CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 23 June

All the latest martech and adtech news from Samsung, Neustar, SugarCRM, Blis, Twitter, Emarsys, SDL, AppNexus, Influitive and glispa

Samsung steps into DSP arena

Consumer electronics giant, Samsung, has stepped into the demand-side platform and ad server space, acquiring Canadian ad tech player, AdGear, for about US$50 million.

AdGear provides software and services to media agencies, publishers and advertisers. According to a statement provided to AdExchanger, it will continue to operate independently as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Canada. The deal was undertaken by Samsung’s innovation centre and is aimed at supporting the extension of the vendor’s Smart TV services.

Sources claimed the pricetag was about US$50 million or less. AdGear’s technology solutions include a DSP for media agencies (AdGear trader), a data management platform, and a publisher/advertiser-focused ad server.

Neustar splits, aims to grow marketing services business

Neustar is dividing its business into two independent companies, a move it says will clear up brand confusion while allowing its information services offering to thrive.

One company will retain the Neustar name and provide order management and numbering services for fixed, wireless and cable communications providers. The second company, which will take on a fresh brand identity, will have ownership of all of Neustar’s information services business which includes marketing, security and data-related offerings. The latter will continue to be overseen by current group CEO, Lisa Hook, while current SVP and CFO, Paul Lalljie, takes over the order management business.

“Five years ago, Neustar embarked on a journey to become a market-leading provider of information services, while building upon our industry leadership in order and inventory management and complex real-time numbering services,” Hook said in a statement.

“We have successfully executed against this strategic plan. As the market opportunities in the information services and telecommunications sectors continue to evolve, today’s announcement is the logical next step for Neustar. Each business will be better-positioned to grow as focused and sustainable companies.”

The information services business provides marketing services including customer intelligence, activation and measurement and attribution. Data services, meanwhile, include caller ID, user authentication and rights management and Internet of Things. The group now has its sights set on expansion.

According to Neustar, revenue across the information services business increased to US$470 million in 2015, with a compound annual growth rate of 25 per cent over the past four years.

SugarCRM plans Siri-like agent

SugarCRM has put AI at the core of its product plans and is working on a new intelligence service along with a Siri-like agent named Candace.

Tapping the company’s recent acquisitions of Stitch and Contastic, the new technology will be designed to help businesses spend less time entering data into their customer relationship management software and more time learning from and acting upon it.

“In the CRM space, we want people to focus on what they’re good at: Relating to others, such as customers and partners," Rich Green, SugarCRM's chief product officer, said in an interview last week. In this era of big data, however, that's not always possible.

“As data becomes more and more available, it typically has required quite a bit of labour to ensure that your CRM system stays up to date,” Green explained.

The initial goal of Sugar Intelligence Service is to “remove the need for individuals to insert, add, modify and keep information current”, he said. Toward that end, the service will integrate data from a variety of external sources, including the Internet of Things (IoT), with internal CRM data to provide a more comprehensive view of the customer. Such tasks will be handled automatically by the new software, but the hope is that it will go much further than that.

“Where we're headed is to use machine learning to go through these huge data sets, call out important insights, and make recommendations,” Green said.

Predictive analytics capabilities, for example, will drive suggestions for the best next steps to take for optimal customer interactions. Sugar Intelligence will be an open platform.

Also on SugarCRM’s roadmap is Candace, an AI-powered intelligent agent that guides and assists users in interactions with customers, helping them plan meetings, build deeper connections, recommend best actions, and respond to late-breaking developments. Candace will be able to listen in on meetings and use natural language processing to parse the conversation, for example, then make recommendations and define follow-up actions, Green said.

Blis launches location data marketplace

Location data technology company, Blis, has launched what it claims is the world’s largest private marketplace for location-based advertising.

Blis Prime will see global inventory from publishers such as News International and Forbes, combined with the vendor’s location data and made available programmatically via exchange partners within the platform. Blis claims this will give marketers more precise audience targeting opportunities and increased efficiencies.

Blis has also partnered with global analytics company, Moat, to deliver ad viewability and attention metrics within Prime.

“Blis Prime combines the huge insight of location data with the quality and pricing benefits of private market deals,” said Greg Isbister, CEO of Blis. “This unlocks tremendous value for our clients.”

“As consumers increasingly move towards mobile first, location data is a powerful asset for marketers seeking the right time to reach their audiences,” added Jonah Goodhart, CEO and Co-Founder of Moat. “We are excited to work with Blis to provide even more insight into how those audiences pay attention to ads online.”

AppNexus expands Microsoft deal; forms new video partnership

AppNexus has expanded its global technology partnership with Microsoft that will see the software giant using its supply side platform to monetize video inventory in select markets.

The new partnership terms build upon AppNexus’ role as the exclusive technology platform for Microsoft’s display advertising business in 58 markets. As well as using the adtech company’s video ad serving for direct sold inventory, Microsoft also undertakes instream monetisation for real-time bidding (RTB); outstream monetisation to drive new revenue on article pages; and VAST interstitial video to monetise games and apps.

AppNexus also announced two new vendor alliances this week. The first, with Dailymotion Exchange, will see AppNexus’ DSP capabilities combined with Dailymotion’s video inventory for global video campaigns. Dailymotion Exchange claims 3.5 billion video views monthly and more than 300 million unique viewers.

AppNexus has also joined forces with Unruly to combine the reach of its video buying platform with Unruly’s viewable video SSP, UnrulyX. Seventy per cent of views are delivered across comScore 500 sites. The deal gives AppNexus buyers access to more than a billion monthly viewable outstream video impressions via UnrulyX, including business and news sites such as MarketWatch and The Sun, to lifestyle sites such as Vogue Australia.

Emarsys launches CRM ads

B2C marketing automation vendor, Emarsys, has introduced a new CRM Ads capability to its platform, aimed at helping marketers better align first-party data with their advertising efforts.

Emarsys CRM Ads is designed so that marketers can pool together CRM, purchase and cross-channel behavioural data from digital properties to improve advertising campaigns. The vendor said going beyond cookie-based marketing will help bridge the divide between owned properties and the brand identity and messaging customers experience on other digital sites.

The new capabilities can initially be used to optimise bids on Google search, as well as to reach customers through search, Gmail, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

“By adding an unprecedented level of intelligence to both marketing and advertising technology, we created a people-based marketing approach,” said Emarsys product manager, Amir Jacobi.

Twitter buys Magic Pony

Twitter has made no secret of its interest in machine learning in recent years, and on Monday the company put its money where its mouth is once again by purchasing London startup, Magic Pony Technology, which has focused on visual processing.

"Magic Pony’s technology -- based on research by the team to create algorithms that can understand the features of imagery -- will be used to enhance our strength in live [streaming] and video and opens up a whole lot of exciting creative possibilities for Twitter," Twitter cofounder and CEO Jack Dorsey wrote in a blog post announcing the news.

The startup's team includes 11 Ph.Ds with expertise across computer vision, machine learning, high-performance computing and computational neuroscience, Dorsey said. They'll join Twitter's Cortex group, made up of engineers, data scientists and machine-learning researchers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

SDL goes for language connections with Salesforce

Customer experience management vendor, SDL, has launched Global Team, a new app on the Salesforce AppExchange aimed at helping businesses connect with their customers, partners and employees across more than 100 languages.

The new offering is built on the Salesforce App Cloud but based on SDL’s Language Cloud, and allows fast collaboration between colleagues with on-demand translation, enabling service agents to triage cases raised in different languages and route them appropriately.

SDL said Global Team provides users with complete view of accounts in the local language, helps support teams to share, understand and respond to customer respond to inquiries with multilingual content, and supports global campaign execution.

“Every day, a huge volume of valuable content gets created in Salesforce in multiple languages that is not always shared across teams. We are committed to creating innovative tools that ensure users can collaborate and translate in real time from within their preferred business applications,” said Adolfo Hernandez, CEO, SDL.

Glispa opens in Asia-Pacific

German-based mobile ad tech player, glispa, has opened an office in Singapore to kickstart its efforts in the Asia-Pacific region and appointed mobile marketing veteran, Christian Nguygen, as general manager for Southeast Asia.

Glispa Global Group supports global advertisers, app developers and publishers with programmatic advertising and marketing efforts. The company provides a suite of technology-based solutions that tap into big data analytics targeting more than 2 billion mobile users worldwide. Regional clients already working with glispa include Bukalapak, Lazada, Shopee, GrabTaxi and Gumi.

“Southeast Asia is the next digital frontier with a major behavioural shift to a mobile-first society, and glispa is well positioned to help brands and app developers capitalize on this phenomenal growth,” Nguyen said. “With mobile advertising set to grow to half of all digital advertising by 2020, I’m thrilled to join glispa to lead this growth regionally.”

Influitive gets a raft of new features

Influencer platform vendor, Influitive, has revealed a raft of new additions to its advocacy platform.

On the list according to the company are a personalised advocacy feed, rich advocacy profiles and communication abilities, improved mobile experience capabilities, better analytics and reporting, and re-factored referral functionality.

In a blog post, founder and CEO, Mark Organ, said the company applied machine learning on data from hundreds of engagements, thousands of advocates and millions of data points to come up with the new offerings.

  • With additional reporting by Katherine Noyes.

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