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Facebook reported Nov. 30 it has reached an agreement to acquire Kustomer, a CRM platform. Some media reports estimate the deal at a value of $1 billion. Facebook did not disclose financial terms.

Facebook officials said that with Kustomer, they will be able to offer their business customers tools that deliver service and support. Facebook recently announced several API updates for WhatsApp and Messenger, to help businesses manage their communications with customers.

Kustomer's's omnichannel CRM platform brings customer conversations from various channels together. Businesses will still have a choice to integrate their CRM platform with Facebook's messaging services.

Facebook now also adds co-founders Brad Birnbaum and Jeremy Suriel and the rest of the Kustomer team to Facebook. "In particular, we look forward to enhancing the messaging experience which is one of the fastest growing ways for people and businesses to engage," Kustomer CEO Brad Birnbaum wrote in a blog post.

Facebook also disclosed that Kustomer businesses will continue to own data that comes from interactions with their customers. Facebook eventually expects to host Kustomer data on secure Facebook infrastructure, however, and plans to act as a service provider at business customers' request. Facebook will not automatically use Kustomer data to inform the ads that a user sees, and businesses will have the option to use their data at Kustomer for their own marketing purposes, which may include separate advertising services on Facebook, according to Facebook officials.

In other customer experience and digital workplace software news ...

Adobe Updates Magento, CDP

Adobe has made some customer experience management software updates in the areas of commerce and customer data.

The company announced new Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities targeted to help the retail experience for Magento commerce merchants. Adobe had previously launched Sensei-powered Product Recommendations for Magento Commerce in a move designed to help users deliver contextually relevant recommendations that respond to consumer preferences and shopping behavior.

It has now added AI capabilities to a merchant’s toolkit: a visual similarity recommendation. This, company officials said, will allow Magento Commerce merchants to offer its shoppers recommendations of similar looking products to what they’re considering purchasing. They will be able to take into account visual attributes such as color, shape, size, material, style and more, according to Adobe officials. The feature is powered by Adobe Sensei, Adobe's machine learning engine.

Magento Commerce merchants also will soon be able to add Adobe Sensei-powered site search capability to their storefront, a feature called “Live Search.” It enables merchants’ “searchandising” capabilities to provide their customers with search results that become smarter over time based on ongoing AI-driven analysis of shopper behavior, according to Adobe officials. The Live Search capability will be available to Magento Commerce merchants in the first half of 2021.

Adobe also introduced a real-time CDP for B2B brands. Last year, Adobe introduced its Real-time Customer Data Platform, built on top of Adobe Experience Platform.

It is now extending its Real-time Customer Data Platform to support B2B data and workflows, available next year. Adobe officials say it will allow teams to coordinate account-based experiences at scale across channels and teams based on a full understanding of their customers. The CDP updates also include an expansion of Adobe’s proprietary, open-source Experience Data Model (XDM), which is designed to allow B2B brands to be able to ingest and activate data via B2B-centric data sources and destinations. A new pre-built connector for Marketo Engage will allow B2B brands to connect B2B engagement data from these applications.

Arc Publishing Updates Subscriptions Platform

Arc Publishing, a Washington Post company that provides content management software technology, has introduced new enhancements to its turnkey digital subscriptions platform. The subscription platform handles the purchase flow from registration and offer creation to checkout and billing.

The updates include:

  • The release of a new subscription module in Themes, Arc's site development quick-launch toolkit.
  • New mobile software development kits (SDKs) for native iOS and Android apps.
  • The integration of a CDP, BlueConic, to provide real-time insights and dynamic, multi-dimensional segmentation using first-party data.
  • Expanded payment capabilities and integration with payment orchestration platform Spreedly.
  • Expansion of Arc's experience testing capabilities.

Amperity Announces Appointment of Starbucks CEO to Board

Amperity, a customer data platform provider, has announced that Kevin Johnson, Starbucks president and CEO, has joined its Board of Directors. Johnson first joined Starbucks in 2009, serving on the company's Board of Directors. In March 2015, he took on the role of president and chief operating officer, leading the company's global operating businesses across all geographies, as well as core support functions, and assumed the role of president and CEO in April 2017.

Prior to Starbucks, Johnson's career spans more than three decades, including five years as CEO of Juniper Networks, and 16 years at Microsoft, where he worked closely with co-founder Bill Gates. Johnson also served as the chairman of the cybersecurity committee for the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee under both President Bush and President Obama.

Salesforce Ventures Joins Series D Round for AppsFlyer

AppsFlyer, a global attribution and marketing analytics provider, has announced Salesforce Ventures joined its roster of investors in a late-stage extension of its $210 million series D round led by General Atlantic earlier this year.

AppsFlyer officials said it has seen increased demand for its expanding suite of products, including holistic attribution, marketing analytics, fraud protection, incrementality measurement and customer experiences and engagement tools. App developers can connect to more than 8,000 partners via its marketplace.

AppsFlyer has secured more than $300 million in funding since 2011. The company has recently reached 1,000 employees globally and now exceeds $200 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR), according to company officials. Existing investors include General Atlantic, Goldman Sachs Growth Equity, DTCP (Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners), Qumra Capital, Pitango Venture Capital, Magma Venture Partners and Eight Roads Ventures.