CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 19 October 2017

All the latest martech and adtech news from Adobe, Marketo, Sitecore, Blis, Optimizely, Maximizer and more

Adobe promises supply-side transparency, launches Advertising Cloud mobile app

Adobe claims it has become the first media buying platform to partner with supply-side platforms and exchange partners to make all fees fully transparent via its Advertising Cloud.

The news came as the vendor announced a new mobile app version of its Advertising Cloud for cross-channel advertising campaign management, available to customers for free across both Android and iOS devices.

The push for transparency has been made possible through partnerships with more than 15 of the industry’s largest SSP and exchange players and covers full disclosure of all fees related to programmatic transactions, some of which have not been previously been apparent. Adobe said the move is in response to growing industry concern about the lack of transparency around digital advertising and programmatic buying.

Partners include DoubleClick Ad Exchange, Oath by Verizon, OpenX, Rubicon Project, SpotX, PubMatic and Index Exchange.

Adobe noted SSPs gain the majority of their revenue via a fee for monetising unsold ad inventory. Having discovered a number had included additional fees in media costs that were being passed along to buy-side partners, the vendor said it reached agreement to either eliminate these fees or mandate their full disclose in its Advertising Cloud platform.

“We believe deeply that transparency can benefit everyone in the digital advertising industry, not just marketers,” Adobe VP of Advertising Cloud, Brett Wilson, said. “Openness and innovation are hallmarks of Adobe Advertising Cloud and we are pleased that our supply partners have joined us as we collectively work to bring accountability that most will agree is long overdue.”

Also this week, Adobe launched a mobile app version of Advertising Cloud. The app offers a number of features including the ability to monitor campaign-level performance and delivery metrics in real-time from a smartphone or tablet device; swipe-to-activate and automatic campaign pausing based on pre-set parameters such as budget caps or impressions; and reporting for all metrics currently available via the desktop platform version.

Adobe is also promising expanded cross-channel advertising capabilities thanks to the inclusion of automated, data-driven buying of digital audio advertising formats across desktop and mobile devices. The programmatic offering is being launched in collaboration with Rubicon Project and taps into the latter’s global exchange for ad opportunities.

Adobe said Advertising Cloud users can leverage native integration with adobe Analytics to layer first- and third-party data in order to target behavioural, demographic and geographic audience segments supported by Nielsen-verified audience reporting on age and gender.

Marketo introduces AI-powered enhancements

Marketo has debuted another round of product enhancements for personalisation, email analytics and account-based marketing based on utilising its artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. 

The new account insight feature is designed to strengthen the partnership between sales and marketing teams around account-based marketing (ABM) strategies by helping sellers pinpoint the best accounts to target and provide real-time insights into how and when a prospect is engaging with their brand in order to tailor follow-up interactions.

Email insights enhancement, meanwhile, provides new tools for preparing, analysing and sharing email campaign performance, while fresh integration with Facebook offline conversion stages allows users to optimise ad spend based on customer journeys.

There are also new Web personalisation enhancements to allow marketers to create experiences based on visitor behaviour. For example, new ‘call to action’ labels lets visitors see whether an offer is for content, a survey, an event and more before expanding the widget.

The latest features comes a couple of weeks after Marketo unveiled Marketo ContentAI, an AI-powered solution aimed at assisting brands identify and automate content distribution. Supporting this, the vendor has also introduced ToutApp templates for categorising and sharing marketing generated content with sales colleagues, the first functionality to come off its acquisition of ToutApp earlier this year.

Optimizely debuts product updates, training academy

Testing and optimisation platform player, Optimizely, has taken the wrappers off a new training platform as well as a number of product updates.

The latest product enhancements include feature management, aimed at helping teams deploy product features and capabilities faster and with less risk, such as feature flags, rollouts and variables. A stats accelerator is designed to help teams decrease the time it takes to run experiments across the full Optimizely X product suite, using machine learning and automation to achieve statistical testing up to three times faster.

There’s also a new solution for supporting dynamic websites and experimenting in Single Page Apps, allowing business users to experiment on dynamic content, and a program management solution to help operationalise experimentation across their organisation. The latter is based on the vendor’s acquisition of Experiment Engine in April.

The latest product features came as the vendor launched its Optimizely Academy, a training program for marketers and developers to improve their experimentation skills. The offering includes in-depth resources, courses and certification programs.

Optimizely said it’s now powering more than 1 million experiments every day through its platform, and has reached US$90 million in annual recurring revenue.

Sitecore pushes Experience

Sitecore also joined the list of marketing technology vendors with new product offerings this week, debuting its first overarching Sitecore Experience Cloud.

The platform offers a range of content management, digital marketing and commerce tools, new approaches to collecting customer data and real-time insights using machine learning. The vendor also announced Version 9 of its flagship Sitecore Experience Platform for digital experience management, and Sitecore Experience Manager Web CMS solution.

Among the new features on offer is Sitecore xConnect, an API and services framework allowing users to integrate customer interaction data collected by Sitecore with customer data from other third-party systems. Sitecore’s Cortex machine learning engine then generates real-time insights across both native and third-party data.

The vendor said Cortex will see customer behaviours, decisions, interactions and outcomes continuously processed and optimised, allowing marketers to tap into new segments and revenue opportunities.

New functionality included in Version 9 of the vendor’s Experience platform are newly designed and automated Web forms, headless capabilities for developers wanting to deliver digital experience to IoT, wearable and other mobile devices, connections to Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM systems, and greater security and control features.

“Effective marketing today requires knowing how customers are engaging with your brand in real time,” said Sitecore CEO, Mark Frost. “With Sitecore experience Cloud, Sitecore Cortex and Version 9 of both Sitecore XP and Sitecome XM, Sitecore remains at the forefront of innovation.”

Maximizer unveils latest CRM upgrade

Maximizer has revealed the latest version of its CRM offering, promising more flexible deployment options as well as all-inclusive prices.

Maximizer CRM 2018 includes a number of new features, such as a new app directory to connect records with business critical apps including outlook and Gmail. There’s also an import tool for integrating data from spreadsheets, a revamped global edit and new partner portal.

“It’s all about having accurate, relevant data close at hand,” said Maximizer head of product development, Jan Carter. “Customer engagement is incredibly complex and forward-facing teams need to make informed decisions on the fly, meaning they typically work with multiple apps – a CRM, email, chat, financial history and much more.

“Maximizer uses can now win customer loyalty anytime, anywhere, using one secure platform that makes integration easy and speeds you up.”

Blis integrates with Lotame

Location data technology company, Blis, has integrated data from DMP player, Lotame, to bolster its mobile location advertising platform.

Lotame’s Data Exchange will be used to layer more than 5000 new global audience and demographic data sets from publisher partners. This will allow clients the opportunity to overlay more than 3 billion additional global audience profiles, the vendors said.

Lotame said its partnership with bot detection technology company, ‘Are you a Human’, allows it to weed out bots from the data exchange more successfully, adding its fraud traffic has been verified by independent fraud companies at less than 1 per cent.

Blis said having access to the new data sets will help it more accurately target people and verify traffic in real time.

“Like Blis, Lotame are known to be the best in its field when it comes to strategic data matching and segmentation,” Blis Australia MD, Nick Ballard. “This partnership is a natural development for both companies, as we continue to offer the market’s most efficient and effective mobile location audience data.”

Big Mobile strikes deal with Widespace on DSP

Big Mobile and Widespace are joining forces to roll out their mobile DSP solution across Australia and New Zealand.

Big Mobile provides a brand algorithm to assist with providing high viewability, transparent and brand safe mobile programmatic display advertising. The company says it has run more than 100 brand campaigns across Asia-Pacific and integration with more than 50 local publishers including Nine, Viva News and Singtel.

Widespace, meanwhile, has a platform designed to identify users with an anonymous device fingerprint ID, measuring ad engagement and browsing behaviour in order to serve up more relevant advertising. It also then identifies similar users for further targeting.

In a statement, the pair said they wanted to change the way advertisers use mobile and move beyond desktop metrics of clicks and impressions.

“Big Mobile started as a technology company with Australia’s first ad server and teaming up with Widespace has been a natural progression,” Big Mobile CEO, David Green, said. “Widespace have been on a similar journey to us but on the other side of the global and it made sense to work a lot closer to drive technology into the mobile advertising market.”

TruSignal secures US$5m to strike out on its own

Digital advertising player, TruSignal, has secured US$5 million in Series A funding to help its quest to assist demand-side platforms and data providers use offline data to build people-based lookalike audience for online targeting.

The company, which was founded in 2012 as part of eBureau, will spin out of its sister company as a result of the cash injection. EBureau was acquired by credit scoring player, TransUnion, this week. The funding was led by Redpoint Ventures, Split Rock Partners and Tenaya capital and will go towards building a machine learning-powered product roadmap, as well as hiring more engineers.

With the growing emphasis on people-based marketing and acceptance of lookalike modelling, it was time to break away, said TruSignal president, David Dowhan.

“We now have a critical mass of customers and the timing was just right for us to do this,” he told AdExchanger this week.

You can read the full AdExchanger report here.

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