CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 22 June 2017

All the latest adtech and martech news from Alibaba Group, Verizon, Integral Ad Science, Taboola, Sysomos, Sprout, Qualtrics and Smaato.

Alibaba tools up marketers with Chinese consumer insights

Alibaba Group is looking to make it easier for marketers to crack the Chinese consumer market with its new Uni Marketing System.

The new toolkit is based around analysing live Chinese consumer data on 450 million active buyers across Alibaba’s retail network and has four key elements. The first underlying capability is a ‘brand databank’, designed to turn consumer data into actionable insight by aggregating and analysing information that’s then made access to brands and integrated with the rest of the platform.

There’s also Uni Strategy, which allows users to segment consumers by touchpoints and through channels; Uni Communication, a media planning and ad serving tool that takes information from online Chinese media and feeds it back into the brand database; and Uni Operation, for creating and delivering personalised content and managing consumer relationships across different touchpoints.

“Uni Marketing differentiates itself from other marketing tools by using the entire Alibaba ecosystem to inform businesses about their consumers, allowing them to target more effectively,” Alibaba Group CMO, Chris Tung, said. “By combining its massive data assets, businesses can identify, segment and build tailored content for the best results.”

Verizon reveals more details around Oath plans

Verizon executives took the opportunity to officially launch Oath at this week’s Cannes festival of Creativity and reveal further details of how they’ll integrate various assets into a unified offering.

Verizon handed over US$4.8 billion to acquire Yahoo last July. It had also previously acquired AOL in 2015. In April, the business revealed it planned to unite both of these businesses under a new brand: Oath.

According to an article on AdExchanger, the group will spend the next 6-9 months combining comparable assets from the various legacy Internet companies now in its possession, including BrightRoll, AOL One, Yahoo, plus mobile exchanges, Flurry and Millennial Media, into a single stack.

“Yahoo built a stack that reached global audiences by leveraging first-party data,” Oath president of ad platforms, Tim Mahlman, said during a briefing at Cannes. “AOL built a foundation [as] one of the premier performance-based optimisation technologies. They were built to go after advertisers from different standpoints.”

Mahlman also revealed Verizon plans to share hashed IDs from its subscriber base for targeting on any AOL or Yahoo property, as well as for media bought through either platform. That data will be combined with first-party data from yahoo’s search and email channels to feed into its new DSP. Data from other sources will also be put into a data lake for use.

For the full AdExchanger report, click here.

Integral Ad Science and Facebook extend transparency work

Adtech player, Integral Ad Science, has expanded its partnership with Facebook with the aim of addressing growing concerns around transparency and viewability in the digital advertising ecosystem.

The group is claiming additional measurement and reporting capability across Facebook, Instagram and Facebook’s Audience network. For example, advertisers can measure and evaluate performance across campaigns based on the 50 per cent in view for 1 second standard for display ads on Facebook. There’s also viewability and fraud data available around Instagram for the first time.

The latest extension follows and partnership around video and display measurement last year.

“Our industry must collaborate to move past our current challenges around transparency and measurement,” said IAG chief product officer, David Hahn. “That’s why we’re continually working to expand our partnerships with companies like Facebook to address these issues head on and provide a more complete view of their media buys to our customers.”

Taboola ups the ante on native programmatic in Australia

Content discovery platform, Taboola, says it’s expanding its programmatic native advertising business in Australia to meet rising demand for sponsored ad placements.

The vendor is doing through new programmatic advertising partnerships with AppNexus, RocketFuel, Criteo, StackAdapt and MediaIQ Digital. On the publisher side, Taboola has agreements locally with MSN Australia, Huffington Post and Business Inside.  

The company’s technology analyses real-time data signals in order to match content with more relevant readers.

“Our programmatic native ad business is growing rapidly in Australia as brands can see the increased engagement rates that are being achieved in publisher placements,” said Taboola founder and CE, Adam Singolda. “We have focused heavily on building long-term partnerships in Australia and we believe our success is due to product quality and the hard work of our local team.”

Sysomos debuts social content command centre suite

Social marketing software vendor, Sysomos, has debuted a command centre suite it says integrates content and data from third-party channels to provide a centralised view.

The new Sysomos Display offering is built on an open data platform and can ingest data from marketing, advertising, finance, CRM and customer support tools into one place. Users can then customise the interface to better view content and metrics and adjust performance accordingly.

Key features include secure login and single sign-on, custom filters for brands, competitors and other entities, a customisable dashboard for commenting, sharing and exporting, and a scrolling display.

Marketing leaders typically use siloed services and sources for data and metrics on the performance of their brands, said Sysomos CEO, Peter Heffring.

“The challenge has been that up until now, content and key metrics have come through incompatible apps, with multiple logins and inconsistent user experiences, making it impossible to get a holistic view of the business in real time,” he said. “Sysomos Display addresses this issue.”

Sprout grows new chatbot tools

Social media management vendor, Sprout, is taking on the chatbot trend with Sprout Bot Builder, a new set of tools aimed at helping brands use the technology to automate conversational workflows in social.

Available as part of the company’s Sprout Enterprise plan, Bot Builder is a tool for creating, previewing and deployed twitter chatbots. It does this with rules-based logic, allowing brands to set the context for a conversation, create welcome messaging, have pre-set quick replies and auto-responses. Chatbots can also be given custom avatars to distinguish them from human service agents, and Sprout is offering a Smart Inbox for managing conversations and interactions between virtual and human agents.

The tool has already been used as part of a pilot phase by Evernote, Monarch, Bloomsbury Books and GVC Mortgage overseas as a way of directly engaging customers via direct message.

In a blog post announcing the new offering, Sprout noted 34,000 chatbots took on business functions in 2016.

“As chatbots evolve to better support business’ needs, Sprout it building automated workflows that bring chatbots to life in social conversations,” the company stated.

Qualtrics improves CX diagnostics

Qualtrics says the latest enhancements to its Customer Experience platform will help companies improve their CX programs and approach.

Among the latest additions to the platform are a CX diagnostic assessment that rates CX program maturity against what the vendor calls the ‘five competencies of CX success’ based on its own methodology: Culture and leadership, customer experience management systems, customer intelligence, connected employees, and continuous innovation. The evaluation is presented to companies via a personalised report including recommendations on how to improve a CX approach.

Qualtrics head of CX, Luke Williams, said most organisations know customer experience management is a business imperative that delivers commercial return.

“Done right, customer experience management drives financial results through better customer acquisition, improved customer retention and loyalty, reduced costs to save, increased share of wallet and higher brand awareness,” he claimed.

Existing Qualtrics customers include Allianz, Patagonia, Zappos, twitter and MasterCard.

Smaato expands Google partnership  

Another adech player looking to shore up its position with the big digital giants is mobile publisher and app developer vendor, Smaato.

The company has extended its partnership with Google Doubleclick Exchange Bidding, a deal it says will give hundreds of DoubleClick publishers access to its worldwide mobile demand partner network.

Having first made inroads with Google on the product’s advisory board, Smaato claims it’s the first mobile-only exchange expanding into the open beta of DoubleClick’s Exchange Bidding program. Smaato first worked with Google last October as its mobile-only exchange beta partner.

Smaato’s platform is designed to connect advertisers with app developers and mobile Web publishers. According to the company, it’s now managing up to 10 billion mobile ad impressions daily, reaching 1 billion unique mobile users monthly.

“After an extremely successful Exchange Bidding partnership in closed beta, we are excited to continue working with Google DoubleClick to extend Smaato’s premium mobile demand to publishers worldwide,” said Smaato CEO and co-founder, Ragnar Kruse. “Publishers, and particularly apps, want to expand their global reach to fast-growing markets like Asia-Pacific, and Smaato is happy to partner with Google to fulfil that massive opportunity.”  

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