CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 7 June 2018

All the latest martech and adtech news this week from Pegasystems, Adobe, Integral Ad Science, Domo and more

Pegasystems makes flurry of product and strategy announcements

Customer platform vendor, Pegasystems, has made a number of significant announcements during its annual global conference.

The first is the release of self-optimising campaigns, a new Pega Marketing capability that aims to reduce marketers’ dependence on traditional segment-based campaigns and transitions them towards real-time, one-to-one engagements.

Based on artificial intelligence (AI), the functionality personalises offers and treatments on the fly for each individual with the aim of simplifying inherent campaign development complexity. The software automatically selects the most relevant customer audience and balances the mix of offers, actions, and treatments to achieve their pre-selected campaign goals. Campaigns are broken into waves so Pega AI can learn with each iteration and continuously adapt its approach.

Pega has also opened the path to blockchain, announcing the availability of the Pega Blockchain innovation kit to demonstrate how it’s looking to use blockchain within its on-boarding applications.

The testing kit aims to provide a proof of concept (POC) template for banks to test how Pega Know Your Customer (KYC) and Pega Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) can use the Ethereum blockchain, one of the pre-dominant blockchain technologies in the market, within the overall orchestration of their onboarding processes.

This allows clients to see how Pega can contribute KYC and CLM data sets to Ethereum and receive verified data blocks back into their Pega-driven processes. The kit comes with a predefined Smart Contract that governs how clients can read from and write to the blockchain.

Both of these new solutions are being offered as part of Pega Infinity, the vendor’s new-look digital transformation software suite. With enhancements to Pega’s customer engagement applications and digital process automation (DPA) platform, Pega Infinity aims to help organisations accelerate digital transformation across all areas of their business.

The vendor claims the new offering provides the industry's only unified digital foundation connecting front-end digital customer experiences with back-end process automation. Features include self-optimising, AI-powered marketing campaigns, new customer interfaces, robotic automation, Pega Workforce Intelligence, an expanded bot library, enhanced virtual assistant for email with OCR, the blockchain kit for Ethereum, open drag-and-drop integration with RPA bot connectors, end-to-end automated testing, and free, cloud-based, AI-powered app optimisation.

To support the new product offerings, Pega has launched an opn online community for users of all experience levels to build better software without coding.

Pega Community aims to allow anyone to access the latest resources and tutorials around Pega Infinity, Pega’s digital transformation suite. The ambition is to change how software gets built and redefine who gets to build it by providing an educational resource for Pega’s no-code development environment.

Key features include Pega Launchpad, Pega Community Profiles, Find a Pega Pro, and Project Hub.

The community is being complemented by the new Pega Independent Software Vendor (ISV) program. Users will now be able to extend and augment existing Pega solutions from a certified library of new solutions, while qualified partners benefit from accessing new business opportunities.

Domo files for proposed Initial Public Offering

Business intelligence vendor, Domo, has taken the first steps towards becoming a listed company, filing a registration statement on Form S-1 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of shares of Class B common stock on 1 June. 

The offering will be made only by means of a prospectus. A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission but has not yet become effective. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined.

Domo provides a cloud-based data reporting and analytics platform. The company was founded in Utah by former Omniture chief, Josh James, who sold his former digital analytics company to Adobe for US$1.8 billion in 2009. After years of quietly building its platform, Domo launched in 2015 and quickly gained a market valuation of US$2 billion from investors.

Domo reported a net loss of US$176.6 million for the year ending in January, narrower than $183.1 million loss the year prior. Revenue was US$108.5 million for the year ending in January, up from $74.5 million the prior year.

Vista acquires IAS

Integral Ad Science (IAS)  has entered into a definitive agreement to be majority acquired by Vista Equity Partners (Vista), a private equity firm focused on investments in software, data and technology-enabled businesses.

IAS provides ad verification and optimisation technology. Vista’s support will enable the adtech company to drive innovation and endeavour to solve digital advertising challenges, expanding capabilities into additional advertising channels, and scaling the business into new global markets. The deal reportedly values IAS at about US$850 million.

“Brand safety, viewability and ad fraud are serious challenges to marketers and publishers around the globe. We live in a digital world and IAS plays a critical role in enabling brands, agencies, publishers, and platforms to navigate the advertising ecosystem,” said co-founder and president of Vista Equity Partners, Brian Sheth.

IAS investors Accomplice, August Capital, and Sapphire Ventures will remain shareholders. The transaction is expected to fully close in Q3 2018. 

LivePerson launches LiveEngage for Voice Assistants 

LivePerson has debuted LiveEngage for Voice Assistants, aimed at helping brands connect conversationally with consumers using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

The vendor claimed it is first scalable conversational platform for the enterprise and delivers two key innovations for consumers: The ability to easily switch device or location without losing the flow or context; and to access to both bots and human staff in one thread.

LiveEngage for Voice Assistants puts in-home assistants to work for consumers as part of a wider, continuous connection to the brands they use, from any location, and on the consumer's preferred schedule.

Adobe debuts augmented reality building tool

Adobe has taken the wrappers off Project Aero, a new augmented reality (AR) authoring tool and system aimed at allowing creatives to build combined digital and physical experiences.

The AR capabilities will be available in the vendor’s Photoshop CC and Dimension CC platforms and were unveiled during this week’s Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC).

Adobe has also struck deals with Apple and Pixar to add USDZ support into its Creative Cloud apps and services. This will allow software users to convert assets into USDZ that can be natively used within the Apple ecosystem.

In a blog post, Adobe said the ambition was to make it easier for designers and developers to bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds.

“We see Project Aero as the first step to outfit creative professionals with the tools they need to create immersive experiences that will transform the world,” the company stated.

SoundCloud announces programmatic partnership with AppNexus 

SoundCloud has struck a partnership with AppNexus which will see SoundCloud’s audio and video inventory available programmatically via the AppNexus Marketplace.

Buyers can access 15 and 30-second pre-roll and in-feed audio and video spots from SoundCloud through open marketplace real-time bidding or through private deals. Buyers can target SoundCloud’s inventory based on age, gender, geography, genre and device type. 

“We’re eager to leverage the strength of AppNexus’ global multi-format open marketplace and robust technologies to deliver a new solution to advertisers as we continue to expand our programmatic offering,” SoundCloud head of global sales and partnerships, Chris Blackburn, said.

SoundCloud’s ad-supported offering is available in nine markets.

Outbrain acquires ad optimisation startup

Content discovery and recommendations vendor, Outbrain, has acquired Israeli user interface optimisation startup, AdNgin, for an undisclosed sum.

The deal is Outbrain’s sixth acquisition, and is being pitched as another aggressive growth play. AdNgin’s offering is designed to help personalise the reader experience online based on their visual preferences. The pair said the combination of their two technologies will help drive better content interactions, lifting clickthrough rates (CTRs) and revenue per million (RPM) for publishers.

The deal was done after a six-month pilot delivered consistent double-digit CTR lifts, the companies said.

“AdNgin removes the guesswork of digital advertising, allowing us to automate the optimization of our reader experience,” said Outbrain head of global operations, Asaf Porat. “It’s fascinating to see a technology that can make continuous improvements and lead to significant uplifts of RPMs and CTRs.”

Techfront and MediaSeed launch new 40-metre super site in Brisbane’s CBD

Techfront Australia, together with MediaSeed announced the upgrade of the permanent 15 square metre LED screen in Brisbane’s King George Square to a 40 square metre super-site with multiple display uses for advertisers, including brand messaging, to be run in the form of a TVC, animation or static slide.

“This incredible asset will provide consumers with engaging and enriching content, allow for councils to build and activate community initiatives, along with providing brands to seamlessly connect with their consumers for deeper, effective communication and engagement,” Techfront chief commercial officer, Nick Ebbeck, said.


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