statement.

Forensiq’s technology uses probabilistic and deterministic signals from ad activity across more than 4 million events monthly to identify and prevent fraud. This includes bid requests and ad acquisition.

Confirmit and Affectiva get emotional about customers

Confirmit aand emotion recognition pioneer, Affectiva, have partnered up to launch new voice-of-customer technology solutions

The alliance sees Affectiva’s emotion recognition technology embedded into Confirmit’s surveys and will analyse a respondent’s reaction to videos. The offering is aimed at helping organisations better understand consumer opinion and gauge loyalty, as well as improve product and services market research, advertising testing and quantify attention.

“Emotions influence every aspect of our lives and yet in an increasingly digital world, too often emotions are missing from analysis,” Confirmit EVP of product management, Terry Lawlor, said. “The partnership with Affectiva meets the growing need from Confirmit’s global customer base for more in-depth and innovative insight into the impact of emotion on behavioural patterns and future actions.”

Affectiva claims its emotion recognition technology captures and measures unconscious responses and unbiased consumer reactions with 98 per cent accuracy. Respondents will be transferred automatically between platforms for the facial emotion detection portion of the research. Emotion data is then viewed on Affectiva’s purpose-built dashboard or combined with the Confirmit survey data.

Media iQ joins forces with Eyeota

Analytics technology vendor, Media iQ, has also formed a global partnership with Eyeota to tap into the latter’s audience data.

According to Media iQ, the integration will allow it to utilise Eyeota’s data segments to gain an understanding of audience insights across every market, enhancing its advanced analytics technology platform, AiQ. The platform collects, stores and processes more than one trillion data points per day.

Media iQ global product director, John Goulding, said the decision to add Eyeota as another AiQ integration is a reflection of the company’s investment into expanding insights for global advertisers.

“Via the Eyeota integration, AiQ can now generate enhanced pre-campaign insight that can accelerate the optimisation process and deliver next-level performance for advertisers,” he said.

Service Objects aims at data quality

Service Objects has announced a new Data Quality Scan service aimed at helping marketers improve the quality of their contact lists.

The service gives marketers the opportunity to run existing contacts against Service Objects' databases and determine what percentage of their list is bad, a move aimed at saving them time and money while allowing for better communication with customers. The offering is currently integrated with marketing automation platforms and CRM solutions such as Marketo, Oracle, HubSpot, iContact and Salesforce.

Using the complimentary Data Quality Scan, marketers can run up to 500 of their records and are provided with a report including a data quality score. This score indicates what percentage of their data is bad or incorrect based on five critical lead quality components: name, street address, phone number, email address and device.

“Existing marketing automation providers aren't giving customers tools to weed-out bogus contact records,” Service Objectives founder and CEO, Geoff Grow, said. “We built Service Objects Data Quality Scan to make it easier for any marketing automation user to measure the validity of their database. We’re excited to bring our data quality services to these leading marketing automation platforms.”

Pinterest launches CRM matching offering

Pinterest is now allowing marketers to undertake look-a-like modelling campaigns on its social platform by targeting advertising using CRM lists of mobile ad identifiers.

According to a report on AdExchanger, the new offering is much like Facebook’s Custom Audiences product, and will allow advertisers to use email addresses or mobile ad Ids to find customers on the social site, then choose those to target messaging too. It’s also allowing onboarding data using LiveRamp or Epsilon.

Previously, it was only marketers using a Pinterest preferred marketing partner that could target using hashed email addresses. While this now opens up first-party data capabilities, Pinterest will, Like Facebook and Google, operate on walled garden principles, making it hard to get performance data for ads served to customers back out of the platform.

Sprinklr adds to its social marketing platform

Sprinklr has unveiled new capabilities for its social media management platform aimed at improving consumer engagement.

The list includes Visual Insights, which gives marketers an ability to tap into text and visual listening in order to gauge engagement with their brands, then take real-time action. Another new feature is Sprinklr Audience, which stems from the vendor’s acquisition of Booshaka last November. This allows brands to deliver personalised content to key audience segments via social advertising, as well as identify and re-engage inactive subscribers or target look-a-like audiences based on existing subscriber insight,

A third function announced is Social Display and Hub, which is designed to better visualise social content and again is the result of an acquisition, this time Postano in April.

Sprinklr has also released a new public app directory of enterprise integrations developed by it and third-party developers including Salesforce ExactTarget and Service Cloud, Adobe Analytics, Google Analytics, Bit.ly, Zendesk, SAP Hybris, and IBM Marketing Cloud.

Emarsys launches mobile suite

Retail focused marketing software vendor, Emarsys, has launched a new mobile suite of offerings.

The new range includes Mobile Engage for apps, which taps into the vendor’s unified customer profile capabilities and allows brands to create, test and deploy push an in-app messaging within cross-channel automation programs or as one-off activities to engaged users.There’s also Smart SMS, for marketing and transactional messaging using keywords, email capture SMS programs or by integrating SMS opt-in with Web forms.

As part of the new mobile offering, users can also employ geo-segmentation to send mobile push notifications to users in a specific location. All of the new mobile capabilities are integrated with Emarsys’ overall cloud-based marketing software.

IOT Group brings streaming to Australia and AP

OTT Premium, a subsidiary of ASX-listed IOT Group, has signed an exclusive agreement to bring Xstream’s over-the-top media streaming platform to Australia and across the Asia-Pacific region.

Xstream, which claims to be one of the only independently owned tier-one streaming companies in the world, offers telcos, broadcasters, production and film companies and content owners with an end-to-end, OTT platform to deliver content which can be viewed on any device at anytime. The company has ambitions of being the platform that delivers the future of television, bringing global video content to Australian audiences on smartphones, tablets and connected TVs, while also pushing out Australian content to global audiences.

Existing Xstream clients include Telenor, Spark New Zealand and Bollywood’s largest production studio, Balaji Telefilms.

OTT Premium will be headed up by Bob Morrison, who joined Xstream last year as managing director for Asia Pacific in order to expand the brand’s footprint regionally.

“This partnership will expand the reach of an Australian tech company across the entire region,” said IOT group executive director, Ian Duffell. “There are numerous streaming and VOD services offering mass content, few of which offer tailored viewing or multilingual channels to address unique tastes. The Xstream platform already has access to over 10,000+ hours of homeland television and continues to grow.”

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