Constant evolution is a fact of life for all marketing automation platforms. After a series of big ticket releases around SMS and AI, Oracle are now devoting time to fixing the smaller items that have long frustrated Eloqua users. Some of this quarter's changes build on those new modules. Others are intended to make life easier for admins.
Perhaps the biggest change is the addition of another new email reporting metric. Bot clicks have long been an issue for email marketers. These automated clicks by email security filters serve a valuable purpose but come with unintended consequences. They inflate click-through numbers and make it harder to identify contacts who have genuinely engaged with campaigns.
Over the last few years, the industry has finally started to tackle the bot click issue. Other email marketing platforms have begun to exclude opens and clicks by security software from email metrics. Last quarter, Oracle finally followed suit, introducing a new metric called "Auto Opens" that counts emails opened by security scanners. Now Oracle is doing the same thing for bot clicks.
A new "Auto Clicks" metric splits out the bot clicks from the real clicks. That means the click-through metrics seen in Insight and the system dashboards will be accurate for future email campaigns. Unusually, Oracle have chosen to explicitly show the number of bot clicks to marketers rather than simply stripping them out in the back end. This will make it easier to compare the success of future campaigns that have excluded bot clicks against past campaigns that included them in the results.
Users of Eloqua's SMS capabilities have a lot to be happy about in this new release. SMS was only released as an add-on module in November and is now getting additional features for better integration into the Eloqua platform. Users of the SMS module will now see two additional campaign canvas decision steps, as well as some new form processing steps.
It is now possible to route contacts on multi-step campaigns based on responses to SMS activities. Marketers can move contacts down different campaign paths based on keywords in the SMS response. Also added in this release is a Sent SMS decision step, allowing marketers to base campaign flows on whether the contact received a specific SMS campaign.
More interesting are the additional form capabilities in the enhanced SMS module. Eloqua now supports phone number validation for the out of the box Mobile Phone and Business Phone fields. Once valid phone numbers are collected, Eloqua forms can manage SMS subscription settings. The full range of subscribe and unsubscribe form processing steps are available, enabling contacts to be opted-in or opted-out at both group and site level. This brings parity between email subscriptions and SMS subscriptions in Eloqua.
Another add-on getting some useful updates is the Eloqua Engage sales tool. The Microsoft Outlook plugin is gaining support for contact views. This enables admins to customise the fields shown to Sales when searching for contacts in the Eloqua sales tools. That has two benefits. Firstly, it ensures that reps have visibility of any important company specific properties such as account type or sales territory. Secondly, it allows admins to customise the fields required when Sales reps add contacts to Eloqua using the plugin. That will help improve data quality over the existing setup which only displays the default system view when contacts are added.
Data governance will be further assisted by the addition of send limits to Eloqua Engage. This is an area which has been strangely lacking in Eloqua until now. Admins can configure a daily, weekly or monthly cap on the number of sales that can be sent to a specific contact. The time range of the communication limit is flexible, as is the number of emails that can be sent. Once applied, any sales emails sent from any of Eloqua's sales tools will be affected by the limit. Marketing emails sent by the main Eloqua application are not affected by the Engage Send Limit.
One less welcome limit is to the number of active lead scoring models. Apparently, this is to improve the stability of the platform. After the current release, Eloqua users will only be able to activate up to 15 models on standard edition or 30 models on enterprise edition. This shouldn't affect the majority of Eloqua users but does limit the flexibility of the platform for multi-brand or multi-product companies sharing a single Eloqua instance.
Another change with potentially unexpected impacts affects data exports. Eloqua is now applying contact level security to scheduled data exports. Any exports configured in the Data Import and Export area of the application will now be run in the context of the user who created the export. This prevents users from exporting contacts to which they don't otherwise have access. That's a good thing, but it could cause issues if exports are configured by a user with different permissions from the user consuming the export. Eloqua users are advised to check the configuration of all exports they've created.
A less disruptive security change applies to security certificates for secure microsites. SSL certificates can now be automatically renewed by Oracle without admin intervention. This is part of a wider move to securing all microsites by default. For now, automatic security certificate renewal is a controlled availability feature only available in some pods. It is highly recommended that eligible Eloqua users take advantage of it.
The Oracle Eloqua 22B Update is scheduled over the weekends of May 6th, 2021 and May 20th, 2021. Contents of the release are subject to change. Full details, including smaller changes not mentioned in this article such as changes to APIs, can be found in the official release notes.
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