Marketing Cloud April 2021 Release Highlights

The most recent Marketing Cloud release is almost fully in place and those who did not get any updates should receive them soon as well (check the schedule on the Trust website). As usual, every month, Salesforce brings new advancements to their platform that would touch at least in a minor way but pretty much the majority of digital marketers. This month’s release turned out super impressive and we had a hard time picking the most impactful and the most commonly desired improvements. Without any further ado, let’s jump straight to the top features of the April release.

Marketing Cloud Journeys and Messages

View ActivitiesRecent Contact History

The feature extends the list of possibilities of how you can track your ongoing journey’s activities excluding Waits. We probably cannot call this improvement a life-changer, nevertheless, it allows you to work more efficiently and solve issues faster. That is how you can see errors and successes back-to-back almost of every activity on the canvas and without any delay analyze trends, delivery ratios, and others. Moreover, you can expand the view by clicking “View Contact Details” to filter history by Date Range (last day, 1 week, 2 weeks, or 1 month) and then you can expand it even further by clicking “View Details” and there identify your contacts, see when and how they were processed and lastly optional details that might help you to troubleshoot or understand the reasoning.

The limitation here is that you can see only 30 days of history and not more. Hopefully, in the future, Salesforce would add the possibility to select Custom Date Range as we have in the History tab of Journey Builder. On the other hand, earlier we almost did not have any visibility of what happens to the contacts when they enter the journey, which means it is much better to have this feature than basically nothing.

Journey Builder - Email Summary Details
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Wait Until API Event Activity

New Wait Activity in Journey Builder allows you to hold contacts for a specified time as any other Wait Activities, yet it also monitors for an external event to happen (such as purchase or registration), which would trigger in its turn action of your choice. Thus, it would send the journey’s audience into two paths – who triggered an API Event and went further or those who did not and simply sat still.

This empowers Journey Builder to react to real-time events despite the contact’s location on the canvas and expands the possibilities of how you can interact with your audience, since you can immediately follow-up with an SMS or update of contact’s record inside Data Extension, for example. The decision relies all on your creativity and current business need, but we can absolutely tell that there is a huge potential in this feature.

Journey Builder - Wait Until API Event

Marketing Cloud App and Setup

Package Manager

Package Manager could be considered as a big leap forward for enterprise accounts with multiple Business Units. That is how with that new solution you can “copy-paste” almost any asset. It especially saves your time with Journeys and Automations because those would be deployed alongside dependent assets like Data Extensions, Content Builder assets, and even Attribute Groups. So, if you have some kind of static obligatory best practices that you have to have on every instance, now you can easily deploy them and be 100% sure that you would preserve the same configuration as it has in the original version.

You might say – “But hey, we’ve already had Deployment Manager before, why do we need Package Manager now?”. We indeed had Deployment Manager, however, it did not always have consistent deployment for assets that it was supposed to support, like Attribute Groups that could be deployed with only simple straight relationships. Moreover, there was no support for Filter, Refresh and Send activities from Automation Studio. All of that is currently provided by Package Manager and lastly, as a cherry on top, the new tool will safely put everything in either new folders and existing ones, so it will not harm your instance’s feng shui. If it is still not enough, you can also check the official comparison by Salesforce –

Supports fully configured journeys, automations, and Sales Cloud and Service Cloud events and activities.Supports unconfigured journeys and automations. It doesn’t support Sales Cloud or Service Cloud events and activities.
Supports content assets and package personalization or customization.Doesn’t support content assets.
When you select the highest level object, Package Manager finds and copies the dependencies for you.You manually select and map all items related to the higher-level object.
Includes full Salesforce support as a native feature of Marketing Cloud.This app is an add-on and doesn’t include formal Salesforce support.
Offers fast scalability with ready-to-activate journeys, automations, assets, and data models.Requires significant manual work that reduces scalability.
Information provided by Salesforce

In any case, we, as a Marketing Cloud users, always end up in win situation in a view of our extended capabilities after each release and improvement on even already existing feature. To sum up Package Manager and to get visual understanding what is it, you can check video below –

Marketing Cloud Data Import from Amazon S3

In terms of managing the data, we do have more good news for MC users and their clients who use Amazon S3 Storage Service. From now on, you can go to the Setup → Data Management → File Locations and there configure direct import from AWS S3. It could be treated as an alternative to the FTP, which would erase all hitches you have had while using the FTP approach. Setting up AWS S3 would definitely offload the procedure of data transfer as you going to might store the data where it is generated.


Marketing Cloud Interaction Studio

As much as we love Interaction Studio with its inlimited potential and always ongoing updates, we decided to summarise several updates together since they are under the same roof:

  • Server-Side Campaigns and Templates – now leverages the same templating approach as web campaigns and enables a new targeting rule that helps a single campaign to work across multiple touchpoints;
  • MC Journey Builder activity for Interaction Studio – not an out-of-the-box solution that allows to send Interaction Studio Actions/Events directly from Journey Builder, and to receive IS consumer profile back into SFMC;
  • Interaction Studio Surveys feature – design, test, and deploy questions to your visitors and customers in order to gather explicit feedback and then use it to create user segments, enhance personalization experiences, and much more. Previously was available in Evergage but now here it is in IS.

All points were discussed and agreed upon their usefullness with our expert in Interaction Studio – Ekaterina, whos article you can always read here.

Marketing Cloud Einstein

As a last highlight section, we could not have skipped it at least because of its own separate group of release, which signifys how significant Einstein for Salesforce is. In April release, we got several updates:

  • Data Quality Metrics for EES, EEF, and STO – now you can evaluate given insights on the Overview page to boost the performance. You can get more details about each metric and how it is calculated either in the “View Details” pop-up, where you can get recommendations as well, or on the official documentation page.
  • Einstein Content Adding and Selection – allows you to add content without any complications and use it as you wish – in no code A/B Testing or automated personalization with new Spotlight feature that would limit possible content for a specific block, thus you can be absolutely sure that correct image would be always selected or directly letting you focus on a specific type of content.
Einstein - STO
Einstein - STO Data Quality
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There were some other small tweaks but they all pursue one goal – to let the user work with more information and let it analyze in an easier and efficient manner.

There were some other small adjustments here and there, like Stopping WhatsApp Chat Message Sends for Opted-out Contacts but that looks more of a bug fix rather than fresh, new idea implemented in Marketing Cloud.

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