CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 3 June 2021

All the latest martech and adtech news from Qualtrics, Mediafly, Cision, Affable, InMobi, Hootsuite, Engage:BDR and Aternity

Qualtrics bolsters APJ people and tech might

Customer experience management vendor, Qualtrics, is planning to hire 1200 news employees across Asia-Pacific and Japan and is also building a new data centre as it works to aggressively grow its footprint across the region.

The company confirmed it is scaling operations in APAC, recruiting significant headcount by the end of 2024 across sales, professional services, engineering, operations, customer success and marketing. It’s also opened a new headquarters based in Sydney and is building a Singapore-based data centre to better service regional customers and comply with regional data sovereignty requirements.

Qualtrics claims to have experienced significant growth since debuting in APAC in 2015 and formally launched operations in Hong Kong, South Korea, and India last year.

“Organisations around the world are in the middle of an experience transformation – and  there is a massive market and category opportunity ahead of us,” said Qualtrics CEO, Zig Serafin. “We see this as some of the best organisations in the world – like Atlassian, Standard Chartered, Clarins, and Mitsubishi Electric – are using Qualtrics to retain and engage their employees, and to find new customers and keep the ones they already have.”

Affable influencer marketing platform scores US$2m

Influencer marketing platform, Affable, based out of Singapore, has gained US$2.8 million in seed funding to develop its global footprint.

Affable.ai scored the cash injection from Prime Venture Partners, Decacorn Capital SGInnovate. The startup vendor offers a SaaS-based, self-service platform for managing influencer marketing activity and campaigns and counts Huawei, Wipro, Pomelo and Dentsu among its first clients. Capabilities include tracking across more than 3 million influencers across Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and YouTube, along with machine learning and analytics capabilities for planning, discovery, activation and campaign reporting.

The fresh funding will be used to expand the platform out of South East Asia into international markets such as the US.

“Prime brings a depth of experience in scaling global SaaS companies, operational expertise, as well as a strong network that we can leverage during our growth phase and we are very excited to partner with them. At the same time, participation from our existing investors is a great endorsement for us,” said Affable.ai CEO and co-founder, Nisarg Shah.  

InMobi goes mobile-first

InMobi has taken the wrappers off its mobile-first consumer intelligence platform, InMobi Pulse, based on The Trade Desk’s demand-side platform (DSP).

The new partnership sees the two companies providing tools for brands to measure the incremental impact of their campaigns across digital media including mobile Web, desktop and in-app. This is done using in-app brand lift surveys that are delivered programmatically across single creative or a whole campaign, and that help to measure metrics such as brand awareness, ad recall, consideration, favourability and intent to purchase.

According to InMobi, the insights can be used to optimise creative within and across ad formats, as well as media spend or building and redesigning brand messaging.

Hootsuite signs up for Instagram API

Social media management vendor, Hootsuite, has integrated with the new Messenger API for Instagram as part of the social platform’s beta program first announced in 2020.

The new API allows brands and organisations to government Instagram-related communications from their preferred social media and customer care management platforms. The integration is available in the Hootsuite Inbox tool, available to Hootsuite Professional customers and above, as well as Sparkcentral by Hootsuite. The latter is the result of Hootsuite’s acquisition of Sparkcentral in January 2021.

As well as manage conversations, vendor said Inbox users can monitor response times and collaborate within teams via Assignments, designating ownership to ensure more effective workflows. Through Sparkcentral, there’s also automated message distribution for managing Instagram conversations at scale.

Hootsuite customer, Georgia State University, tested the new API as part of the beta program.

“Students don’t see different departments at Georgia State, they just see one, so we get questions about everything from accommodation to billing to class schedules,” said Georgia State University director of content strategy, Terry Coniglio. “Having Instagram messaging in our Hootsuite Inbox workflow helps us direct those questions to the right teams so we can help more students get the answers they need.”

Engage:BDR engages in Smart partnership

ASX-listed ad player, Engage:BDR (EN1), has struck a new partnership with the Smart ad serving platform first created by French premium publisher, AuFeminin.

Smart was originally created to help the publisher control its own programmatic ad inventory. It’s since broadened access to the ad server platform to more than 30,000 premium publishers globally and become a standalone business with revenue growth of Euro140 million in 2020.

Under the new deal, Smart will provide monetisation solutions to EN1 for the company’s advertising inventory.

Mediafly releases new tools for marketers

Mediafly is pitching the latest extension of its ValueStory Tool Builder platform as a key offering for marketers trying to influence and improve sales quality leads.

The sales enablement tech vendor has launched a new version of its platform with self-authoring capabilities for marketers to create management tools such as ROI calculators and value assessments for demand generation that can be deployed on company websites and used to created personalised reports to a customer once analysis is completed.

According to the vendor, ValueStory Tool Builder has an intuitive UI, while its tools integrate into company websites and marketing automation platforms for lead generation, capture and nurturing. Supported platforms include Hubspot and Marketo.

“With the buyer journey becoming ever more digital and self-serve, and buyers delaying contact with sales reps, marketing’s role to engage becomes even greater. There is an opportunity for marketing to help create consistent value enablement across the entire customer lifecycle,” said Mediafly CMO, Isabelle Papoulias. “ValueStory Tool Builder gives marketers highly interactive demand gen tools that not only capture buyers' attention more effectively, but also set the stage for future value-based discussions, resulting in more sales-ready leads.”  

Cision closes Brandwatch acquisition

Cision has closed its acquisition of digital consumer intelligence company, Brandwatch, bringing together its media intelligence platform with the latter’s AI and machine learning technology and deep social listening capabilities.

The company marked the news this week with the launch of an embedded Brandwatch app on Cision’s platforms and enhanced social media analysis across its offerings. It’s also debuted Brandwatch’s app in the Cision Communications Cloud to provide full social data and analytics along with the millions of news sources Cision monitors. The company said instant access to real-time and historical conversations online will make it easy for organisations to stay on top of what is being said about their brand, products, industry and competitors and better engage their target audience with insights from data often difficult to track.

In addition, Cision is combining both Brandwatch and its social media management company, Falcon.io, into one business with 1000 employees. To kick things off, the company has launched an embedded application in the Falcon.io suite featuring Brandwatch’s full data platform including more than 100 million data sources. The offering is also set to be updated in to include Brandwatch’s AI Search functionality soon.

Cision’s acquisition of Brandwatch was first announced in February 2021.

Aternity strives for democratised DEM

US-based digital experience management vendor, Aternity, has debuted its new Digital Experience Index off the back of its core platform.

Aternity is pitching the offering as something for all functions across an organisation, from business and marketing teams through to IT and HR.

Key to the platform providing actionable insights to help companies identify digital experience hotspots across the enterprise impacting employees and customers. Functionality includes real-time digital experience goal setting through customisable analytics to set individual priorities and tech goals; dynamic industry benchmark scoring; machine-powered recommendations across departments; and granular metrics to drive performance and productivity against objectives. The company said the ability to monitor every click in any business application whether they be thick clients or virtual apps.

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