CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 13 September 2018

All the latest martech and adtech news this week from Adobe, Deloitte, Episerver, MediaMath, Demandbase, BigCommerce, Beckon, Impact and MediaRails.

Deloitte acquires Magnetic Media Online AI 

Deloitte has acquired Magnetic Media Online's artificial intelligence (AI) platform business in a bid to better service marketing clients.

It is hoped the acquisition will help make Deloitte Digital's Experience Services platform both smarter and faster. It also signals the continued focus on delivering clients better data management capabilities, AI and machine learning-driven insights, and the ability to turn insights into action through Deloitte Digital's creative capabilities and software alliances. This will allow for more relevant content, better customer experiences and more accountable growth for clients.

Founded in 2008, Magnetic is a privately-owned adtech and targeting business driven by AI technology. The group applies machine learning to determine the optimal channel, timing, message and content for each consumer interaction, tapping into 350 million live user profiles alongside real-time inventory supply and bid opportunities.

“To enable an end-to-end experience, our clients need to collect, analyse and integrate their audience and customer interaction data across the enterprise,” said Deloitte Consulting principal and Deloitte Digital’s Experience Services offering leader, Angel Hollis Vaccaro. "By combining Magnetic’s audience data capabilities with Deloitte Digital's customer data experience, we can help our clients do just this inside their own environment, designed to give them full control and transparency

“Add on Magnetic's AI/ML capabilities alongside Deloitte’s software alliances, and you have real-time decisioning that can deliver the right content, to the right person, at the right time—across any channel.”

Magnetic's product and engineering employees will join Deloitte Digital's Experience Services group based across a variety of offices.Financial terms were not disclosed.

Episerver sale valued at US$1.16bn

Also being acquired this week is Web content management vendor, Episerver. The company has struck a definitive agreement with New York-based private equity firm, Insight Venture Partners, which is focused on high-growth investments in the technology sector, in a transaction valuing Episerver at US$1.16 billion.

Episerver said it expected the transaction to propel its global growth strategy and market presence, and dramatically expand adoption of it Digital Experience Cloud platform.

“We believe that this new and exciting partnership with Insight Venture Partners will provide us with the ability to accelerate our product roadmap, expand our sales and marketing efforts, enhance our partner program, and ultimately grow our brand,” said Episerver president and CEO, Mark Duffell.

Adobe launches new AI innovations with Adobe Sensei

Adobe has debuted new AI innovations with Adobe Sensei in Adobe Target and Adobe Experience Manager, two core platforms within its Adobe Experience Cloud offering.

The new capabilities are design to help marketers leverage AI to further personalise and optimise each customer’s experience in the moments that matter, on their preferred channels.

Among the fresh functionality for Adobe Target and Adobe Experience Manager, supported by forward-looking projects from Adobe Research, is the ability to personalise augmented reality (AR) shopping experiences by dynamically change product recommendations based on a customer’s facial expressions. There’s also enhanced voice interaction functionality in Adobe Target, which is designed to help users iterate and test  voice-based content and offers for assistants such as Amazon Alexa.

With refined recommendations with AI-powered decisioning, users can automatically choose the best algorithms to deliver personalised recommendations on customer attributes that best indicate behaviour and preference, such as favourite colour or geography. Adobe has also introduced Smart Layout in Adobe Experience Manager to automate layout design for best performance, as well as the ability to optimise in Adobe Target for the highest likelihood of an action.

BigCommerce launches new Checkout SDK

BigCommerce has launched its Checkout Software Development Kit (SDK), a new JavaScript library that aims to make it easy for merchants to utilise the platform's APIs.

Combining built-in PCI compliance and advanced customisation capabilities on a SaaS ecommerce platform, Checkout SDK provides ecommerce brands, agencies and developers the ability to customise the checkout experience to their specifications.

BigCommerce has also partnered with Bolt and Moustache Republic to provide BigCommerce merchants alternative checkout experiences custom built using Checkout SDK.

“Checkout is one of the most valuable parts of a merchant’s online presence and determines whether a sale is made or lost, yet merchants have never had full control over its design or functionality due to the added complexity that accompanies the experience,” said BigCommerce chief product officer, Jimmy Duvall.

“An out-of-the-box solution works for some but others require something truly bespoke, and we want to make sure merchants and developers have all the robust tools they need to create unique, high-performing checkout experiences.”

Beckon introduces new AI capability

Spend and performance marketing management vendor, Beckon, has taken the wrappers off new AI capabilities that aim to automate the complex process of transforming disparate marketing data into actionable insights.

The vendor said it's using AI to analyse marketing data at the source, enforcing it against Beckon’s universal data model, then applying it to Beckon’s proprietary library of industry best practices to anticipate business questions and generate insight reports and dashboards.

“The reality is that most marketing performance measurement projects take months to implement or don’t get off the ground at all because of the sheer volume of work, resources and expertise it requires,” said Beckon CEO, Bernardo de Albergaria.

“Beckon taps into the power of AI to help brands dramatically move up the starting line. Instead of digging through piles of data trying to determine what’s useful, what’s not, and how to structure it, our customers kick-off with good, clean, structured data flows and user-friendly visualisations to quickly provide actionable insights. They get instant value in just a couple of clicks, and then can begin to iterate and customise with a solid data and reporting foundation in place.”

MediaMath's new native advertising offering

MediaMath has launched new creative management offerings and supply partnerships that fully integrate native advertising into its omnichannel DSP.

The adtech vendor said it's aim is to empower clients to leverage a single platform to manage a larger share of their media spend using a creative format.

The new native offering enables clients to upload creative assets in their component parts, such as images, headlines, copy and click-through-URLs, tracking tags, directly into T1, and then use the same assets flexibly across any compatible native inventory.

MediaMath has partnered with Sharethrough, TripleLift and Powerlinks to launch the capabilities with a globally-scaled inventory of native ad opportunities. The vendor has also been testing leveraging the same framework to target Facebook and Instagram inventory with the same creative units. Product features include: Single platform workflow, improved customer experience, premium inventory, and bulk creative upload.

Impact purchases Mediarails

Paid media management platform provider, Impact, has completed its acquisition of Mediarails. The deal adds full CRM and marketing automation capabilities to the Impact service offering for discovery, recruitment and engagement of new digital marketing partners, including influencers.

Mediarails's platform is aimed at performance marketing teams and is designed to help them manage affiliate and digital media partners and influencers. It also includes functionality for media measurement, attribution and optimisation.

As a part of the Impact suite of technology products, Mediarails will continue to be offered as a standalone service. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Demandbase aims to fine-tune B2B targeting

Demandbase has unveiled its Targeting Solution, which it claims will dramatically improve how B2B advertisers and marketers reach their buyers.

The new solution leverages AI-powered intent data to more accurately identify and reach target buying committees. The Demandbase Targeting Solution also includes a new level of control and visibility for customers, exposing the real impact of media dollars in terms of accounts, opportunities and deals, rather than just impressions and clicks.

To do this, the AI-powered solution processes over 150 billion intent signals each month to target the right buyers while optimising cost and performance. Functionality includes the ability to build and manage account-based marketing (ABM) audiences based on firmographic data and intent profiles; tools to create and execute advertising campaigns reaching target accounts and key buyers with personalised messaging; and advertising impact measurement along with engagement, conversions and opportunities at the account level.

Demandbase said users can also export audiences to data management platforms, compare the performance of multiple advertising channels based on key ABM metrics, and improve SEO and paid search performance by discovering which keywords should be used for different business audiences.

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