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This is the monthly martech roundup of the top product launches, surveys, and acquisitions in January 2021.

Ever since more brick-and-mortar shops went online due to COVID-19, the sector has received much impetus in the form of product launches, enhancements, and solutions to improve their capabilities and deliver a seamless customer experience. For example, Google Cloud announced a new suite of solutions for retailers in January. Similarly, Adobe announced new enhancements to its Adobe Experience Platform. Further, Acquia launched a new solution for retailers to provide a seamless omnichannel experience across the customer lifecycle.

Here are a few other important product launches, surveys, and hirings that made news in January.

Table of Contents

Top Martech Surveys and Reports in January 2021

Top Martech Product Updates in January 2021

Google Cloud announces Product Discovery Solutions for Retail

Google Cloud announced the launch of Product Discovery Solutions for Retail. The suite of solutions will help retail businesses enhance their ecommerce capabilities and deliver highly personalized experiences to consumers. With this suite of solutions, retailers can implement seamless search and recommendation capabilities that improve consumer engagement and conversions. Google Cloud’s Product Discovery Solutions for Retail brings together AI algorithms and Google Cloud’s scalable infrastructure. The solution suite includes Recommendations AI, Vision API Product Research, and Google Cloud Search for Retail.

“As the shift to online continues, smarter and more personalized shopping experiences will be even more critical for retailers to rise above their competition,” said Carrie Tharp, vice president of retail and consumer at Google Cloud. “Retailers are in dire need of agile operating models powered by cloud infrastructure and technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to meet today’s industry demands. We are proud to partner with retailers around the world and bring forward our Product Discovery offerings to help them succeed.”

Microsoft Advertising offers Filter Link Extensions to increase products and services engagement

Microsoft Advertising announced the addition of Filter Link Extensions to its ad extensions family. With this extension, advertisers can present different features under categorized headers so that users can navigate to the specific categories and key products and offerings quickly. The extension closely resembles the Structured Snippets extension. The setup for the Filter Link Extensions, too, is like Structured Snippets with the addition of enhancement to add URLs. A few key details of the extension are below:

  • Advertisers across many verticals can leverage up to 36 pre-defined headers in all supported languages.
  • The extensions can be shown with other ad extensions, including sitelinks.
  • They are available in all Microsoft Advertising markets, on both mobile devices and PC.
  • The extensions can be created via Microsoft Advertising online only.
  • Clicks on Filter Link Extensions will be charged the same CPC as clicks on the ad headline.
  • The extensions are reported at the header level, not at an individual value level.

Adobe announces Adobe Experience Platform enhancements to help retailers

Adobe announced enhancements to its Adobe Experience Platform to help retailers meet the demand and challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Adobe’s data, online spending grew by 32% in November and December last year, curbside pickup made up 25% of all orders, and 52% of Christmas Day orders came from a smartphone. Any retailer not onboard with supporting these trends and other demands are bound to lose out. To help retailers meet these demands, Adobe added new capabilities to its Adobe Experience Platform. These capabilities include:

  • Leveraging Adobe Customer Journey Analytics with AI to detect anomalies
  • Improving the process of personalized offers and promotions
  • Providing shoppers with a faster online shopping experience

Acquia launches Acquia Digital Commerce for marketers

Acquia announced the launch of Acquia Digital Commerce, a solution that enables marketers to unify data, content, commerce, and digital merchandising into a single data layer. This allows them to deliver a seamless omnichannel experience across the customer lifecycle. Marketers can use Acquia Digital Commerce with Acquia DXP to drive real-time, shoppable, and personalized experiences at every customer touchpoint.

The solution provides the agility to build digital experiences across every channel and the flexibility to support multi-tenant architectures and composable, multi-site experiences. Teams can maximize their investments by integrating the cloud-native, headless shopping platform with Acquia Open DXP. Commerce tools provides an omnichannel shopping platform while the Lucidworks AI-powered product discovery solution delivers personally relevant content and products to customers.

“As retailers adjust to a hybrid of in-person and online commerce shopping behaviors, solutions like Acquia Digital Commerce become even more valuable,” said Kevin Cochrane, SVP of product marketing at Acquia. “By understanding customer segments and serving the right content and products at the right time on the right channel, retailers can reach customers with personal experiences that drive revenue.”

Infosys launches Infosys Cortex to humanize customer experience

Infosys announced the launch of Infosys Cortex, its customer engagement platform. The platform helps businesses by providing intelligence to aid purposeful customer communication, smarter and faster decision-making, and deliver value at scale. The AI-first and cloud-first platform helps enterprises achieve up to 40% faster and more effective agent hiring and learning. Further, it drives up to a 30% improvement in customer satisfaction through intent prediction and self-service.

Infosys Cortex tightly integrates with Genesys Engage™, a multi-cloud architecture-based omnichannel engagement solution. Together, the solutions will allow businesses to deliver fast, convenient, and personalized interactions at every touchpoint. The open architecture of Genesys Engage and an ecosystem of tools and capabilities will enable enterprises to better address the unique challenges and objectives of their industry and customers.

“Our experience of managing the IT landscapes of large complex enterprises, expertise across industry domains, and strengths in enabling workforce learning uniquely equips us to help businesses deliver customer delight. With Infosys Cortex, we can now share with them the digital capabilities to future-proof their customer relationships,” said Ravi Kumar, president at Infosys.

Vimeo launches new video marketing tools to help marketers

Vimeo, the all-in-one video solution, announced the launch of a suite of video marketing tools to help businesses and marketers reach and convert new customers with video. Vimeo also introduced new and enhanced integrations with Mailchimp, HubSpot, Constant Contact, and more to streamline the process of managing and communicating with leads. The tools will allow users to add customizable contact forms to videos, synchronize form submissions directly to their preferred email marketing platform, and engage prospects with in-email video GIFs.

A few key capabilities of the tools include:

  • The ability to create and customize contact forms
  • The ability to integrate with top marketing platforms, such as Mailchimp, HubSpot, and Constant Contact
  • The ability to send engaging emails with GIFs to leads

The video marketing and lead-generation tools are available to Vimeo Business, Premium, and Enterprise users.

“Finding and engaging potential customers with video is an essential component of every successful marketing strategy today. Videos can increase click-through rates up to 300% and convert interested viewers into paying customers,” said Mark Kornfilt, chief product officer, Vimeo. “Our lead-generation solution is designed to be brilliantly simple so every marketer, regardless of budget or expertise, can add the power and utility of video to their toolbox. We are thrilled to take this next step forward in making professional-quality video possible for all.”

Taboola announces beta version of Taboola Stories

Taboola announced the launch of the beta of Taboola Stories, joining the likes of Snap, Instagram, and Twitter, in the “Stories” offering. Taboola Stories offer publishers a new way to engage their readers on their sites using the popular “Stories” format. Taboola’s Stories also provide advertisers an opportunity to reach consumers in new impactful environments on publishers’ websites. Taboola Stories leverages the same recommendation engine as Taboola Feed.

Publishers can embed Taboola Stories within Homepages and articles in mobile environments. They provide readers with updated recommendations, which, once selected, lead to vertical and mobile-friendly stories that circulate automatically. Publishers can recirculate relevant content based on articles readers are consuming, thus significantly increasing their time on their sites.

“Taboola Stories is a big leap forward in the flexibility we have given to publishers, and their abilities to interact with readers. We are fortunate to have spent 13 years innovating to deliver more opportunities for publishers to develop closer relationships with readers and drive more engagement, and revenue in the process,” said Adam Singolda, CEO, Taboola. “Compared to story-driven formats on traditional social media platforms, Taboola Stories offer similar formats, but side-by-side to premium, editorial content that exists in the open web.”

Terminus integrates product with Outreach to bring sales to the front line of ABM programs

Terminus announced its product integration with Outreach, enabling marketing and sales to work together in tight coordination. The two key departments of client companies can work together based on shared account data to support sales and outbound teams for their ABM approach. Outreach users can leverage Terminus’ conversation insights and account-based chat capabilities natively in the Outreach platform through the integration. This helps them to identify high-value accounts in real-time. This also allows them to access Outreach engagement data to build cross-channel sequences to personalize web content, email, and chat for target accounts.

Specifically, the integration provides:

  • Outreach sequences and chat from anywhere
  • Intelligent chat routing
  • Terminus email signatures in outreach email

“This integration brings together the actionable insights from Outreach with Terminus’ account intelligence data in one single solution. These connected workflows help sales and marketing accelerate the cycle from engagement to revenue and meet growth expectations as they navigate evolving sector dynamics,” said Manny Medina, co-founder and CEO of Outreach.

“Now with Terminus, Outreach customers can leverage the powerful account intelligence available in Terminus along with their existing sales engagement programs. This makes it easier than ever for marketing and sales to better engage with the right accounts, and deliver a cohesive experience at every point of the customer journey,” said Tim Kopp, CEO, Terminus.

Pricefx partners with Bain & Company to launch big data powered benchmarking platform

Pricefx launched PricefxPlasmaTM, the pricing industry’s first big data powered benchmarking platform. The platform is powered by Bain & Company and uses real-world pricing data mapped to the industry’s standard KPIs. Using the platform, companies can unravel strategic insights about their pricing processes and performance compared to market averages.

The platform combines a massive amount of anonymized and aggregated quoting and transaction data from industries that are segmented by industry, region, and other factors. This data is then compiled into more than 20 pricing performance indicators, which are delivered into intuitive visual outputs. Some of the KPIs currently measured include detailed price buildup, deal velocity, and the number of list price changes per year, among others.

“Every company is looking for an edge over the competition and pricing is one of the strongest levers for success in the marketplace,” said Marcin Cichon, CEO and co-founder at Pricefx. “By launching the first pricing analytics and intelligence platform via a joint project with our valued partners at Bain, Pricefx is giving its customers a whole new level of cross-industry insights. PricefxPlasma is a revolutionary new offering for the pricing industry, providing businesses the information and insights to improve pricing efficiency and effectiveness and uncover new opportunities for revenue growth.”

Top Martech Surveys and Reports in January 2021

Merkle’s Q4 2020 report shows holiday shopping season pointing toward a “Return to Normalcy”

Merkle released its Q4 2020 Digital Marketing Report (DMR). The research report analyzes and highlights the trend within organic and paid search, paid display ad, Amazon Ads, and paid social ad spending. The quarterly report gives insights into the digital marketing trends heavily influenced by the pandemic-related changes to the holiday season in Q4 2020. It highlights a “return to normalcy” in activities across Google, Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and more.

Overall, the spending growth continued to improve in the last quarter. Shoppers started showing indications of willingness to visit stores, with Google estimating that October 2020 daily store visits were on par with January 2020 levels. Here are a few more key insights.

  • Consumer goods and retail saw strong organic search figures in Q4 (40% YoY growth). Travel saw ad spend improvement from Q3 despite still being down 20% YoY.
  • Google paid search clicks grew 12% YoY, continuing on a path of deceleration back toward Q1 2020 growth levels. Phones dropped to 64% of total paid search clicks in Q4, returning to pre-pandemic levels, while desktop traffic increased as consumers spent more time at home.
  • Sponsored product ad spend growth on Amazon continued to grow to 57% YoY, compared to 50% in Q3. Average CPC rose 8% YoY in Q4 after three-quarters of declines.
  • Spending growth on Facebook remained similar to Q3 levels, mainly driven by CPM seeing YoY increases for the first time since Q1 2020, exhibiting 10% YoY growth. Instagram followed a similar pattern, and Stories continued to gain spend share. Stories made up 33% of spending for participating advertisers. Other social platforms, such as Snapchat, Pinterest, and Twitter, continued to receive solid investment from advertisers.

More than 75% of marketers use push notifications, according to recent survey by CleverTap

CleverTap, an AI-powered customer lifecycle, and user retention platform, recently surveyed mobile and marketing executives and released the Marketing Survey Research: The Biggest Opportunities for Mobile Brands in 2021 report. The report provides insights into over 150 executives’ plans about successfully executing their marketing strategies in 2021 and beyond. According to the report, push notifications are by far the most-used channel. About 77..8% of companies use push notifications to keep customers engaged with their app. Further, a majority of marketers send between 1-5 messages a week.

The following are a few other key insights:

  • 82% of respondents said that the revenue would be the same or higher than in 2019. Over 60% reported revenue growth, and only 17% of respondents reported a lower than expected revenue compared to 2019.
  • Over 65% of marketers said their marketing budget would be higher or stay the same compared to 2019.
  • About 75% of respondents said that using customer data to segment and personalize campaigns is a major goal. Yet, 47.7% of marketing leaders cannot execute same-day insights from their customer data.
  • More than 40% of apps reported low monthly uninstall rates with 20% or less monthly churn.
  • For companies with less than 1% monthly uninstalls, customer retention, monthly active users (MAUs), and session time are the most important metrics to track.

70% of marketing organizations are measured on initiated pipeline: Demand Spring report reveals

Demand Spring recently released the results of their fourth annual Revenue Marketing B2B Benchmark Report. According to the report, revenue marketing played a key role within organizations throughout 2020 and will continue to do so post-pandemic. The report generated by surveying B2B marketers across North America helps them leverage the findings within their organizations. Following are a few key insights from the report:

  • 70% of marketers indicated that they are primarily measured on the initiated pipeline.
  • 31% of marketers have a pipeline-initiated target higher than 40% of the total pipeline. This was a significant growth from 11% last year.
  • Webinars and virtual events came to the forefront in light of COVID-19. 59% of marketers found webinars most effective for generating or progressing leads. 44% found virtual events most effective.
  • Nearly 50% of marketers identified budget as being a barrier to driving pipeline and revenue in 2020. This was an increase of 29% over the previous year.
  • COVID-19 had a significant impact on marketing budgets. 37% of marketers saw a decrease of more than 20%.

According to Socialbakers, social media ad spending spikes more than 50% worldwide

Socialbakers recently released their report on Social Media Trends for Q4 2020. According to the report, social media ad spending skyrocketed during the quarter. At its peak, the ad spends increased by 50.3% compared to the holiday peak in the same quarter in 2019. In North America alone, the peak spending increased by 92.3%. The world also saw an increase in cost-per-click (CPC). Here are a few key insights.

  • Global social media ad spending continued to grow in Q4, with an overall 50.3% increase compared to the same period in 2019. North America alone saw a 92.3% increase, while Western Europe saw a 39.6% increase.
  • The use of video content on social media channels increased in Q4. Video posts on Twitter increased by 26.7% from the previous quarter. It accounted for 17.9% of all posts on Instagram, and 18.1% of all posts on Facebook, in Q4 2020.
  • In terms of video format, Facebook Live was the most engaging type of post on that platform in Q4 2020. This is in line with the growing popularity of live videos.
  • Brands appeared to reduce their use of Instagram influencers for paid ads in Q4. Overall, influencers using #ad dropped by 17.6% year over year (YoY). The number of brands working with influencers with more than 100K audience returned to almost pre-pandemic levels at the close of 2020.

42% of consumers say easy navigation key to good online experience: Contentsquare survey reveals

A new joint survey by Contentsquare, CommerceNext, and BizRate Insights shows that 23% of consumers discovered new brands while 16% stopped shopping with some brands in 2020. The survey also revealed the brand efforts that were most impactful during 2020 and constituents of a good digital experience according to customers. Here are the key findings.

  • Agility ranked a top factor when it came to awareness. 72% of consumers said they were most impressed with brands that were able to “create new alternatives for delivery, pickup and returns.”
  • Transparency over health & safety measures came in second. 44% of respondents noticed clear communications about safety from the brands that responded well during the crisis. This was followed by transparency over shipping delays, with 34% of respondents citing this as noteworthy.
  • With 80% of people doing more online shopping in 2020, navigation is the most crucial factor for an excellent digital experience after price & promotion. 42% of respondents cited “ease of finding what I’m looking for” as a key priority, while 22% cited the importance of an easy checkout.

Top Martech Movers and Shakers in January 2021

Evolv Technology announces Dana Loof as CMO

Evolv Technology, the AI-based touchless security screening system provider, hired Dana Loof as chief marketing officer (CMO). In her new role, Loof will assume all Evolv Technology marketing and communications initiatives’ worldwide responsibility. With a 25-year marketing experience, Loof has a track record in launching innovative and disruptive infrastructure technologies.

Loof previously worked with Palo Alto Networks as VP of marketing for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Additionally, she held key marketing roles at eVault (acquired by Seagate), Veritas (acquired by Symantec), and Oracle.

Domino’s appoints Sarah Baron as chief marketing officer

Domino’s Pizza announced Sarah Baron as its new CMO. She will now take over from Simon Wallis, the interim CMO in addition to international managing director. Baron previously worked as the chief growth officer (CGO) at Costa Coffee. She joined Costa as CMO in 2016 and rose to the position of CGO in 2019. Before that, Baron worked for more than 11 years at Cadbury and rose to the position of managing director for Green and Black’s. She quit Cadbury in 2011 and worked as an independent consultant before joining Costa.

NBCUniversal promotes Josh Feldman to First Global CMO

As part of the restructuring, NBCUniversal (NBCU) elevated Josh Feldman to global chief marketing officer of its advertising and partnerships division. Feldman has been working with NBCU for the past five years and served as executive vice president, head of marketing and advertising creative in his last role. Before working with NBCU., he worked with Turner Broadcasting System as VP and sales manager.

What do you think of our January roundup? We would love to hear from you on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.