Salesforce have just announced their January release for Marketing Cloud. Here are the features that we like the most. Let us know what you’re most excited about in the comments!

Analytics Builder

We’ve seen that there some changes to reports, making it easier to filter by Campaign for Mobile Push and Mobile Connect.

Automation Studio

There’s lots of new stuff in Automation Studio, starting with a brand new User Interface. All of the functions are the same, so you won’t need to spend time learning how to use it again.

The new Activities tab is awesome and we’re super keen to start using it for our customers! It gives you a deconstructed view, showing each of the activities used by all your Automations, grouped by the activity type. The new Activities tab lets you edit Query Activities WITH syntax highlighting, showing you where the in the query the error occurred and what the error is. Speeding up the ability to write SQL and place it into an Automations is what we love!

Just on Query Activities, there’s now a limit of twenty in a single step of an Automation. We don’t see this as impacting on existing automations or limiting options for the future, as additional steps can be added to keep within the limit.

Changes have also been made to the error messages in Automation Studio. FTP Errors have been improved a little, so if you hover over them, you’ll see the cause. We’d love to see this improved so that the error is shown straight away and the FTP errors shown the Activities tab, like the Query Activity errors are.

Cloud Pages

If you’re collecting data on Social Networks, or just need a quick form in a Landing Page, Cloud Pages now as the option to add a date picker as well as update a List and a Data Extension at the same time.

Contact Builder

Looking at Contact Builder, there’s been a change to permissions. Now, the user will either have access to Contact Builder or not have access. This takes away potential issues of users with access to data incorrectly updating the Contact model and affecting areas of Marketing Cloud such as Journey Builder.

The Channel Address order is being phased out, which may impact Journeys later down the track. Any new Journeys should avoid using Channel Address.

There’s also been improvement to Data Extension searches on Contact Builder and the Contact Count Report has been released, giving you visibility of your overall Contacts in Marketing Cloud.

Content Builder

Content Builder updates include new templates and improvements to existing templates, making them render better in Outlook email clients. The Email Preview has also been improved, which now shows all available Templates and Data Extensions, instead of limiting them to just twenty-five. A bug, where test sends sent out multiple copies, has been fixed too.

Email Studio (Content Builder)

If you’re using Dynamic Content, you’re gonna love this! Rule Name customisation makes managing Dynamic Content a lot easier, while Impression Region Names makes reporting on eDMs that use Dynamic Content a whole heap easier. These changes are only available for new email content, though.

Email Studio

URL Expiration is here! This means that you’ll be able to expire URLs used in your eDMs and redirect them to another page. This saves resources managing webpages beyond their lifecycle and lets you focus traffic where you want it to go. You can set the time period for expiration from sixty days.

A couple of other changes to the way Conversions are tracked (moved from Email Address to Subscriber ID), Publication Lists can be moved to a different Business Unit and you can now dedupe a Data Filter in a Guided Send!

Journey Builder

Lots of changes to Journey Builder and some of you may need to check if there are changes that you need to make to existing Journeys. Let us know if we can help you out.

The biggest change is that Event Data, which is a snapshot of the Event Data Extension at the time the Contact enters the Journey, is now used for Personalisation across ALL new Journeys and new Versions. If there’s a Query Activity that updates the Event Data Extension, then you’ll need to check Interactions to make sure that it doesn’t rely on any changes for personalisation to work properly.

Triggered emails can’t be re-published in Journey Builder, which means you can’t make changes to email creative in a live Journey. You’ll need to create a new draft to use updated creative.

There’s a new History tab that’s going to help you check over Journeys, with a search feature to find exactly what you want to review.

One thing we really love is the change to Goal Configuration. They’re no longer Events / Entry Events and only require a Content filter to define. Not only is this going to make Goal Configuration much easier to build out, the logical approach makes it simple to explain the concept and process to other stakeholders.

Marketing Cloud Connect

There’s a massive change to Marketing Cloud Connect, where Sales and Service Cloud objects can be updated from a Journey, WITHOUT needing to know the data relationships. This gives you the opportunity to truly unite data across clouds, benefiting you with confidence in data and your customer with improved service accuracy and speed.

Mobile Connect

An enhancement to the SMS Blackout has been added, preventing you from sending SMS during the blackout period. You’ll need to be careful when you send though, as sends don’t pause when the blackout period starts.

Importing mobile numbers has also been updated, so if you add a positive sign (+) before the number, it will no longer be validated against the country that you specify in the country code. Any customers that were setup on Mobile Connect by Amicus Digital should be OK, as we remove the positive (+) sign as part of our implementations.

Predictive Intelligence

Predictive Intelligence is now called Einstein!

The big change here, apart from the name, is that you can prevent recommendations from using the system default recommendations. This could result in no recommendations being displayed, so you’ll need to assess how you want to use this feature.

Catalog import failures now have an email notification, so make sure that you add in your address if you’re using this.

And they were just our favourite new features! There are heaps more, which you can find in the Marketing Cloud documentation.