CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 10 August 2017

All the latest martech and adtech news from Acxiom, Salesforce, Demandbase, Tremor, Taptica, Optimizely, Signals Analytics, Criteo and Rakuten Marketing.

Acxiom brings people-based marketing to Australia

Market data supplier, Acxiom, has officially launched its people-based marketing data sets in Australia, allowing brands to work with new consumer personas.

The company said its initial rollout locally gives brands the ability to produce ‘buyer-centric’ consumer personas by matching offline transactional data with digital media consumptions. It’s also offering hundreds of custom audiences via the Acxiom Connect App, which can be purchased through the company’s media partner network. These can be targeted across platforms such as Google, Facebook, Nine, eBay, Yahoo!7 and Twitter.

“People-based marketing starts with people-based data,” said managing director of Acxiom APAC Emerging Markets, Dean Capobianco. “We’re excited to be bringing this data to marketers in the APAC region, in addition to helping them activate it across many of Australia’s leading publishers, ad-tech and martech platforms.”  

Acxiom has been offering people-based audience data in other markets globally for the past 18 months. This can be combined with first-party data, and used to inform interactions with consumers on digital devices. 

Local managing director, Esther Carlsen, said demand for people-based data in Australia has been hot for some time.

“As the focus on accountability in digital and programmatic media buying intensifies, we can offer marketers and digital businesses the ability to move to people-based marketing, ultimately driving efficiencies and real results,” she said.

Salesforce debuts new Vision for Social Studio

Salesforce has extended its Einstein artificial intelligence capabilities into its Social Studio platform in the form of image recognition.

The new functionality, dubbed Einstein Vision, allows users to automate discovery and identification of social media imagery. Currently available for Twitter, companies can use Einstein Vision for Social Studio for consumer insights, brand tracking and social care.

In a blog post, Salesforce VP of product marketing, social and advertising products, Robert Begg, said social media imagery is often a more valid representation of consumer behaviour than text analysis. The vendor is claiming it can uncover images relevant to their brand through four types of image libraries, including two million brand logos, 60 scenes, 200 foods and 1000 objects. 

“If a person posts an image of a new product, but doesn't include text including the product's name, it's likely that social media monitoring won't capture it,” he pointed out. “Companies risk missing out on important opportunities to better understand their customers, improve their customer engagement, resolve potential customer service issues and identify new key influencers and fans.” 

Two APIs through Einstein Vision fuel the new functionality in Social Studio: Einstein Image Classification, which powers image recognition use cases including visual search, brand detection and product identification; and Einstein Object Detection, which recognises objects within images and detects types and quantities of the objects at scale.

AI powers real-time intent for Demandbase

Another vendor tapping AI for new functionality is B2B tech vendor, Demandbase. The company has taken the wrappers off Real-Time Intent, another capability being added to its account-based marketing (ABM) platform.

The tool works to identify the level of interest of accounts and buyers in the early stages of researching a B2B purchase then triggers specific sales and marketing actions across the ABM funnel in real time. Demandbase compared the functionality to how keyword search signals are undertaken, leveraging AI and machine learning to track billions of interactions per month. These include data from ad networks and exchanges, third-party firmographic data and publicly available online data such as social media APIs, articles, press releases and SEC data.

Demandbase CEO, Chris Golec, said the technology is about giving customers greater reach and better precision around understanding a B2B buyer’s intent.

“Real-Time Intent will be delivered through a platform and suite of targeting, engagement and conversion solutions so that customers can take immediate actions on the insights,” he said.

Demandbase was most recently in the news in May after securing US$65 million in investment to further its ABM platform ambitions.

Tremor sold to Taptica for US$50 million

Video demand-side platform player, Tremor Video, has been sold to Israeli mobile adtech vendor, Taptica, for US$50 million.

The company’s assets are expected to form a new business division called Tremor Video DSP, with all related staff joining the Taptica business. According to an article on AdExchanger, about half of Tremor’s 350 employees worked on the buy-side business.

Tremor offers a programmatic self-service platform for premium video partners. The company said the new deal will allow it to further invest in connected TV and OTT offerings, as well as provide capital for international investment.

“Today we are at a significant inflection point for Tremor Video,” said Tremor chairman, Paul Caine. “The sale of our buyer platform allows us to focus our investment on the biggest growth-driver of our business. As consumers continue to shift their viewing behaviour towards digital video and OTT, we believe there is a large market opportunity to capitalise on these trends as the leading pure-play video SSP.”

Taptica also recently acquired Japanese mobile ad company, Adinnovation, to further expand its presence in Asia-Pacific region.

Signals Analytics raises US$25m to fund global expansion

Signals Analytics, a company that supplies cloud-based insights for global brands for product decision making, has secured US$25 million in Series C funding.

The latest investment funding will be used to invest in the core insights platform, Signals Playbook, as well as grow Signal Analytics’ global footprint. The company was co-founded by ex-Israeli military intelligence officers, Gil Sadeh and Kobi Gershoni, and uses battlefield-tested processes and technologies to unify disparate data sets, detect signals and uncover insights that can inform product decision making.

Signals Analytics now claims its offering is used by 60 brands worldwide, including Procter & Gambler, Nestle, Pepsico, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer and 3M.

"Business leaders are starving for strategic insights that can help them extend the revenue potential of products in market, maximize new product launches and create growth through innovation," said Sadeh, co-founder and CEO of Signals Analytics.

"With support from Pitango as well as Sequoia and Qumra, Signals Analytics will accelerate the advancement of Signal's Playbook, our cloud-based augmented intelligence platform that is quickly becoming the choice of the world's leading consumer goods and life sciences companies for product decisions."

Criteo reports strong Q2

Performance marketing player, Criteo, has reported a 33 per cent year-on-year increase in Q2 revenues to US$524 million, beating expectations.  

The company labelled its Q2 results to 30 June 2017 to be solid and strong, with accelerating and profitable growth and increased cash flow. Adjusted EBITDA grew 38 per cent to $54 million, while cashflow from operating activities increased 214 per cent to $60 million. This brought net income in at $8 million, a decrease of 44 per cent that the company attributed to accounting around its acquisition of HookLogic last year.

“We are building the highest performing and open commerce marketing ecosystem for retailers and brands, allowing them to compete with large ecommerce companies,” said Criteo CEO, Eric Eichmann, in a statement.

During the quarter, Criteo added 950 net new clients, bringing its total customer base to 16,000 companies. It also claimed a 90 per cent client retention rate across the business.

The company highlighted its next-generation header bidder technology, Criteo Direct Bigger, as a key contributor to growth. It also flagged tests of new products that are on their way, including app installs, CRM onboarding and store-to-Web retargeting campaigns.

Optimizely gets more experimental

Optimisation platform vendor, Optimizely, is offering three new features across its platform all aimed at helping brands scale up experimentation efforts.

On the top of the list is a mutually exclusive experiments tool, which allows users to run multiple experiments simultaneously on a website without interaction effects. The vendor has also launched custom snippers, to provide more flexibility around code run inside tags on Web pages where experiments are being run, as well as change history, to provide more visibility of Web experiments and personalisation campaigns.

The first two features are available now; change history is due to hit the market shortly. The news comes as Optimizely plans the launch of its new Australian office.

Rakuten Marketing chalks up 87 per cent business growth

Rakuten Marketing is claiming to retain a dominant position in the performance marketing space after chalking up 87 per cent business growth over the past year.

In a statement, the company said it had grown its headcount by 35 per cent and expanded its Singapore division, delivering a significant step forward for the Rakuten Marketing Affiliate Network and Australian customers. Overall, the Rakuten Marketing Affiliate Network grew by 66 per cent, with more than $1 billion in publisher commissions paid out worldwide in 2016 and 100 million orders processed. The company’s display arm also recorded growth of 88 per cent.

Among the list of existing local clients using Rakuten are APG brands, Saba and Sportscraft, while new sign-ups include General Pants.    

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