CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 19 July 2018

All the latest martech and adtech news this week from Blis, Hubspot, AMSRO, Microsoft, Amobee,Omnicom, Sizmek and Google.

Blis debuts blockchain platform pilot

Location-based marketing technology company, Blis, backed by Unilever, Endeit and Beringea, has announced a blockchain pilot platform aimed to add transparency across the data ecosystem.

The platform is in response to increased industry challenges around transparency and verification of data, including location and demographic data, and will run on the IBM Blockchain Platform. 

With the new platform, the source of the geographical data is written to the blockchain, a move designed to give advertisers and data providers greater confidence in the provenance of the data, by providing them with access to a transparent blockchain that is immutable and verified. 

The pilot partner on the platform, Unilever, will help evaluate and refine the service Blis can provide to advertisers and data providers moving forward. 

HubSpot launches Marketing Hub Starter 

HubSpot has launched Marketing Hub Starter, a new software offering that aims to give growing teams the tools they need to start marketing right. 

This new tier of HubSpot’s platform is designed with small businesses in mind, consolidating the capabilities of existing disparate marketing tools into one platform and offering an affordable alternative to other software solutions on the market. Marketing Hub Starter builds off the back of the foundational lead capture features available in HubSpot’s free marketing tool to help teams engage and nurture their contacts. 

The product is integrated with HubSpot’s free CRM and includes: Email marketing, including a drag-and-drop email editor and post-send analytics; list segmentation based on contact properties, email activities, and form submissions; integrations with Facebook and Instagram lead ads; custom lead flow fields for more targeted nurturing; essential reporting that goes beyond email opens and clicks to track returning contacts, top personas, engagement over time, ad performance; and more. 

Market research industry cracks down on shonky behaviour 

The Association of Market and Social Research Organisations (AMSRO) has launched a new digital platform, ‘Phish of the Day’, to highlight fake or illegitimate research activities to the public.  

“AMSRO believes it is incumbent on the market and social research industry in Australia to take a more proactive stance in order to protect the public from unscrupulous operators, if we are to expect ongoing co-operation from the public, whose opinions are the lifeblood of our industry,” said Craig Young, AMSRO president. 

“The recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal and the Banking Royal Commission’s findings of misconduct, both send a clear signal that trust and accountability are central issues for the general public and company leaders.  And, whilst our member organisations take every possible precaution to protect consumer data and are bound to act in an ethical manner, unfortunately, fraudulent activity occasionally targets research companies.

“Our new ‘Phish of the Day’ site is designed to work with member organisations, the public and regulators to protect people’s personal information and member companies’ reputations by targeting ‘shonky’ operators to ensure that Australians can feel confident when they provide their opinions on the matters that affect them,” Young said. 

Phish of the Day enables AMSRO members, as well as the general public, to report any scams or non-genuine market and social research activities to the Association. AMSRO will then investigate any reported non-genuine research conduct and, depending on the severity and nature of the issue, may attempt to work with the organisation to improve their operational practices so they comply with relevant legislation; or report them to relevant federal or State/Territory regulatory or enforcement bodies.

AMSRO also has the power to discipline its own member companies for inappropriate research conduct, including expulsion for serious offences. 

Microsoft 365 announces new tools and features 

Microsoft has made a series announcements including new tools and features to help businesses connect with potential leads. 

One feature will enable businesses to create live events in Microsoft 365. The events can be viewed in real-time or on-demand and will enable interactive discussion with businesses and their customers. 

New capabilities also include artificial intelligence-powered services to enhance the on-demand user experience. For example, speaker timeline, which uses facial detection to identify who is talking so users can jump to a particular speaker in the event; speech-to-text transcription, timecoding; and transcript search, so users can quickly find moments that matter in a recording; and closed captions. 

Microsoft is also extending Microsoft Teams and introducing new capabilities infused with AI to help people connect across their organisation and improve collaboration. Microsoft Teams is available in a free version worldwide including Australia and New Zealand in 40 languages. 

The new Workplace Analytics solution uses collaboration insights from the Microsoft Graph to help people run efficient meetings, create time for focused work, and respect work/life boundaries. 

The new Whiteboard application enables people to ideate, iterate and work together both in person and remotely across multiple devices.

Amobee secures Videology assets

Singtel subsidiary, Amobee, has emerged as the winner in a court supervised auction to acquire the assets of Videology, a now defunct software provider for advanced TV and video advertising, for approximately US$101 million. 

The acquisition, following Videology’s voluntary Chapter 11 restructuring proceedings, includes Videology’s technology platform, intellectual property and certain other assets of estimated net book value of US$5.3 million.The purchase price is subject to adjustments for accounts receivable at closing, estimated to be approximately US$20.9 million. 

The addition of Videology’s capabilities is expected to be a boost to Amobee’s omni-channel platform and aims to help marketers meet growing consumer demand for premium video and connected TV content.

Omnicom debuts people-based marketing platform

Omnicom Group has rolled out Omni, its own people-based marketing and insights platform designed to identify and define personalised consumer experiences at scale across creative, media, and CRM. 

Omni is aimed at delivering a single view of the consumer that can be tracked and shared across all marketing practices. At the core of the platform is a people-based identity graph - a database of connected consumers built from identity authorities including Neustar, LiveRamp and Experian, among several others.

The identity graph links second-by-second consumer behaviours to reveal how people connect, engage and transact with brands, joining data sets using a methodology that respects regional regulatory and privacy practices.

Sizmek pitches bundled programmatic dynamic creative offering 

Sizmek has created a bundled suite of programmatic creative solutions, enabling brands and agencies to execute relevant, personalised advertising at scale. 

The company said it would provide advertisers and agencies with different bundle options that include creative production services, media execution and dynamic creative optimisation tools to increase the adoption of creative-led programmatic buying in the APAC region. 

The programmatic DCO bundle includes three packages depending on campaign goals and sophistication: Simple, intermediate and advanced. There is also a fourth option – AI-powered DCO, which utilises AI and machine learning technology Sizmek secured through its acquisition of Rocket Fuel last year

Sizmek’s AI-enabled product suite includes a product recommendation engine that predicts which offer will appeal to individuals the most, and in what exact moment they will be most receptive. It includes Smart Grid technology that dynamically creates ad formats, layouts and messaging that changes for each impression and ad format. 

The bundle is now available in all markets across Asia including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.  

Google introduces new advertising capabilities 

Google is introducing numerous ad capabilities to its offering including responsive search ads, Maximize lift and Local campaigns.  

Responsive search ads combine creativity with machine learning to help deliver relevant ads. By testing different combinations, Google learns which ad creative performs best for any search query. Responsive search ads will start rolling out to advertisers over the next several months. 

Later this year, Google is rolling out Maximize lift to help reach people who are most likely to consider a brand after seeing a video ad. This new smart bidding strategy is powered by machine learning and automatically adjusts bids at auction time to maximise the impact video ads have on brand perception throughout the consumer journey. Maximize lift is available now as a beta and will roll out to advertisers globally later this year. 

Local campaigns is a new campaign type designed to drive store visits exclusively. Provide business locations and ad creative and Google automatically optimises ads across properties to bring more customers into a store.   

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