Five Key Announcements from Kenshoo’s K8 2019

On Wednesday, June 12, Kenshoo hosted their annual K8 West conference at the Filoli Gardens in Silicon Valley, bringing together digital advertisers and publishers from all over the globe for a day of product announcements, education, and empowerment. The main theme for the day was “Knowledge is Power.”

As privacy issues for consumers are of utmost priority with everything digital these days, government regulation (GDPR, CCPA, etc.) has led to increased cookie and browser restrictions, severely limiting the amount of data advertisers can leverage in pursuit of an audience-first approach. As such, much of Kenshoo’s roadmap announcements centered around these current market conditions and what we as advertisers can do with the data we have.

Here is a recap of the five main announcements from K8:


1. Kenshoo Lighthouse

Over the last 13 years, Kenshoo has expanded their offering from an SEM bid management tool, to cross-channel solutions with Kenshoo Social, Ecommerce, and Apps. As cookie blocking and restrictions make the data to optimize more unreliable, Kenshoo’s response to this is Lighthouse, their new data intelligence suite, designed to concentrate on strategy and decisioning, rather than optimization.

The first application to rollout to beta is Impact Navigator, designed to measure incrementality in campaigns, rather than chasing the perfect attribution model. Impact Navigator will ingest the data they receive from their channel management solutions to create and execute incrementality tests at scale. With AI based geo splits, test/control parameters are made dynamically, putting tasks that would normally require a data scientist, in the hands of a marketer. The key goal of these tests is to surface insights across all channels, which can then be pushed through the tool into live campaigns. While using Kenshoo products can enhance and provide more data to construct the frameworks, they are not required.

What this means for advertisers: With consumer privacy top of mind, Kenshoo is staying ahead of the game with Impact Navigator and its media mix modeling abilities. As we’ve seen Chrome and Firefox join Safari in tracking protection, browser restrictions will continue to get tighter. This diminishes the integrity of the data available even more. While other solutions are moving toward modeling, Kenshoo’s Impact Navigator provides a more holistic view over last touch attribution by measuring incrementality across all performance channels. Additionally, advertisers can gain insight into how channels work together, as well as apply optimizations in real-time. Being able to utilize the app without using a channel solution should allow this to scale. Previously, teams were hesitant to use Intent-Driven Audiences, as this required both Kenshoo Search and Social. And finally, since Impact Navigator is a third-party tool, all tests will be unbiased.


2. Upcoming Lighthouse Applications

Performance Navigator: This application will review campaign performance, structure and settings to uncover improvements that can be applied to campaigns. Utilizing machine learning, baselines are set against KPIs, and recommendations will be made to improve account health and performance. This will then recommend changes to different aspects of a campaign across channel: Audiences (Social), Products (eCommerce), Overall Media Mix.

Budget Navigator: While not a new product (formerly Halogen), Kenshoo did announce that this application will soon be able to forecast across channels, based on its integration through Lighthouse. Budget Navigator can take that info to optimize and rebalance budgets from historical trends and machine-learning powered forecast tools. These adjustments can be run in real-time and actionable through the platform.

What this means for advertisers:
Performance Navigator has the potential to be bid optimization on steroids. While bid management tools typically analyze factors such as CPC and average position against the goal KPI, this will utilize more available data. By tapping into Lighthouse’s data core, bid algorithms should be more intelligent towards optimizing toward campaign goals, across all performance channels.

Forecasting intelligence has always been the backbone of Kenshoo’s search tool, with the ability to create portfolio targets, and optimize campaigns accordingly with positive results. By working in conjunction with the modeling from Impact Navigator, Kenshoo’s Budget Optimizer can be a powerful tool in maximizing conversion performance at efficient rates.

3. Kenshoo Audit

Kenshoo also discussed Kenshoo Audit, a new automated end-to-end solution which applies AI-powered review across the account to identify areas of improvement in account health. This new scalable solution can review large accounts and provide reports on issues that can be improved throughout the whole account. Relying on KPIs, Audit can detect anomalies and output a score tracking toward achieving business goals. These settings are customizable, have clear visualization, and can be saved, which is a benefit for passing on information to new employees.

What this means for advertisers: As campaigns have become larger and more complex, keeping track of all the details continues to be a constant challenge. And with governance as a hot topic, we’ve seen other real-time audit tools launch; e.g. Google’s Optimization score. While Google’s Optimization Score provides recommendations on how to improve an account, Kenshoo Audit will provide a third-party view into an account, allowing for another level of governance.


4. Apple Ads

Kenshoo announced a strategic partnership with Apple Ads, providing automated bidding and budgeting options for Apple Ad campaigns. Advanced reporting and analytics will also be available, such as cohort reporting, storefront info, and demo data. MMP integration allows for aggregation of data and post-install events in one place. Using familiar tools within the Kenshoo toolkit, Kenshoo Apps will promote findability, combining intent for category search.

What this means for advertisers: In a mobile-first world, Apple Ads continues to grow its offering, as well as its reach around the world. With conversion rates increasing for app advertisers, campaign management options will be needed to run efficient campaigns.


5. Facebook

Kenshoo now supports Facebook’s Campaign Budget Optimization, with several new options featured in Kenshoo Social. Customizable rules are available, allowing for configuration of actions. Advertisers can import data to extend the signals for the tool. Alert notifications are also offered to react to any anomalies. Kenshoo announced that Intent-Driven audiences are now available in search. Previously, this was a one-way retargeting audience feed from Search to Facebook. Users have been asking for the two-way direction of retargeting audiences between Facebook and SEM, and Kenshoo has now made that available, so users have the ability to move audiences from Facebook to Search.

What this means for advertisers: Kenshoo’s Portfolio Optimizer has always been a core product, and we’re seeing that technology being applied here. This can provide greater efficiencies to campaigns on Facebook, especially when the Campaign Budget Optimizer requirement rolls out in September. Having two-way IDA will give more retargeting options to advertisers, as well as more insight on how SEM and social work together.


Final Thoughts

Data sources and analytics have become increasingly complex over the past 13 years and Kenshoo has stayed nimble, quickly adapting to the changing landscape of digital advertising. As DMPs develop to provide brands with consolidated views of their audiences, privacy regulations have begun to take those views away.

Kenshoo’s Lighthouse shift from being a pure optimization tool to a holistic planning tool is a prime example of Kenshoo’s progress over time. More automation means advertisers spend more time on strategy, so Kenshoo is providing the tools to help with that as well. With connection to best-in-class solutions for search, social, ecommerce and apps, the core in Lighthouse can take the intelligence from those connections to generate actionable insights. In an audience-first world where audiences want to stay anonymous, Kenshoo has created a platform that can garner actionable insights through testing and performance, in a far easier way than a DMP can. These insights truly show that “Knowledge is Power.”