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Highlighted Features of Salesforce Marketing Cloud October 2018
Autumn 2018 is really hot with a lot of different events and releases, and Salesforce Marketing Сloud is no exception. With the new October 2018 Salesforce Marketing сloud Release, it’s getting more comfortable for marketers to use data across their business to collaborate and bring more value to the customer experience.
Salesforce announced the release in several parts. The main part will start on October 13 through October 20, 2018, and the Social Studio release will occur on October 27, 2018.
There is a lot of good news for developers who uses Marketing Сloud API and SDKs. But as excited as we are about all this, we have to be patient and consider everything in its proper order.
Let’s take a look what’s interesting and see what Salesforce has prepared for us this time ?
Content Builder October 2018 release notes
We need to remember that in January 2019, Salesforce will no longer support the Classic Content Builder. The Content Builder will be mainly a Marketing Сloud application for creating, managing and editing content.
Salesforce plans on retiring the classic content in two parts:
- First part in 2019 – remove the option for creating emails and Simple Automated Emails.
- Second part in 2019 – remove the ability to edit, copy and move emails that were created by the classic builder tool.
Because of this, the changes will be be easier and without any headaches as it transitions from the Classic to the Content Builder. ))
The following improvements will be available for all Marketing Сloud users which have access to Content Builder:
- Previously after dragging a content block into an email, the content would be wrapped by div tags and sometimes, as I’ve encountered, issues in the formatting of different areas. Now content blocks will use tables. This will help to avoid errors in importing content and it will accelerate the migration process.
- During content importing, HTML content will be added as a code snippet and we don’t need to add additional code for emails.
- Salesforce plans to add supporting content areas outside of the HTML <body> and above the <html> tag. Honestly, I try to stick to certain standards in markup, but maybe for others, or in some specific cases, this will be useful.
Email Studio October 2018 release notes
- In one of the previous releases, Salesforce implemented a Domain Verification functionality (including REST resources) for email addresses, used by our companies, before the addresses could be used in sending emails.
Previously we had a full list of addresses in A/B test sends. But now A/B test sends no longer allow the use of not verified addresses in From Name. After Domain Verification was activated, only verified addresses can be selected and used.
- In the Classic builder, Simple and Guided Sends also display only verified From Addresses.
- MobileConnect supports a wide range of SMS use cases, so Salesforce announced, and has already scheduled, the retirement of SMS Interactions. The main reason is that we have duplicative systems (SMS Interactions and MobileConnect) and MobileConnect contains more options and is easier to use.
Journey Builder October 2018 release notes
This release is very rich with different features in Journey Builder.
New journey wait activities
The long awaited event has come. The single Wait activity has been split into three distinct activities: Wait By Duration, Wait Until Date, and Wait By Attribute:
- Wait By Duration – when a Marketing сloud contact reaches the activity, the expiration date and time of the Wait activity is set to the time they entered. We can also set an end time. In this case, we should choose a time zone.
- Wait Until Date – contact that enters the Wait is held until the specified end date and time.
NOTE: If the specified day and time has already passed, the contact immediately proceeds to the next activity.
- Wait By Attribute – when a contact reaches the activity that will be held until the day and time, the value will be stored in the contact attribute which was selected.
NOTE: Only attributes with a datatype of Date are available for this type of Wait activity.
This provides us with the ability to create more clear and appropriate configurations that meet our needs.
After this release, we will have the possibility to test Journey with the new Test Mode. We can select specific Marketing Cloud contacts for testing purposes, choose whether or not to send test emails, and review the paths for each test contact to take in Journey. It provides a quick iteration through Journey to be sure that contacts navigate the workflow as expected. And of course as I mentioned, we can select appropriate contacts, send test emails and review each step (iteration) in Journey.
As previously, the Test mode is available after saving and is validation of Journey.
How does it work?:
- First of all we should validate and save Journey.
- Then we should select contacts for testing.
- Choose what to do with the emails during test process. If we selected Send Only Test Messages option, we should set the email address.
- Review summary Journey test options before executing test.
NOTE: If we use complex journeys and want to process the maximum number of records, Journey testing can continue to execute for up to two hours.
Edit, preview, and test emails in journey builder
We don’t need to switch to the Content Builder to edit an email. The Send Email Activity now will have an easy-to-use configuration interface and will provide the possibility of making updates immediately. It makes our editing, testing, and sending processes simple and in a single workflow within Journey Builder. We can save our time navigating between separate applications.
Streamlined journey controls
To make Journey more convenient and easier to use, Marketing Сloud updated the Journey Builder header. Some buttons were grouped (reorganized) by their functionality, for example Copy and Delete, but now they will be available under the Settings dropdown list.
Journey email activity measurement
The best way to understand if our Journey is effective and whether all steps where configured properly in order to reach the best performance, we should measure Journey and make an analysis of the information received. But to know how each message impacts the overall Journey performance, we need to measure each Journey activity. In this release, Marketing Сloud implemented a measure for email activities performance metrics. So, in running Journey we will use the new Email Performance tile. We no longer need to switch to the Email studio to get tracking information, which will help to save a lot of our time. We just need to hover over the appropriate Email activity, and then click on View or Update Activity. After that, go to the Email Performance tab and all the necessary information will be available. It’s really helpful.
Journey builder activity counts
Marketing Сloud has fixed an issue regarding counts for activities in Journey Builder. This issue was related to Journey when it has multiple activities between Wait activities or has a complicated workflow with split activities.
We should create a new version for Journey and activate it to apply this fix.
Marketing сloud connect October 2018 release notes
The Marketing Cloud October 2018 release provides a new 215 version of a managed package for Marketing Cloud Connect (MC Connect). It includes some bug fixes and improvements, and this version will be available after this October release.
Just as a reminder:
During the previous summer 2018 release, all MC Connect managed packages were automatically upgraded to version 214 in three parts:
- Auto-upgrade all developer and trial orgs starting August 27, 2018.
- Auto-upgrade Sandbox orgs starting September 10, 2018.
- Auto-upgrade Production orgs starting October 9, 2018.
And now starting in 2019, Marketing Cloud will automatically update the MC Connect managed package to the previously released version. These auto-upgrades will include all MC Connect customers.
The upgrade will be executed in two parts:
- Developer, Trial, Demo, and Sandbox orgs will be automatically upgraded after a new release.
- All production orgs will be automatically upgraded with the previously released version, one week before each new Marketing Cloud release.
This process of upgrading to a previously released version ensures that we use the most secure connection with the newest features and has the latest bug fixes. But mainly, it provides us a full cycle to test the new package before updating production.
Interaction studio October 2018 release notes
Let me share a few words about Interaction Studio. This Marketing Сloud tool enables marketers to visualize real time Journey analytics and personalize the consumer experience, at scale, on all available channels. We can do this online and offline.
This is good news for users of Interaction Studio.
In this release, Salesforce will connect an Interaction Studio structure to the Interaction Studio decision split in Journey Builder. So, in Journey Builder we will have a new “Interaction Studio Split” activity which can be dragged onto the canvas:
Before using this action in Journey, we should configure Decision structures in Interaction Studio, which result in the output of a decision structure in Interaction Studio; this is how a user builds the Journey Builder paths in the decision split.
Distributed marketing October 2018 release notes
Earlier we had an issue when subject lines did not show up in personalization modals. This problem has been resolved since this release and notes were published. Now AMPScript will be rendered based on standard rules, but Subject lines will not be rendered in the Campaign Messages component.
Marketing cloud mobile App October 2018 release notes
In this October release, Salesforce fixed a bug related to the SMS Home tile. Now it will display actual live send statuses of the 5 most recent messages. This allows for a quick and useful view screen regarding statuses for important SMS messages.
Mobile studio October 2018 release notes
All MC users who use GroupConnect will have the possibility to view and use the reports in the Analytics Builder by selecting Mobile Chat Messaging Summary Report. GroupConnect provides an option for tracking the status of chat messaging API sends to LINE and Facebook Messenger. This update will have a report with a wide range of detailed information about our messages. We can see created date, sent date, the status of messages, filter messages based on different values, review errors and failures information.
Mobile journey attributes in MobileConnect
In Journey Builder, we have available the SMS activity that can be used to create, configure and send MobileConnect messages. After the October release, we can use Journey Builder entry source attributes for personalization of our SMS messages. If it can not find attributes in entry source, it will pull attribute values from the contact record in the demographics table.
Media Share template Removed
In this release, Marketing Сloud removes the Media Share template for MMS.
Mobile journey attributes in MobilePush
This is the same as for MobileConnect messages, Marketing Сloud will provide the possibility of personalizing push alerts in Journey Builder with data from the Journey Builder entry source.
Message detail extract includes request ID
Marketing Сloud implements a helpful feature: request ID for MobilePush Message Detail Extract. It will help us to determine and differentiate inbox messages which can be used in more than one automation scenario or Journey.
We should run the MobilePush Message Detail Extract in Automation Studio to use RequestID in our instance.
Message sends with expired APNS certificates
To send push notifications to iOS devices in MobilePush, Marketing Cloud uses APNS certificates. After this release, if the APNS certificate is expired for app MobilePush, it will prevent you from sending messages through that app or from selecting a message to use in Journey Builder or Automation Studio. This update should prevent clients from generating new traffic that is expected to fail for iOS users.
Increased app icon file size
Now the MobilePush application can use an icon with a size up to 10 Mb (previously it was only 5 Kb).
Marketing Cloud Platform October 2018 release notes
Marketing Cloud login redirection change
To improve Marketing Cloud’s performance, Salesforce will start redirecting from https://mc.exacttarget.com to the https://mc.login.exacttarget.com/hub-cas/ login page. Now when users switch between business units or applications, it will ask Marketing Сloud to reauthenticate them. After the October release, we won’t need ask about reauthentication during the login process.
An important note: this change will not impact the current login URL and we can use the existing URL https://mc.exacttarget.com.
Login and single sign-on redirect
As we mentioned above, after this release, our Marketing Cloud authentication requests will be automatically redirected to our system-generated login URL. The same changes will be applied for Single Sign-On (SSO); we also will be redirected to the new tenant-specific endpoints. We don’t need to make any additional modifications to our existing login or SSO configuration.
Updated IP whitelisting information
Marketing Сloud added an S11 instance to the the list of IP addresses. So we need to add a new IP address to the existing IP whitelist, if we use it. This update should improve MC account security.
The full list of IP addresses, which should be added to the whitelist, can be found here.
Marketing cloud SDKs support tenant-specific endpoints
Marketing Cloud will introduce new changes in API structure. In November, each Marketing Cloud tenant will be assigned to a unique set of API endpoints (tenant: it can be a top-level account and its business units, a top-level agency account, or a client account). After the changes, we can use only tenant assigned endpoints. Marketing Сloud is working on adding changes in SDKs (Java, C#, Python, PHP, Node, and Ruby) for tenant-specific endpoints.
Because these endpoints are unique for each MC tenant, it will provide service specifically oriented to individual needs.
NOTE: We should use the latest version of SDKs and our new endpoints in order to have all the advantages and increased reliability.
Playbooks and XML API end of life
In October, Marketing Сloud will continue with retiring Playbooks. Every existing Welcome Series Playbook now will work only with a stop option (without a restarting possibility) but after the January 2019 release, all Welcome Series Playbooks will be stopped.
To increase security of data and to avoid duplicating of the functional parts, in October, XML API will be retired and no longer supported by Marketing Сloud.
Social Studio October 2018 release notes
This October release provided a lot of updates for Social Studio. Let’s review some of them.
Actively target and restrict viewing by audience of Facebook posts in Social Studio
During the creation of a Facebook post, we can set targeting parameters like Location, Age, and Gender in News Feed Targeting. If we want to restrict the content to an audience based on matching the specified parameters, we should use Restricted Audience.
Publish your content and tag your sponsor with Branded Content partnership or @mention tag
We can use other branded content in our Facebook post in Branded Content: Partner.
When creating a Facebook post, we have an option to enter another Facebook page in the Facebook compose window. After that, Marketing Сloud will search this page for a match and identifies it for us.
Our customers will have high-quality branded content and our business partners will have shared content with audiences from a trusted source. Everyone benefits.
Manage Social Studio notifications in one place
Marketing Сloud provides a new option in configuring many notifications. It can be an email or an in-app of a mobile push notification in both Android and iOS systems. We can decide which type of notifications we want to receive.
Notifications available for different areas of Social Studio:
We can find this configuration page at Social Studio – > My Setting -> Admin – > Notifications
Sort and filter metrics for engagement summary dashboard in Social Studio
In Marketing Cloud Social Studio Analyze, we can customize Engagement Summary Dashboards for our custom needs and custom workflow options. We can set available Time Distributions buckets or create our own, or specify the start and end engagement times with standard or custom Engagement Ends With values. Using these options helps us to improve the precision of response time and also time distribution reporting values.
View instagram @mentions in command center or in Social Studio
Two new media types will be added in the October release. They will provide us an option to review conversations on the Feed wall and Top Media screens, where any customer @mentions us directly in Instagram. In any case, the most important thing is an engaging process with your customers and it doesn’t matter if it is a positive comment to our post or a customer service communication.
To review this information on your Feed wall and Top Media screen, go to our Instagram Business account and in the Inspector we should select the appropriate Media Type.
In order to view and engage this conversations in Social Studio, we should find it in a Social Studio Engage column or in the Feed card of an Analyze Dashboard.
View more Twitter post analytics in Social Studio
In Social Studio Publish and in cross-workspace reports for Twitter, we can review published post analytic information with the new addition of Impressions, Engagements, and Video Views metrics:
- Impressions – how many times a Tweet has been viewed.
- Engagement – how many times a Tweet has been interacted with.
- Video Views – how many times a video in the given Tweet has been 50% visible for at least two seconds.
These metrics will be added to the Retweets, Replies, Favorites, and Clicks analytics.
So there are quite a few things that are likely to improve and simplify marketing efforts and add more sauce to business productivity with the new Marketing Cloud October release.
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