April 2019 Release: What's New in Dynamics 365 for Marketing

Microsoft has released a preview guide for its April update across Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform, and in a series of posts we are looking at the main changes and new features announced. 

Previously, we've shared an overview covering what's new in the Power Platform and across the D365 Sales and Service apps.

In this post, we turn the spotlight on Dynamics 365 for Marketing for its 2nd major update since release in Spring 2018.

*** February Update *** The April '19 Marketing app update is now available in preview

Integration with Content Management Systems (General Availability - April)  

With the April ‘19 release, the Marketing app will integrate with any third party content management system. Previously, this required Dynamics 365 portals to host features such as the subscription centre and other web forms. 

In this new release, portals will become optional as all D365 for Marketing forms and content can be hosted on an external CMS while still collecting interaction data like visits, submissions, registrations, and more. The guide doesn't go into detail but this suggests it would be along the lines of providing an IFRAME or similar code which can be pasted into a content management system.

Landing Page Personalisation (Public Preview - April)

This new feature will enable the personalisation of pages for individual visitors based on their attributes and past behaviour to adjust the layout, dynamic content, branding and more. Leveraging customer data to create highly personalised landing pages will be a further tactic marketing teams can use to boost engagement and increase demand generation.

Spam Score Prediction for Emails (Public Preview - April)  

This AI feature will continuously analyse your email content and predict a spam score based on various factors including subject line, embedded links and more to avoid a poor response.

This uses past interactions and other data (including aggregated data from other campaigns and from external sources) to predict the deliverability of each email message and ultimately, help to maximise open rates.

Extensibility for Campaigns and Segments (General Availability - April)

A new set of APIs will provide integrations for customer journeys (marketing flows) and segments (lists) with external services which can be connected using Flow and other Microsoft tools. The guide stats this will enable journeys to be defined programmatically as well as apply greater control of lifecycles to stop or edit a journey. By extending the marketing app this will create capabilities for greater automation of repetitive routine processes and enabling triggers from external sources.

Lifecycle Enhancements & Deeper Insights (General Availability - April)  

The new release will introduce a more intuitive and consistent experience across all the phases of a campaign. For an email campaign message this will provide coverage from initial draft, activation, edits and final appoval. 

Lifecycle management will also apply to other areas including managing events, creating a segment and editing a journey. Built-in insights pages will also be updated to make these more insightful to marketing teams.

Sales Integration Enhancements (General Availability - April)

Sales users will be able to add individual contacts to running journeys or specific marketing segments. 

Social Posting (General Availability - April)

New capabilities will enable social posts to be scheduled as outbound activity. Initially, this will only support Twitter but coverage across further networks will follow.

More Intuitive Segmentation Experience (General Availability - April)

Dynamic segments reflect rules that combine demographic, transactional, and interaction data. In the April release, the process to create segments will be simplified to make it easier to cross complex relationships and create segments using marketing interactions. 

Further segmentation improvements will provide performance gains in faster load times, deployment and provisioning.

Enhanced Event Registrations (General Availability - April)

New capabilities will include:

  • Session registrations for free events to plan room capacities and indicate sessions at full capacity  
  • Provide wait lists for free events to gauge interest and maximise attendance
  • Enabling QR codes for event registration to be embedded into emails enabling attendees to check in using their mobile devices

Smart Scheduling (Public Preview - April)

A new AI feature will consider the patterns of recipient interactions with marketing emails to build a preferred time profile for each contact enabling messages to be timed when they are likely to be most attentive. As a result, within customer journeys, emails can be scheduled to reflect these detected time slots for each recipient to boost open / click rates. 

As the below screenshot indicates this will take email analysis and insight to another level but it remains to be seen what volume of data from prior campaigns messages would be needed before a meaningful 'best time to send' is visible.

Segment Boost (Public Preview - April)

Find more prospects who are similar and behave like the most responsive contacts from an active segment. This will analyse a segment before recommending further contacts who resemble the top performers on a current campaign. As an automated process these contacts would be automatically enrolled in the running campaign and the process repeats until the campaign reaches a defined size or end date. 

The release guide uses the scenario of a segment boost to find contacts who resemble the most engaged people who subscribe to emails and automatically adds these additional contacts to a segment for a custom journey that sends messages promoting joining the same mailing list.

Mixed Reality Content (Public Preview - June)

By blending physical and digital worlds, mixed reality enables marketing teams to add content to emails and pages which recipients can open for a rich 3D experience on desktop, or experience augmented reality on mobile devices. This new preview feature is expected to be especially beneficial in promoting products that benefit from a touch and feel experience.

Easier Onboarding (General Availability - April)

This will feature a new 'getting started' dashboard and guided tasks.

READ MORE ABOUT THE APRIL 2019 UPDATE


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