Marketing TechnologyMartech news roundup: Facebook integrations, Kustomer funding, Adobe & Microsoft acquisitions

Martech news roundup: Facebook integrations, Kustomer funding, Adobe & Microsoft acquisitions

We review the top news in martech from the week of January 21–28, 2019.

In our roundup of last week’s martech news, we highlight:

  • Zuckerberg wants to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger by 2020. This presents several important privacy and antitrust concerns — not to mention an engineering challenge.
  • Kustomer raises $35M Series C for a Slack-like approach to CRM.
  • LinkedIn adds Interest Targeting with the Campaign Manager. This will allow marketers to target ads based on what users share and engage with.
  •  Adobe acquires French company Allegorithmic, to add advanced 3D video tools to its Creative Cloud.
  • Microsoft acquires Citus Data, creators of open-source PostgreSQL extension.

Top stories in marketing technology last week:

Zuckerberg wants to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger by 2020

What it is

On January 25, the NY Times released an interesting piece on how Zuckerberg might integrate Facebook’s three applications: WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger. This would take place near the end of 2019 or early 2020.

Why it matters

This comes with several interesting implications / analyses:

  • 2.6 billion users (the combined total) would be able to communicate across the three platforms for the first time.
  • This would go against previous promises to “leave Instagram and WhatsApp alone” after their acquisitions.
    • The founders of both Instagram and WhatsApp left Facebook in 2018 after clashing with Zuckerberg.
  • For Facebook, this could benefit ad revenue and engagement within the ecosystem.
    • WhatsApp and Instagram currently generate little revenue as compared to Facebook.
  • On a technical level, this presents a hefty undertaking. Engineers would have to redefine some underlying functions of the platforms.
  • Issues of user privacy, data, antitrust, and security would be enormous.
    • How would user data be shared between platforms?
    • What information would users need to provide when signing up? Right now to use WhatsApp you need only a phone number. Facebook requires an email.
    • WhatsApp does not store messages, Facebook and Instagram do.
    • WhatsApp is backed by end to end encryption, Facebook and Instagram are not.
    • Some lawmakers have urged the Federal Trade Commission to block the integration to protect internet users.
  • Overall benefit to Facebook may not outweigh the effort. An internal study showed the integration would bring minimal new users, at least in the US.

Kustomer raises $35M Series C for Slack-like approach to CRM

What it is

On January 24, Kustomer announced $35 million Series C funding.

A New York-based customer support platform, Kustomer distinguishes itself with a “Slack-like approach” to CRM.

Originally, the company sought to create a CRM system so user-friendly that anyone in an organization could use it. This fits with their target audience of smaller companies that may not have dedicated customer teams.

Why it matters

With this latest round of funding, the company plans to expand beyond SMBs. They ultimately aim to take on Oracle and Salesforce conversions.

LinkedIn adds Interest Targeting for marketers to target ads

What it is

LinkedIn has launched Interest Targeting, which allows marketers to target ads to people who engage with certain “interests.”

Why it matters

For advertisers using Campaign Manager, you’ll have about 200 targeted interests, from which you can create ad campaigns.

These interests include categories such as artificial intelligence, global economy, and customer service.

The interests are based on information collected “based on the content users share and engaged with.”

Adobe acquires French company Allegorithmic, makers of the Substance texture tools

What it is

Allegorithmic’s Substance texture tools are widely used by AAA game creators, and also by visual effects artists, animators, and designers.

The acquisition was announced on January 23, for an undisclosed amount.

Why it matters

For Adobe, this acquisition will allow them to integrate Allegorithmic’s technologies as part of its Creative Cloud tools.

The company has started to focus on 3D (Adobe Dimension, Project Aero), as more and more creatives are prioritizing 3D content.

Microsoft acquires Citus Data, creators of open-source PostgreSQL extension

What it is

Citus Data’s open-source PostgreSQL extension aims to make PostgreSQL databases faster and more scalable.

Citus Data was founded in 2010, and had previously raised more than $13 million in funding.

The acquisition was announced on January 24, for an undisclosed amount.

Why it matters

For Microsoft, this acquisition will enable them to improve the performance and scale of Azure PostgreSQL.

It will also support the company’s commitment to open source. They’ve emphasized that they’ll continue to work with the Citus community.

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