CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 24 March 2022

All the latest martech and adtech news from Linktree, Qualtrics, Validity, Amperity, Delacon, Tableau, Tealium, Phrasee, Zeta and ArcaMax.

Linktree raises US$110 million

Our first capital raise this week is from Linktree, which secured US$110 million in a series round of funding led by Index and Coatue.

The latest investment brings Linktree’s total valuation up to US$1.3 billion and follows a boost from AirTree Ventures and Insight Partners last year. The company provides a link-in-bio category creator that allows users to create a consolidated online identity to showcase and monetise their profile.

The company has 24 million users globally including artists such as Selena Gomez, Noah Beck, Shawn Mendes and Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson, along with brands such as Red Bull and Comedy Central. It also claims to have driven 1.2 billion clicks to commerce-related websites in the last year.

Linktree plans to use the new funding to focus on more geographic expansion, recruitment, revenue streams and further value for its creators and brands via new tools and partnerships.

“We are quickly growing beyond the traditional 'link-in-bio' company, connecting users’ fragmented online presence and establishing our position as a new sub-sector of the tech industry. This funding will ensure we continue to innovate and develop tools that empower people to grow, curate, and monetise their digital universe, maintaining Linktree as the market leader,” said Linktree co-founder and CEO, Alex Zaccaria.

The company has also appointed its first US president, Mike Olson, to drive growth. Olson’s background includes operational and growth roles at Twitch, Pandora, LinkedIn and Microsoft.

Amperity debuts profile accelerator for Adobe platform

Amperity has taken the wrappers off Amperity Profile Accelerator for Adobe, aimed at giving brands a more complete and actionable customer view.

The customer data platform (CDP) provider said the latest integration enhancement is the first in a series of solutions designed to maximise marketing cloud investments and enable deeper, unified customer profiles.

Amperity Profile Accelerator for Adobe allows brands to quickly leverage Amperity’s configurable technology and expertise in building customer databases that conform to a variety of data formats and requirements across Adobe solutions. Specific capabilities include frictionless ingestion of data from any source; artificial intelligence-based identity resolution and unified customer profile creation; intelligence customer attributes to make data use more instantaneous; a pre-configured database conforming to Adobe standards, and ready-to-use profile integration along with flexibility to bring in Amperity’s other tech integrations.

Tealium ramps up data integration features

Rival CDP provider, Tealium, is also upping the ante on integration this week with its Spring 2022 product release.

The company said its latest product enhancements, which span data connect, data sync and Tealium functions, expand on the platform’s flexibility and integrations so businesses can access data from wherever it lives, optimise it and use it to drive customer value.

New additions include workflow automation for access and use enterprise data sources within the Tealium platform; the ability to immediately activate data directly from companies’ data warehouses or reference that data alongside the customer profile for better context; synchronised customer engagement data with enterprise data warehouses; developer tools and APIs that customise data flows to transform, enrich and integrate data; and enhanced integrations with TikTok Events, Google Analytics 4, Meta Custom Audiences and Amazon ads.

Qualtrics unveils digital experience metrics

Qualtrics says the launch of its Digital Experience Metrics framework will ensure its users can better quantify the financial impact of customers’ digital experiences and compare them across industry.

Digital Experience Metrics is a framework designed to measure how a customer’s digital experience across an organisation’s website, mobile apps, digital marketing and social channels impacts how much they spend. The capability has been built into Qualtrics CustomerXM and includes a set of validated questions that measure three key aspects of digital experience: Emotion (measured by customer satisfaction); effort (measured by how easy or difficult was it to complete a task); and success (measured by task completion).

The vendor noted fresh Qualtrics research, embedded and available within the DX Metrics, showed increasing a customer’s satisfaction score can increase spending by up to 37 per cent. Reducing effort required to complete a task online can also lead to a 23 per cent increase in spending.

The framework comes with dashboard templates and recommendations to help marketing and product leaders understand how certain factors, such as account creation process or Web checkout user experience improvements, impact customer sentiment the most, and which actions they can take to improve each factor.

The data gathered in DX Metrics and digital XM solutions is going into Qualtrics Experience ID, a unified view of the preferences people are sharing with a brand. According to the vendor, there are now five billion Experience IDs on the Qualtrics XM Platform.

Private equity firms buys majority stake in Phrasee

Private equity fund, capital D, has bought a majority stake in Phrasee, an AI-powered natural language generation platform for online marketing.

The deal sees capital D becoming the first majority institutional investor in Phrasee, sitting alongside its founders with a 64 per cent stake. It’s the fourth platform investment since capital D’s inception, and the second investment into a company with artificial intelligence core to its product. Investment funds managed by Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital, together with a group formed by Keyhaven Capital Partners and family offices co-invested alongside capital D.

Founded in 2015, London-based Phrasee is an AI-powered SaaS platform looking to disrupt customer communications through brand language optimisation. The platform uses data science and a proprietary natural language generation engine to generate, automate and optimise marketing language in real-time across email, SMS, Web and social media campaigns.

Phrasee's clients include enterprises across multiple business sectors in the US and Europe. As a result of the transaction, the consortium led by capital D will partner with Phrasee's founders, Parry Malm, Vic Peppiatt and Neil Yager, to support the next phase of growth. This includes developing Phrasee's products across a wider range of customer-journey touchpoints and media channels, as well as enhancing its commercial organisation both in direct enterprise sales and customer success, and by establishing software vendor partnerships.

“Phrasee has developed a compelling AI-powered language generation platform that is revolutionising the way companies are engaging with their customers in real time. We are proud to become Phrasee's partner and believe we can add material value in supporting its continued success,” capital D partner, Daryl Cohen, said.

Zeta acquires ArcaMax to enhance data, marketing capabilities

Martech vendor, Zeta, has also made an acquisition this week, picking up ArcaMax in order to extent its first-party data ecosystem.

ArcaMax develops and distributes interest-based newsletters and has a large permissioned data set derived from millions of subscribers. Zeta said the acquisition builds on the success of its Apptness purchase, announced in October 2021, adding permissioned consumer data, growing the number of behavioural signals and creating more opportunities for marketers to engage with high-intent audiences.

Zeta said it will leverage the newsletter platform’s permissioned data to strengthen its Data Cloud’s foundational identity graph and accelerate development of a permissioned data ecosystem. The acquisition will also extend capabilities within the Zeta Marketing Platform (ZMP), expanding premium touchpoints through ArcaMax’s technology and newsletter enhancements with over 235 million permissioned US identities within the Zeta Data Cloud.

“We are excited to integrate ArcaMax’s impressive technology and content into the ZMP, the permissioned data sets into the Data Cloud, and their very talented team into our organisation to help our customers create better consumer experiences and achieve higher return on investment,” said Zeta Global co-founder, chairman and CEO, David A. Steinberg. “Similar to the Apptness acquisition, we anticipate ArcaMax to be additive to our technology and data footprint and accretive to our top and bottom lines.”

Financial terms have not been disclosed. Zeta recently announced its Zeta 2025 plan to get to at least US$1 billion in revenue with over 20 per cent EBITDA growth in the next three years.

Delacon and Tableau team up

Delacon has partnered up with Tableau to better visualise data sets coming out of its call tracking software platform.

The integration entails Delacon pushing call tracking data into the Tableau data visualisation platform, which it says will make it easier for customers to explore and manage their data. Data collected by Delacon can then be categorised and matched against the other data provided to assist companies with their marketing plan.

When the Delacon data is fed through to the Tableau platform, the interactive component allows users to highlight which media campaigns are producing the most telephone calls and adjust their marketing strategy according to the level of caller engagement.

Validity for Good ensures critical emails reach Ukraine inboxes

Email data quality provider, Validity, has expanded its crisis communications program, Validity for Good, to ensure senders can keep delivering messages relevant to the Ukranian crisis globally.

According to Validity, email remains one of the most essential communications channels during the Ukrainian crisis, yet organisations are facing the increasing reality that emails containing critical messages about public welfare are failing to get through to citizens. One of the issues is sending to complete email lists rather than targeted segments in order to get a message across, overwhelming spam filtering algorithms. Bad actors exacerbate the issue through phishing, malware, ransomware, and spam.

Using the Validity for Good email delivery service, organisations can ensure messages related to public safety are getting through. The company is achieving this through an updated and expanded version, providing an expedited path to certification for critical infrastructure, governmental and other essential communications related to the crisis. This allows senders to bypass the traditional certification process and get more vital information into the hands of people that rely on it.

“The crisis in Ukraine demands clear and effective communication and our team wanted to help,” said Validity chairman and CEO, Mark Briggs. “Validity for Good, senders gives agencies and organisations’ email campaigns a critical signal to mailbox providers that the sender can and should be trusted, in order to help ensure their critical emails arrive in inboxes, not spam folders.”

Validity’s flagship CRM data management and email verification products include DemandTools, BriteVerify, Everest and GridBuddy Connect.

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