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Brands can now target Google audiences using Salesforce and Ticketmaster is the first to try it

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Google is opening up the ability for brands using its Analytics 360 tool to activate audiences outside of its ecosystem through a tie-up with Salesforce with brands including Ticketmaster already trialing the software.

The integration deepens the relationship between Google and the CRM-giant with the latter touting the ability to bring insights from both platforms together at the click of a button as a way to build and execute “more effective”, and more personalised, campaigns.

Effectively, consumer data from Google’s Analytics 360 product can now be combined with Salesforce data. Marketers will be able to view these combined insights in Salesforce Marketing Cloud; making it easier to analyse cross-channel insights in one place and tailor pushes accordingly.

The partnership between the two tech giants follows on from a co-op deal to pool data for advertisers which was announced at the end of last year and forms part of a wider partnership.

Ticketmaster is currently trialing the product with a view to rolling out across its wider marketing mix from the third quarter of the year.

On Wednesday (13 June), Salesforce also announced updates to its AI software Einstein including more pin-point segmentation and a tool called 'splits' which leverages machine learning to "create unique, personalised journey paths for each customer".

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Connecting head and heart: The new anatomy of advertising personalisation

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Personalisation in the advertising industry probably began 60 years ago when Lester Wunderman first invented the idea of direct mail and the concept of targeting messaging to individual consumers.

It took the rest of the industry a few years to catch up but catch up it did and so began half century of mailboxes piled high with “personal offers” addressed to you, or similar(ish) to you, or someone who lived in your house three moves ago.

While it was understood that the more personalised the approach, the more likely it was to be read; the execution was too often poorly carried out, losing the impact for the intended consumer.

However, just as personalised advertising was approaching its half century it had the opportunity to reinvent itself with the advent of the internet. Digital advertising enabled newer, better opportunities for targeting, tailoring and personalisation. However, collectively the industry failed to treat this new toy with the appropriate respect and so consumers went from junk mail in the post to being stalked online by a product they might have idly clicked on during last week’s lunch break.

These blunt-force trauma tactics applied by the industry could be less like a friendly invitation to respond, than doorstep intimidation demanding money (or at least attention) with menaces.

Getting personalisation right is the Holy Grail of digital and as a result of conversations with clients, rarely get past social niceties before it’s brought up. Every client demands personalisation because they realise (much like the first agencies to get typists to address individual mailing labels) it can drive instant, measurable results to the bottom line, especially when sat on top of a smart e-commerce platform.

The steady move to e-commerce over the last two decades has increased the need for personalisation. Even the most traditional of companies, who may be used to selling through distributors, dealers and partners, are actively looking to incorporate e-commerce in their channel mix. However, this can be confusing to businesses relatively new to digital thinking as traditionally, the e-commerce and customer experience have been kept separate from each other.

Customer experience has taken the role of relationship builder or the “heart” of a brand, while the e-commerce function acts as the “head”, powering transactions and operations. For a truly personalised experience, head and heart need to converge and work together.

To date, the commerce experience has tended to be behind the login wall where it interacts with enterprise systems – often on an entirely different technical platform, with an entirely separate team to the front-end customer experience, which often sits under marketing’s purview. This can mean that personalisation is also disjointed with the front office employing tactics like geo-targeting or device analysis to tailor recommendations, while the back-end deploys different tools from logged-in journeys using more specific data to proactively suggest products aka The Amazon Approach.

However, adopting a truly joined-up approach requires not just lip service but substantial investment in infrastructure such digital platforms or data capability and more importantly, a true culture shift for many organisations.

Customer experience is now recognised as a journey that connects all touchpoints, meaning that personalisation needs to seamlessly span multiple channels regardless of where the customer is. As a result, the concept of “headless e-commerce” is starting to gain traction, recognising that customer experience is best handled by a unified experience platform for a more harmonious approach.

This approach recognises that the path to personalisation may begin way before a customer reaches a site. Advances in programmatic advertising can now not only crunch the analytics on visitor data before displaying an advert but can apply dynamic creative to assemble a creative execution targeted at that individual. This data can be passed onto the website on click through, replacing the outdated concept of a “landing page” as the site itself can be fully personalised for the visitor – down the product or service recommendations determined even before a customer reaches the e-commerce engine. Crucially, this can be done without using any personally identifiable data and so avoids issues around GDPR.

Once the customer reaches the logged-in experience, then the granularity of data increases exponentially and new AI (artificial intelligence) tools help to bring this information together rapidly with customer specific data such as purchase histories aligned to other sophisticated data sources. For example, ASOS can use AI to match clothing images that customers upload to similar items in their catalogue.

Some tools even combine this with external data such as local weather forecasts to tweak recommendations – imagine if ASOS can suggest an umbrella that matches the new coat you bought last week that can be delivered with a drone to your office just as the heavens open?

Now that personalisation is officially a sexagenarian perhaps it’s time to retire the old way of working and thinking to really maximise the e-commerce experience to create experiences that transcend organisational silos and enhance the customer journey.

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AT&T eyes programmatic giant AppNexus for $1.6bn

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US telco AT&T is reportedly in talks to snap up ad tech firm AppNexus for a possible $1.6bn (£1.2bn), according to Wall Street Journal, in a move that would equip it with firepower enough to take on the likes of Facebook and Google in the advertising space.

The news emerges just a week after AT&T’s $85bn (£64bn) acquisition of Time Warner, while a bid for the New York programmatic specialist would likely be backed by the complete buyout of Otter Media, a video streaming company already part-owned by the telco, and a number of smaller ad tech deals.

Following AT&T’s purchase of the media giant, the group’s CEO, Randall Stephenson, told CNBC there would be further mergers to cement an advancement in advertising; "You should expect some smaller, not like Time Warner, but some smaller M&A in the coming weeks to demonstrate our commitment".

Meanwhile, asked about an upcoming play for AppNexus, AT&T advertising and analytics CEO, Brian Lesser, reportedly didn’t confirm, but did concede that, “we need more tech”.

'More tech'

Since his appointment to the role last year, having previously served as GroupM North American CEO and as a board member of AppNexus itself, Lesser has been tasked with advancing the telco’s ad business based on data from its TV, mobile and broadband services.

He’s also tasked with managing ad inventory on the company’s pay-TV offering, of which AT&T is now the largest provider in the US following the acquisition of DirecTV. However, given a slowdown in subscriber rates, AT&T is moving towards an ad-supported streaming service, DirecTV Now.

This is where AppNexus could be a real boon; as AT&T would be looking to tap into its wealth of user data to target and serve different ads to different households, known as addressable advertising, the ad tech could provide the full platform, technology and know-how to achieve this.

In terms of competing against the ad tech dominators, Facebook and Google, and to a slightly lesser extent Netflix, a merger would allow AT&T to fully capitalise on its masses of hard-to-come-by wireless consumer data and a range of ad formats including TV and digital video.

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Adobe adds batch of new marketing tech & analytics features

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Adobe has announced a suite of updates to its cloud marketing stack, including attribution improvements and the ability to hyper-personalise ads for marketers in the travel sector.

The software company launched Attribution IQ at Cannes Lions earlier this week, an update to its Analytics Cloud that will offer marketers a 10 different models for measuring the effect of their marketing campaigns.

In a blog post, Adobe Analytics’ senior product manager, Trevor Paulsen, said the product would “allow brands to break from the reliance on first-touch and last-touch attribution” to help marketers better understand how today’s customers are influenced.

“[Attribution IQ] is the only solution in-market that allows you to dive deeper into the specific campaigns, products, or internal promotions, giving fair credit to the impact of channels like social and mobile while showing how this differs amongst different individuals, products, or creative campaigns,” said Paulsen.

“Instead of seeing the first and last scene of a movie, brands can now access the full film,” he added.

The update comes when many retailers are seeing a decline in foot traffic and an insurgence of digital competitors, providing the justification needed to up and secure budgets for creative online campaigns.

Adobe says users of the product could see that paid and organic social are driving customers of particular segments – such as female Gen Z millennials – to revisit and complete cart purchases, for example, where this behaviour would have been “invisible” before.

“Instead of simply comparing display versus social ads, for instance, users can now see how individual campaigns and even specific keywords performed using a rich set of attribution models,” said Paulsen.

The programme will be available within Adobe Analytics’ Analysis Workspace tool, providing a visualised customer journey and all points where the consumer interacted with a brand.

Tracking travelers

Adobe’s Experience Cloud claims use from nine out of 10 of the world’s largest hotel chains and seven out of 10 of the largest airlines, and some powerful new features are now available to track travelers across touchpoints and use the amassed data for powerful personalised advertising.

How a consumer interacts with an airline’s app can be challenging to track effectively, explains Nate Smith, also a product manager at Adobe Analytics.

“[…] a traveler may check-in the day prior to the flight on their laptop, open the app to gain access to the boarding pass once in the security line and may check the weather at their destination while onboard, using the in-flight wifi.”

However, the expanded integration between Adobe Analytics and Audience Manager could help an airline understand this as one customer journey, allowing marketers to better analyse consumers’ needs at each step and drive customer experiences “quickly and at scale”.

This would improve brands’ capacity to personalise ads based on data such as purchase history, loyalty programme status and online actions.

“A hotel chain can identify customers who have already purchased a room in the past month, and curtail advertising towards that group, ultimately driving greater ad efficiency,” Smith adds.

A final update, meanwhile, comes to Adobe Advertising Cloud. Seeking to ride on the rise of smart speakers, such as Amazon Alexa, Bose SoundTouch and Sonos, advertisers are now able to target 90-second audio ads on Tune-In, a service with more than 75 million listeners and over 120,000 radio stations.

These can be targeted by device type, station type or multicultural segment.

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