CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 26 August 21

All the latest martech and adtech news from Adobe, Seismic, Twilio, Qualtrics, InMobi, Liftoff, Vungle, Lytics and Bench.

Adobe purchases Frame.io for US$1.275 billion

Adobe has struck a definitive agreement to purchase cloud-based video collaboration platform, Frame.io, for US$1.275 billion.

Frame.io offers a video production process that provides video editors and project stakeholders with shared workflow and collaboration tools. The offering is used by more than one million users across industries such as media and entertainment.

In a statement, Adobe said the combination of its creative software, including Premiere Pro and After Effects video editing products, and Frame.io’s review and approval functionality, will deliver a collaboration platform that powers a more collaborative video editing process. Adobe said Frame.io also builds on recent innovations for creative collaboration including Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries, Cloud Documents, Design Systems in Adobe XD, Adobe Stock and Adobe Fonts.

“We’ve entered a new era of connected creativity that is deeply collaborative, and we imagine a world where everyone can participate in the creative process,” said Adobe Creative Cloud chief product officer and executive VP, Scott Belsky. “With this acquisition, we’re welcoming an incredible customer-oriented team and adding Frame.io’s cloud-native workflow capabilities to make the creative process more collaborative, productive and efficient to further unleash creativity for all.”

Upon close, Frame.io co-founder and CEO, Emery Wells, and co-founder, John Traver, will join Adobe, with Wells continuing to lead the Frame.io team, reporting to Belsky.

Seismic acquires training and enablement platform

Hot on the heels of raising US$170 million in Series G funding, Seismic has acquired training, coaching and enablement platform, Lessonly, for an undisclosed sum.

The sales enablement vendor said its acquisition of Lessonly provides a better seller experience where sellers can access sales and marketing content alongside learning programs, practice scenarios and coaching plans in one centralised location. The aim of the game is increasing sales productivity, creating closer alignment between sales and marketing strategies, and building better relationships with customers.

Combined data and analytics capabilities will also be available to leaders to track lesson usage, analyse training trends and identify content leveraged by top performers to close the most deals. Lessonly is used by 1200 companies globally and was founded in 2012.

“The combined capabilities of Seismic and Lessonly prepare sales teams and marketers to provide a better experience to increasingly demanding customers, while giving employers a roadmap to upskilling their workforce amid the digital skills shortage,” said Seismic VP Asia-Pacific, Heather Cook.

News of the acquisition came as Seismic confirmed it had raised US$170 under its Series G funding round, led by Permira with participation from JMI Equity, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Jackson Square Ventures and Ameriprise. The latest funding brings Seismic’s valuation to $3 billion. It will be used to continue expanding the company’s platform, R&D and global footprint.

Twilio Segment’s new CDP developer toolkit

Twilio Segment has taken the wrappers off its Developer Toolkit, allowing companies to better customise their Twilio Segment customer data platform (CDP).

Twilio said its fresh Segment CDP offering aims to provide companies with the flexibility to build their own customer data approach on top of its platform, creating products and experiences in-house via a ‘building blocks’ approach. Key features of the new Toolkit include ‘Destination Actions’, allowing users to configure how data is sent to each application. There are also multiple integrations with the platform’s Functions feature, including the ability to add custom data sources and application destinations in addition to those offered via Twilio’s Segment catalogue.

‘Multi-Instance Destinations’ connects a single data source to multiple instances of the same application so teams across a business can trust that they’re using the same data, while new Web libraries are also on offer including Analytics.js 2.0, plus mobile libraries, Swift and Kotlin.  

Twilio acquired Segment last October for US$3.2 billion to combine with its cloud communications services, a move designed to build out its customer engagement cloud offering.  

Qualtrics debuts brand impact simulator

Qualtrics has debuted a new Brand Impact Simulator built on its BrandXMTM platform, aimed at helping marketing and brand custodians better identify opportunities to optimise campaigns based on key brand attributes.

Brand Impact Simulator is a self-service tool that can be used to understand and prioritise brand attributes for the business, such as ‘easy to use’ or ‘ethically sourced’, against key metrics for the business, such as increasing sales, membership growth or improving Web traffic. The aim is to highlight these brand insights to help better direct marketing and brand campaigns to improve brand perceptions and buy-in.

Qualtrics said the Brand Impact Simulator automatically simulates scenarios across a brand’s desired attributes. This is informed by consumer feedback gathered on the Qualtrics feedback platform that surfaces which attributes correlate to a stronger return. For example, the Brand Impact Simulator can surface that a retailer should focus on ‘flexible return policy’ or ‘great customer service’ in its marketing materials, based on what its potential customers say they want from a brand in this category. 

Mobile adtech players partner up

Mobile app monetisation platform, Liftoff, is merging with Vungle, a mobile app discovery and enablement platform.

The two companies claimed the merger, expected to close at the end of September, would result in one of the world’s largest mobile growth platforms powering the US$500 billion global mobile app ecosystem. Under the agreement, Liftoff co-founder and CEO, Mark Ellis, will lead the combined business, while Vungle CEO, Jeremy Bondy, becomes president. The transaction follows private equity investment into both businesses overseen by Blackstone.

The combined entity plan to offer and end-to-end platform for mobile advertising, with the merger accelerating growth initiatives. Liftoff currently delivers more than 2 billion ads daily across 550,000 mobile apps globally using machine learning, prediction intelligence and creative optimisation. Vungle provides a mobile monetisation platform along with tools for user acquisition, creative and content analytics, and boasts of 100,000 direct integrations with mobile app publishers as well as 15,000 content creators.

“In joining forces with Vungle, we offer not only the industry’s most complete and scaled platform, but also maintain our focus on serving our mobile customers without any conflicts or competing offerings,” Ellis said. “I am excited about our next phase of growth and innovation as we create the go-to mobile growth platform of the future.”

Lytics bridges gap between CDP and data warehouse

Lytics has released an open beta of a new solution, Cloud Connect, aimed at better connecting its customer data platform (CDP) to access enterprise data stored in data warehouses such as Snowflake and Big Query.

Lytics Cloud Connect consists of enterprise tool connectors that streamline bringing data into a CDP for personalisation from an organisation’s data warehouse. It does this by surfacing SQL-based segmentations from a company’s customer 360 profiling platform without duplicating or moving data from one infrastructure source to another. These segments can then be activated in key marketing channels through Lytics' network of integrations for personalisation and engagement efforts.

The vendor said the connection of CDP and business data will make it easier to access and execute complex calculations such as sums or lifetime value, deliver predictions, and build custom models that historically have been locked within cloud-based data warehouses.

Alongside the new offering, the vendor is also changing the name of its flagship CDP offering to Lytics Decision Engine, a reflection it said of a CDP approach being a suite of tools including business data sources, rather than just a standalone platform.

InMobi partners up with cybersecurity company

Adtech vendor, InMobi, has partnered up with Human Security (formerly White Ops), a cybersecurity firm focused on mitigating bot attacks.

The partnership will see a direct integration made between InMobi’s marketing and monetisation technologies and Human’s MediaGuard solution, to deliver real-time visibility and protection against malicious bot activity across all inventory within the InMobi Exchange. Human has been fully accredited by the Media Rating Council for coverage against sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT) on desktop, mobile Web, mobile in-app and connected TV, including accreditation for its pre- and post-bid detection against SIVT.

InMobi is also joining the Human Collective as a further step towards disincentivising cybercrime and fraud in the digital advertising ecosystem.

“InMobi is committed to transparency, trust-based relationships and delivering optimal business results to our advertisers globally. We were the first in-app marketplace to have our entire inventory verified by an independent MRC accredited vendor. This partnership reaffirms and enhances that commitment,” said InMobi senior VP and general manager, publisher platform and exchange, Kunal Nagpal.

Bench brings marketing intelligence platform to APAC

Programmatic media solutions provider, Bench, has launched its marketing intelligence platform, Bench Connect, in Asia-Pacific.

The marketing intelligence platform is designed to speed up and scale end-to-end digital media planning, team management and analytics by integrating agencies and advertisers’ existing ad platforms into one dashboard. 

Bench Connect is the brainchild of programmatic media veterans, Gil Snir, Shai Luft and Ori Gold. The paid said automating manual processes that exist within programmatic media workflows will enable data to be mapped from various platforms, visualised and actioned to speed up digital media management. Bench Connect’s promise is to speed up the process of initiating the brief through to launching a marketing campaign to 30 minutes. 

“Our aim is to help today’s busy digital marketers and advertisers save time and reap the rewards of more holistic and scalable ad management,” Ori Gold said.

Bench said it has already acquired major commercial partnerships in Asia-Pacific off the back of the new offering, with details to be announced in the coming weeks. The company is also hoping to 800 per cent growth over FY22 as a result of its platform advancements and approach.

“We expect this number to more than double over the next five years, as the world moves further towards online transactions and realises the rapid growth of digital spending across Asia-Pacific,” Gold added.

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