Savvy shoppers wait in anticipation, while Australian retailers are gearing up for the onslaught. Amazon’s arrival is imminent.
Salesforce announces Einstein
Salesforce has officially unveiled Einstein, a set of artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities it says will help users of its platform serve their customers better.
Billing the technology as "AI for everyone", Salesforce is putting Einstein's capabilities into all its clouds, bringing machine learning, deep learning, predictive analytics, and natural language processing into each piece of its customer relationship management platform.
In Salesforce's Sales Cloud, for instance, machine learning will power predictive lead scoring, a new tool that can analyse all data related to leads -- including standard and custom fields, activity data from sales reps, and behavioural activity from prospects -- to generate a predictive score for each lead. The models will continuously improve over time by learning from signals like lead source, industry, job title, Web clicks and emails.
Another tool will analyse CRM data combined with customer interactions such as inbound emails from prospects to identify buying signals earlier in the sales process and recommend next steps to increase the sales rep’s ability to close a deal.
In Service Cloud, Einstein will power a tool that aims to improve productivity by pushing a prioritised list of response suggestions to service agents based on case context, case history, and previous communications.
Salesforce’s Marketing, Commerce, Community, Analytics, IoT and App Clouds will benefit similarly from Einstein, which leverages all data within Salesforce -- including activity data from its Chatter social network, email, calendar, and ecommerce as well as social data streams and even IoT signals -- to train its machine learning models.
The technology draws on recent Salesforce acquisitions including Metaminds. Roughly 175 data scientists have helped build it, John Ball, general manager for Salesforce Einstein, said.
New Einstein features will start to become available next month as part of Salesforce's Winter ‘17 release. Many will be added into existing licenses and editions; others will require an additional charge.
Datorama secures US$32m for martech platform
Datorama has raised US$32 million in a new financing round led by US fund, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and supported by Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavours.
The Israeli-based company provides a marketing analytics platform, called the Marketing Integration Engine, aimed at helping marketers connect disparate data sources together to better determine marketing performance. It’s being used by thousands of customers globally including L’Oreal, Yahoo! Japan and Foursquare.
The latest cash injection brings Datorama’s total funding to US$50m. The company said it will primarily use the new funding to accelerate research and development in the artificial intelligence field, which will further elevate its machine learning capabilities.
In addition, the company will continue to expand its global footprint, and is in the process of recruiting more employees to add to its 160-strong workforce across 14 locations.
The Trade Desk debuts on stock exchange
The Trade Desk’s stock price rose more than 68 per cent in one day after the ad tech vendor debuted on the Nasdaq.
The DSP began trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the ticker symbol, TTD, on 22 September. Starting with a share price of US$18, the company opened at US$28.75 and closed at US$30.10, a rise of 68.61 per cent on its IPO price.
The Trade Desk had initially been value at between US$550m and $600 million but the strong opening day takes its valuation close to the US$1 billion mark. The only pure ad-tech player worth more than US$1 billion is French-based performance advertising company, Criteo.
“This is a monumental day for The Trade Desk,” said The Trade Desk CEO, Jeff Green. “We are thrilled to join The Nasdaq Stock Market as we aim to continue to shape the future of how advertising is bought and sold. We remain committed to enabling every digital advertising impression to result in a win for the brand, the publisher and most importantly, the consumer.”
The Trade Desk also claims to be one of the few profitable adtech companies globally, and claims revenue rose 155 per cent in 2015.
Mautic raises US$5m for open source marketing automation platform
On a smaller scale, startup open source marketing automation vendor, Mautic, has raised US$5 million in its first series A funding round, led by G20 Ventures and Underscore VC.
The two-year old open source project received $600,000 in seed funding earlier this year and released version 2.0 of its Mautic Cloud product a couple of months ago. The new version extends the capabilities of the cloud-based platform from marketing automation with features such as email and landing page builders, segmentation tracking, a lifecycle dashboard and campaign attribution reports.
The company has also appointed former Applause marketing and strategy chief, Matt Johnson, as its CEO from the end of 2016. Johnson has already joined the board of directors, and his track record in growing community-driven startups was key to his appointment, said Mautic co-founder and CTO. David Hurley.
“We’ve connected seamlessly about Mautic’s vision, and have a shared philosophy for building a great company around an already-strong product and community,” he said.
The funding will be used to build out the engineering team and grow the product suite, as well as for community support.
Optimizely goes for X factor
Optimizely has launched a new offering which is claims will allow marketers to conduct experiments and personalised marketing across any platform, device or channel.
Optimizely X is a testing and personalisation platform including a suite of connected models. Using these, users can create hypothesis, test assumptions, find winning combines, customise user experience and in the process, hopefully improve conversion rates.
Optimizely chief customer officer, Linda Crawford, told Venuturebeat the unified experimentation platform brings together marketing, product and engineering experiments together on a single platform. It also features the vendor’s Stats Engine to provide real-time results information.
The tool runs tests across a brand’s website and can incorporate first-party and third-party data, along with behavioural targeting, and also includes product, category and content recommendations.
Radius offers up combined solution with Oracle
Marketing software provider, Radius, has partnered up with Oracle Marketing Cloud to offer up its B2B predictive marketing platform through Oracle’s Cloud Marketplace.
The new solution is aimed at helping B2B marketers uncover the most lucrative segments of customers and prospects, then build personalised campaigns and prioritise best inbound and existing prospects within the Oracle Eloqua management platform. Users can put top performing segments based on radius Business Graph insights into the Oracle Marketing Cloud, including account signals such as product technologies in use, social presence, firmographics, recent trigger events and buying intent indicators.
Radius prospect scores are also directly synced into Oracle Marketing Cloud, to help prioritise inbound prospects for sales versus nurturing.
“Our combined solution with Oracle Marketing Cloud is the latest advancement to our growing B2B predictive marketing platform,” said chief product officer at Radius, Mark Woollen. “Today’s marketer relies on Oracle Marketing Cloud to manage their marketing campaigns and to convert prospects to customers. Combining Radius predictive analytics expertise with Oracle Marketing Cloud empowers marketers to make smarter, faster decisions that drive revenue and growth.”
Crimtan brings in social sharing data
Digital advertising platform provider, Crimtan, has partnered with global data provider, ShareThis, to integrate its social sharing data into its marketing platform.
The agreement will allow brands to build custom segments that include brand champions and their social circle of like-minded individuals. According to the two companies, brands using ShareThis data through the Crimtan platform have seen a 60 per cent increase in video view-through rate over contextual targeting, and engagement rates that are 58 per cent higher than standard audience targeting sets.
“It’s great that brands using the Crimtan Marketing Platform have already seen tremendous value in ShareThis data,” said CEO of ShareThis, Kurt Abrahamson. “A share captures people’s current passions and desires and is a meaningful signal of consumer behaviour. Having the ability to identify users’ current interests and purchasing desires will help Crimtan run even more effective branding and prospecting campaigns.”
The integration of social data is particularly important to a dynamic marketing strategy as a person’s interests and passions are constantly changing, Crimtan’s founder, Paul Goad, added.
“Dynamic social data provides a recent and better-defined view of people's true interests at any moment in time and Crimtan will use ShareThis’ social data to enhance our user profiles by overlaying it with other data to improve targeting and optimisation for our clients.”
Zendesk tunes into two-way conversations
Customer experience management platform provider, Zendesk, has announced a new integration for businesses to help engage with customers via non-traditional support channels.
The vendor said static reviews, comments and messages can now become dynamic two-way engagement opportunities. For example, when someone writes a review on online review community, Trustpilot, a customer service ticket is automatically created in Zendesk. Agents can then respond directly to the ticket, and the response will post back to the review within Trustpilot in almost real time. The company’s customer service agent can manage the entire process quickly and easily within Zendesk, versus navigating across multiple sites online.
Customers already using the capabilities include Amazon, eBay, and Trustpilot.
“The future of customer service is immersing both service and engagement into the overall customer experience,” said Zendesk senior vice-president of product development, Adrian McDermott. “Zendesk is strengthening the relationship between businesses and their customers by embedding customer service into the right places at the right time -- and on any channel.”
TubeMogul adds native advertising
TubeMogul has added automated, data-driven buying of native ads across desktop and mobile devices to its adtech platform.
The company said the native ad formats span both display and video across digital devices and are designed to blend into a publisher’s existing content by automatically adapting assets such as images, copy and logo. Several customers, including Motorola in the US and Lenovo, participated in the beta test.
“Advertisers can now reach their audience in less intrusive ways, but still leverage the automation of TubeMogul’s software,” said the vendor’s director of product, Boaz Ram.
TubeMogul said it’s also amending its non-human traffic credit program, first launched for video ads, to include display and native ad formats, and has revamped its display offering in a bid to increase accountability and improve effectiveness in cross-channel branding and performance campaigns. New features include extending Integral Ad Science’s pre-bid filters to ensure viewability and minimise fraudulent traffic, plus support for Deal ID functional across private marketplaces, including Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange and Rubicon Project.
Lightspeed brings new research platform to Australia
Lightspeed has officially launched its expanding market research technology and services offering in Australia.
The company says it has introduced 10 new capabilities into its offering, all aimed at helping researchers and marketers better navigate the research process in a more agile fashion. On the list is adtracking, powered by technology from Millward Brown’s Media and Digital practice, which integrates exposure data with a high-quality, double opt-in panel. Lightspeed Bulletin Board, meanwhile, offers integration of quantitative and qualitative research through an online discussion of survey participants, and is supported by 20:20 Research.
The company has also partnered with Qantas data insights agency, Red Planet, to give clients access to 100,000 Qantas Frequent Flyers, and claims to be offering the largest emotion database and emotion recognition software powered by Affectiva.
Other new services include Lightspeed Social, which uses Synthesio’s social media intelligence platform to track real-time social and mainstream media conversations through dashboards and data, plus Lightspeed Metering, which uses RealityMine’s metering technology to gain insights on the digital activities of consumers.
- With additional reporting by Katherine Noyes