CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 21 December

All the latest martech and adtech news from SAP, Adobe, Unruly, Aprimo, Springbot, Skyhook, Stackla, Rubicon Project, Pronto Software and AppsFlyer.

SAP acquires Abakus

SAP has acquired Abakus, a cross-channel marketing measurement and optimisation vendor, for an undisclosed sum.

Abakus is being positioned as a complementary technology to the SAP Hybris platform, and provide a way of integrating and organising marketing and customer data, measuring incremental value and optimising campaign performance. It does this using game theory-based attribution functionality to forecast media optimisation and what-if scenarios for budget planning.

“Our goal is to offer the first omni-channel customer engagement solution on the market that helps our customers drive contextual experiences that lead to measureable business value,” said SAP Hybris chief strategy officer, Brian Walker. “Marketers need a trusted solution to understand what is driving sales — one based on real data, not models — to ensure they are using the optimal mix of marketing channels and messages.”

Abakus will remain a standalone product but become part of SAP Hybris and be offered as integrated functionality in the latter platform. SAP expects the transaction to close in the first quarter of 2017.

Aprimo commits to 300 enhancements in 2017

Recently relaunched management operations management platform provider, Aprimo, says it plans to deliver more than 300 customer identified enhancements to its platform in the New Year in a bid to help the CMO.

The 300 improvements come off the back of the vendor’s customer innovation initiative and are designed to address five marketing essentials: Planning, spending, creation, distribution and performance.

“Our customers represent some of the leading brands in the world, and these enhancements illustrate innovation identified by some of the top marketers at those brands,” said Aprimo chief product officer, Kevin Souers. “Our experience of leading the global marketing operations space will pave the way for us to continue pushing the industry forward in 2017 as we keep customers’ needs at the centre of the decision-making process.”

Aprimo was resurrected as a standalone business in July by its new private equity owners after they acquired the marketing operations business as part of a wider acquisition of Teradata’s marketing applications division earlier this year.

Unruly taps into IBM Watson

Unruly has tapped into the power of IBM’s artificial intelligence technology, Watson, to launch a new psychographic targeting tool for digital advertising.

The adtech vendor is using Watson’s Personality Insights services to help advertisers better understand how consumers think, feel and act in a certain way. This is being provided via the Unruly DNA tool, which analyses social media and digital data in order to learn personality traits. It then suggests third-party audience segments based on these characteristics.

Unruly said the objective is to help marketers target light buyers in particular. The new tool takes in insights from panel studies across more than 10,000 consumers.

“Cognitive technologies and artificial intelligence have made massive strides in the last few years and are now at a point where they can recognise quite subjective and very human qualities, such as emotion and personality,” Unruly chief strategy officer, Scott Burton, said.

“We’re really at the beginning of the journey when it comes to using cognitive technologies in advertising. Machines can be a powerful tool for marketers to recognise human desires and aspirations.”

As an example, Unruly said its DNA product has uncovered that Maybelline shoppers are highly imaginative, Glaceau shoppers like to explore new things and Tresemme shoppers are particularly agreeable. Through the same AI technology, Watson describes popular figures like Oprah as analytical and emotionally aware and Pope Francis as genial, helpful and active.

Springbot gets US$10m cash injection

Ecommerce marketing platform, Springbot, has chalked up US$10 million in a Series B funding round for continued product development.

The funding is led by Harbert Growth Partners and includes participation from existing investors Tech Operators and TTV Capital.

Aimed at small to medium sized businesses, Springbot is a cloud-based marketing service targeting the retail industry and offers featues such as marketing automation and analytics. The company also provides integrations with Magento and Shopify storefront technology.

Springbot said it plans to use the funding to expand its sales and marketing team while investigating new strategic partnerships. On the product development side, the group is also looking to develop and launch a marketing co-op so its customers can expand their marketing reach, and marketing optimisation and more advancement in analytics are also on the drawing board.

Skyhook joins AppNexus platform

Skyhook has become the first mobile location insights provider to join the AppNexus adtech marketplace.

The two companies said the integration of Skyhook’s Personas will help to increase the value of publishers’ advertising inventory by ensuring highly accurate location-based behavioural targeting, insights and attribution. These personas are based on processing trillions oflocation signals annually.

“We were drawn to Skyhook’s extensive history in the mobile location space, as well as their dedication to delivering accurate, high-value segments,” said AppNexus account director, Joe Bell. “As digital advertising becomes increasingly personalized and programmable, AppNexus clients require a location partner that can produce precise insights at scale. Skyhook’s innovative technology and thoughtful team have us excited to go to market with an advanced solution.”

Stackla banks $4 million

Social media management player, Stackla, has closed its second round of fundraising for the year, bringing in $4 million from an existing investor.

The first cash injection from Bailador of $6.1 million was secured in February. This latest round of funding will be used to invest in the development team and take on new partnerships with firms in the content management space.

Stackla co-founder, Damian Mahoney, said the reason the opportunity had opened up was because of consolidation in the social media marketing vertical this year. Stackla rival, Lifefyre, was acquired by Adobe for US$47m for example, while Monotype acquired Olapic for US$130m in July.

Mahoney also told the AFR he had received offers to buy the business but had turned them down. Stackla was founded in 2012 and works with a number of big brands including Ford, McDonalds, Jimmy Choo and BMW.

Spotify and Rubicon deploy programmatic audio

Digital music streaming service, Spotify, and adtech marketplace player, Rubicon Project, have confirmed they have run a number of programmatic audio advertising campaigns across Asia-Pacific following the launch of Spotify’s solution in August.

The companies said the programmatic audio campaigns have been executed in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore, with the Spotify audio inventory being traded programmatically via Private Marketplaces (PMPs) on Rubicon Project’s platform.

The partnership allows brands to target audiences based on precise moments such as commute, party and workout.

Adobe completes acquisition of TubeMogul

Adobe this week confirmed it has completed the acquisition of video programmatic advertising vendor, TubeMogul, a deal worth US$540 million.

Adobe said the combination of its Marketing Cloud suite of solutions and TubeMogul will create the first end-to-end independent advertising and data management solution that spans traditional TV and digital formats, simplifying what has been a complex and fragmented process for the world’s biggest brands. The planned integration with Adobe Audience Manager will allow marketers to unify audience planning and media buying for video advertising.

“The addition of TubeMogul will further strengthen Adobe’s leadership in digital marketing and advertising technology,” said Adobe executive vice-president and general manager of digital marketing, Brad Rencher. “We are excited to extend Adobe Marketing Cloud’s search, display and social planning and delivery solutions to help our customers maximise their video advertising investments across screens.”

Pronto Software launches new BI and analytics division

Australian analytics software provider, Pronto Software, has introduced a business intelligence services division aimed at helping customers better leverage analytics.

Pronto iQ is supported by a team of business intelligence and data specialists and will help clients tailor insights and outcomes to their needs through reports and interactive dashboards. It does this by utilising a combination of real-time and specialised ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) software toolset optimised for the vendor’s Pronto Xi Enterprise Resource Planning platform.

“Our revenue from BI services has grown by approximately 20 per cent over the past two years driven by customers who want to derive greater value, tangible reporting outcomes and insights from business data,” Pronto Software MD, Chad Gates, said.

“Pronto iQ centralises our customised BI solutions expertise and provides next level consulting services to customers with advanced BI needs. It will help our customers not only make better business decisions but also successfully innovate using data and analytics.”

New mobile attribution offering from AppsFlyer

AppsFlyer has debuted a new ad revenue attribution solution for mobile.

The solution is designed to allow mobile publishers to take all sources of revenue, including advertising, into consideration when assessing the overall lifetime value (LTV) of their users. Ad Revenue Attribution is initially available across several key in-app advertising providers, including AdColony, AdMob, AppLovin, Chartboost, ironSource and Unity Ads. The product is now out of beta and available for AppsFlyer customers worldwide.

“AppsFlyer’s ad revenue attribution supports all of the ad networks we work with to monetize our app and as such, this was the final piece needed in our revenue puzzle,” said games analyst at FuturePlay, Camilo Fitzgerald, and one of the first to test the product. “To date, our games have accumulated more than two million monthly active users and have served over 150 million ads. Our marketing teams are accessing even more comprehensive revenue data now, providing a strong advantage in a highly competitive space.”

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