Top 5 adtech tools this week: Hawk, SoundOut, Acxiom, HubSpot and un:hurd

From TikTok music-matching for brands to carbon-cutting for creative, here’s our round up of new ways to power up your tech stack.

Each week, the PMW editorial team selects five top picks of the latest product releases from the adtech and martech worlds, with our verdict on why they made the cut – and why you should pay attention.

This week:

  • Hawk: Carboncut reduces environmental impact of ad creatives

  • SoundOut: matching brands to top trending TikTok tracks

  • Acxiom: extending Salesforce practice to boost CRM tools for clients

  • HubSpot: giving CRM tools an AI power-up

  • un:hurd: funding boost for data-led music marketing platform

Hawk’s new Carboncut programme aims to reduce environmental impact of ad creatives

European omnichannel advertising platform Hawk has launched a new platform to help media agencies and advertisers reduce their carbon emissions.

How it works

The programme looks at the complete life cycle of an ad campaign. It kicks into action before a campaign goes live and continues, post activation, throughout the campaign life cycle. In collaboration with carbon calculator specialist DK, it measures and analyses the carbon ‘weight’ of the creatives on all advertising channels; heavier creative assets have a larger impact on the overall carbon footprint of the campaign than lighter ones. This pre-campaign starting point contrasts with the standard method of solely measuring the supply path emissions produced by programmatic ad delivery. Clients can then opt to work with Hawk’s integrated creative studio to reduce the carbon weight of these, without impacting their effectiveness.

Further reporting will show how much this ‘creative cleaning’ process has reduced the carbon impact of the ad. In the third stage of the process, the streamlined creatives are served using Hawk’s omnichannel demand side platform (DSP), optimised by the operations team to find the most energy-efficient and sustainable impressions it can buy.

What the provider says

“We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously; at the same time, we need to ensure that advertising is effective and delivers ROI for brands and agencies,” says Chris Childs, UK managing director at Hawk.

“The creative aspect has always been a core element of Hawk’s business model and it’s no different now as the digital world begins to look at how it can reduce the impact of advertising on the climate. Carboncut has been designed to address the complete advertising process; that starts with creatives that lose nothing in their design and power while also minimising their carbon impact, and continues to ensure the path through which they are delivered on to all digital screens is fully optimised with sustainability as a priority.”

The PMW View

Current estimates indicate that the overall environmental impact of the internet is 2-4% of global carbon emissions, while a typical ad campaign is responsible for 5.4 tons of CO2. The launch of Hawk’s Carboncut programme comes as the IAB Europe’s Sustainability in Digital Advertising State of Readiness Report shows that 51% of digital advertisers don’t currently measure the emissions produced by the delivery of ads. The report also lists sustainability as one of top three challenges for advertising businesses, behind cookieless targeting and measurement.

Meanwhile, research from WARC and Kantar proves the importance of creative assets, with high-quality creatives driving more than four times as much profit as low-quality ones.

SoundOut matches brands to top trending TikTok tracks

SoundOut is offering brands and agencies the ability to match any brand to trending music on TikTok.

How it works

The service indexes the top 100 trending TikTok tracks against over 200 brand attributes and enables brands to instantly define their brand and campaign priorities, ranking all 100 tracks in order of relevance to brand. The service is complimented by a partnership with Loud Parade, the Gen Z focused music creative and sonic branding agency, offering brands the ability to licence, find similar tracks for commercial use or have their own bespoke compositions created for a more personalised and authentic appeal.

What the provider says

Grace Hammond, SoundOut Co-founder, said: “TikTok is now more popular than Google and brands and their agencies are scrambling to plug into the most potent marketing platform targeting Gen-Z consumers. TikTok reports that leveraging the power of sound is the most important ingredient for a successful ad and this new service enables brands and their agencies to make rapid, data driven music decisions in real time, guaranteed to optimise advertising effectiveness on TikTok.”

Rahmon Agbaje, Loud Parade Co-founder, commented: “Music is the most powerful form of storytelling around – we recognise this and have been delivering high quality bespoke compositions at scale, helping brands speak more authentically to their audience. Combining this with the speed and capabilities of SoundOut’s platform is truly remarkable and delivers a level of creative certainty unobtainable elsewhere. Whilst many brands are hugely excited about the potential of TikTok, they are often unequipped to exploit it effectively. Partnering our offering with SoundOut makes perfect sense for Loud Parade, giving brands the certainty they need to confidently invest in new trends on the platform to stay relevant while always staying true to their brand.”

The PMW View

According to TikTok, ‘ads prominently featuring music are 80% more likely to see ad recall uplifts’ and ‘when brands feature songs that TikTokers like in their videos, 58% say they feel a stronger connection to the brand’. With 85% of brands planning to increase spend on TikTok in 2023, the service enables agencies and brands to optimise their choice of music on a weekly basis, to help ensure it will be both on trend and on brand.

Acxiom extends Salesforce practice to boost CRM tools for clients

Customer intelligence company Acxiom has extended its dedicated, global Salesforce practice, to support brands in achieving their data personalisation goals with Salesforce Data Cloud.

How it works

The Salesforce Data Cloud uses real-time data to deliver highly personalised customer experiences across sales, service, marketing, and commerce that continuously adapt to changing customer information and needs in real time.

What the provider says

“We are thrilled to be helping businesses see the most value from the Salesforce Data Cloud,” said Mike Menzer, EVP and GM of Acxiom International. “The Salesforce Data Cloud is a game-changer for real-time customer engagement as it enables brands to create great customer experiences by connecting disparate parts of its ecosystem into a single strategic data asset. Acxiom’s customer intelligence experience means we understand the importance of modern personalisation, collaborating across multiple stakeholders to activate new use cases for our clients”.

What the clients say

Meenal Varsani, Head of Marketing and Customer Engagement, Heathrow, said: “We’re excited about enhancing and optimising our MarTech stack, developing our technology to enable and accelerate the maturity of our CRM marketing strategy. Without the right data, personalization is only an ambition. Working with Acxiom and Salesforce, Heathrow now has greater control of our data, which can be used to improve business processes and deliver personalised passenger experiences.”

The PMW View

Today, customers expect personalisation in their interactions with brands. In fact, customers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers more tailored experiences. Data shows that organisations that excel in personalisation generate 40% more revenue than those that don’t. However, data remains siloed for most organisations, with organisations using 976 separate applications on average. Acxiom is hoping to amp this up, helping clients achieve that all-important real-time unified view of their customer by breaking down silos and activating insights across all departments and platforms.

HubSpot gives CRM tools and AI power-up

CRM platform HubSpot has launched two new tools powered by artificial intelligence (AI) – content assistant and – to help its customers save time, generate quick and efficient content, while creating better connections with their own audiences.

How it works

Content assistant helps marketing and sales teams ideate, create, and share quality content in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. For example it can suggest blog titles related to a product or service, then generate a complete blog post outline for that title, and streamline content marketing workflows into one place, saving teams time and energy.

Meanwhile helps HubSpot customers complete a variety of tasks using a natural language chat-based user experience. For example, they can add contacts and companies to the HubSpot CRM, create custom reports related to marketing, sales and customer service and draft professional sales emails personalised to the recipient.

What the provider says

“We are experiencing a step-function change in the way people work. At HubSpot, our goal is to help companies connect more deeply with their customers. Our new AI-powered content assistant helps them create quality content faster and easier, to better serve their customers,” said Andy Pitre, EVP of Product at HubSpot.

“Advances in AI also have the potential to change the way people use and interact with software. We’re excited to launch to experiment with how we can make our software even easier to use, and we’re inviting our customers to come along with us as we learn together.”

The PMW View

If you’ve experimented with AI tools like ChatGPT, you’re already familiar with how large language models are transforming content generation – but what about for businesses?

HubSpot is showing how AI will inform the next generation of martech with practical applications of sales and marketing copy alongside workflow analysis. Expect much more innovation to come in this area over the coming months.

Un:hurd gets funding boost for data-led music marketing platform

Music marketing platform un:hurd has raised its seed investment round to make greater strides in transforming the future of music promotion and empowering artists from around the world.

How it works

Un:hurd is a fully automated marketing platform for artists, management companies and record labels, which has been adopted by over 25,000 artists from around the world in the last 18 months. Under the second round of seed funding, Music-tech legend Willard Ahdritz, Founder and Chairman of Kobalt Music, joins un:hurd as a lead investor and advisor. Alongside launching their app in 2022, un:hurd won the ADE x Antler start-up competition, featured on Dragons Den and were also announced as Music Ally SI:X finalists. The next 12 months will be all about developing the technology at un:hurd to ensure every artist that uses the app receives fantastic value from the product.

What the provider says

Alex Brees, Founder and CEO of un:hurd says “I’m pleased to be able to welcome such a fantastic wealth of experienced and relevant investors to un:hurd. Our product has made strong progress over the last 18 months with a lean team. We’ve learnt a lot about what artists really want and we now have the opportunity to build upon our initial product launch with some really exciting new features. Our mission has always been to empower artists from around the world with a data-led, best in class marketing platform and I now see this mission as being supercharged with years of industry knowledge thanks to this new fundraise.’

Willard Ahdritz, Founder and Chairman Kobalt Music said: “I’m excited to be investing in and advising un:hurd and be part of this effort to help artists build their careers. It’s incredibly difficult for artists to continue to be creative whilst also expanding and nurturing their fanbase as entrepreneurs. Great tools that make an artist's life easier is exactly what’s needed and I believe un:hurd will become an essential partner to independent artists around the world.”

Hazel Savage, VP, Music Intelligence at Soundcloud, added: "As soon as I saw the product demo I was keen to invest in un:hurd. It was such a beautiful and simple user interface, and clearly solving a problem for artists. I was already familiar with Alex's work so it was a win-win."

The PMW View

Un:hurd claims to have brought ‘Taylor Swift's thinking of music productions but applied it to indie artists’. With over 3 million songs released every single month, it’s never been more difficult for artists to cut through the noise. Un:hurd are tackling this problem to provide artists and record labels with a marketing solution which is powered by algorithms that highlight key opportunities for artists to use to build a valuable fanbase.