Announcing: The Dynamics 365 for Marketing December 2018 update is now available


The December 2018 update of Dynamics 365 for Marketing is released and available*  for customers to install and update starting now! This update includes several new features, plus plenty of performance and stability improvements.

Keep reading to learn how to get this update and which new features it includes. For more information about this update, including known and recently fixed issues, see the Dynamics 365 for Marketing readme page.

* Note: The December 2018 release is now fully rolled out all regions except APj (Asia/Pacific, excluding Japan). We will update this blog post to announce when the update becomes available in  APj.

How to get the update

To benefit from this update, you must manually apply it to each of your Dynamics 365 for Marketing instances as described in Keep Marketing up to date.

Event management enhancements

Event website customization, duplication, and remote hosting

We have big news for the event website, which publishes your event schedule, speakers, sponsors, and other details straight from your planning database, plus enables event attendees to register and pay online. It still has all these capabilities, but now it's provided as a downloadable Angular JavaScript project that you can customize and publish anywhere.

A fully functional sample event website has been included with Dynamics 365 for Marketing event management ever since its initial release. Previously, the sample version was supplied as a native project in Dynamics 365 portals, but from now on we'll provide it as an Angular project, which delivers many advantages, including:

  • Fully functional out of the box: The event website is still provided for all new installs, so you can instantly try it out.
  • Easy copies and backups: The entire event website is now implemented as a single JavaScript file, plus a CSS file, so it's easy to make copies and backups.
  • Easier customization: Download the event website project and then customize it with new features using standard scripting, markup, and styling techniques in your preferred web-development environment.
  • Choose your preferred host: When you're done customizing your event website, you can host it on your own web server or as a site on Dynamics 365 portals.

For more information, see Set up the event website in the online help.

The event website is no longer overwritten during updates

Previously, the event website was provided as a sample built natively using Dynamics 365 portals. This sample site was also updated each time you updated Dynamics 365 for Marketing, which meant that if you customized the sample rather than working on a copy, your customizations would be lost after each update.

As mentioned in the previous section, the event website is now provided as an Angular project that produces a single JavaScript file and an accompanying CSS file that you can publish anywhere. Starting now, the first time you install Dynamics 365 for Marketing, the Angular version of the event website is installed and hosted on your Dynamics 365 portal. And from now on, when you update Dynamics 365 for Marketing, your event website on the portal will not be updated, regardless of whether you are using the Angular version or the native Dynamics 365 portals version.

Microsoft will continue to develop and expand the event website that we provide with new installs, but you won't see these improvements when you update Dynamics 365 for Marketing. If you'd like to try out the latest version, you can always download it from the Microsoft download center, try it out, and adopt the new code to your own, customized event website as needed. You can easily see what's new by running a compare (diff) operation between the old and new versions of the site.

For more information, see Set up the event website in the online help.

Easily add or remove a CAPTCHA for the event registration form

Until now, the event registration form provided with the standard event website always included a CAPTCHA field to help ensure that only real humans could submit the form. You could always remove it by editing the event website, but now you can more easily add or remove it for any event with just a simple configuration setting. This also means that you could enable it for some events, but not all of them if you wish.

To make this setting for any event, open the event record, go to the General tab, scroll down to the Website section and set Enable Captcha to Yes or No as required.

For more information, see Set up an event in the online help.

New contact-matching strategy and lead-generation option for events

One of the major benefits of hosting events is that you get to meet many new contacts and generate new leads, so you can build new business relationships and close more sales. The event website could already generate new contacts and/or leads each time somebody registers for an event, but we've improved the contact-matching strategy and made lead-generation optional.

  • Contacts are now matched based on email address, first name, and last name (previously, just the email address was used). If all three of these values from an incoming event registration match an existing contact, then that contact is linked to the new registration record; otherwise a new contact is created and registered.
  • You can now choose whether to create a new lead for each event registration. To set this option, open the event record and set the Create leads for event registrations option to Yes or No. If you enable this option, then a new lead will be created for each registration (the system won't attempt to match any existing lead).

For more information, see Generate and match contacts and leads from event registrations in the online help.

Improved segmentation

More flexible segment naming

Previously, the character set available for naming customer segments was limited. With the December release, you are now free to include almost any type of character in your segment names, including spaces, punctuation, non-English letters, and other special characters.

Accurate member counts for live segments

The system now displays an accurate member count for all live segments, including both static and dynamic segments, to within an hour of the last change. In previous versions of the Marketing app, you could request an estimated member count, but this estimate was often far from the true value.

Create write-protected containers for email and marketing-page designs

When you're designing an email or marketing-page template, you can now add an HTML attribute that locks parts of the design at the container level as needed. This will help ensure that when other users create content based on your template, they won't accidentally break the layout or be able to remove or modify important parts of the content. Other parts of the design can be left unlocked to make them easy to customize to match the needs of each specific campaign or context.

For more information, see Use custom attributes to enable designer features in emails, pages, and forms.

Customer journey improvements

New customer journey insights tell you which contacts didn't complete the journey—and why

When you're analyzing the results of a customer journey, one of the most important things to find out is whether all your messages were delivered as expected. And if not—who was affected and what went wrong?

The new incomplete journeys display shows you each reason why a contact might fail to complete the journey and lists each contact that falls into each of these categories for the current journey.

To find this display, open a customer journey record, select Customer journey: Insights from the system-view selector, and go to the Incomplete journeys tab. Select a reason in the left column of the table to see a list (in the right column) of contacts that failed to complete the journey for that reason.

Blocked messages

These are reasons why Dynamics 365 may choose not to attempt to send an email message to a contact. Usually, this is related to a technical problem with the message itself, such as missing data or a missing setting. Contacts will continue on the journey even if a message gets blocked, so later messages might still get sent successfully. A message might get blocked for any of the following specific reasons:

  • Contact has do-not-email set: A setting on the contact record indicates that that contact doesn't wish to receive marketing email (or any email) from your organization.
  • Duplicate recipient address: The journey already sent the message to this email address.
  • Recipient address isn't valid: There is something wrong with the recipient address, which means that the message can't be delivered.
  • Sender address isn't valid: The email is designed with a sender address that is blank or malformed. This may affect your entire send (if you are using an invalid static address or expression), or it may affect just a few messages if you are using a dynamic expression that only fails for some contacts for which data is invalid or missing.
  • Reply-to address isn't valid: Same as for the invalid sender address, but this applies to the reply-to field.
  • Email contains blacklisted links: Dynamics 365 for Marketing analyzes the content of outgoing messages to make sure they don't contain any blacklisted links. If one is found, the message is blocked. The system keeps an internal list of blacklisted sites that are known to be used for phishing, hosting malware, and other issues. This feature helps make sure that you don't accidentally include a link to one of those sites in your marketing messages.
  • Email is missing required fields: A required field (such as the subject) contains no value. Usually, this type of error would be found when you error-check the message, but if you are using a dynamic expression on a required filed, then the expression could fail to evaluate for some or all recipients.

Stopped contacts

These are reasons why a contact might get stopped in the middle of a journey. Contacts will stop their journey as soon as any of these situations occur, so no further messages or other journey actions will be applied thereafter to the affected contact(s). A contact can get stopped for any of the following reasons:

  • Contact joined the suppression segment: The contact joined the suppression segment for the customer journey .
  • Contact lowered consent below threshold: These are contacts that lowered their data-protection consent level , and are now below the minimum level of consent for this journey. This is an important part of GDPR compliance. More information: Data protection and the GDPR.
  • Contact lowered external consent below threshold: This is the same a Contact content not given but applies when consent is being managed by an external system rather than the internal one provided with Dynamics 365 for Marketing.

All live customer journeys can now be stopped at any time

The December update makes sure that you can always stop a live customer journey, even if it contains errors. Previously, validation errors could prevent a journey from being stopped (because a stopped journey is published right away on save), but this is no longer the case. This problem could happen, for example, because a journey passed the error check when it was first published, but some component of the journey (such as an email message) was deleted since then so the journey isn't valid anymore.

Customer journey go-live operations and status.

For more information, see Go live with publishable entities and track their status in the online help.

Easier navigation from journeys to relevant email insights

When you're analyzing the results of a customer journey, you can select any tile in the journey pipeline to see key performance indicators (KPIs) and other information about what happened at that tile as contacts passed through it. In the case of an email tile, you can select a button to see even more detailed insights about the related email message. On opening these message insights, you can filter them to show information about all journeys where you used that message or choose to filter the information to match any specific journey. Until now, the message insights would open to show overall results (from all journeys), but starting with the December release, when you open email insights from a customer-journey tile, you'll automatically see the insights prefiltered for the journey you just came from.

Navigate directly from customer journeys to related LinkedIn campaigns

The LinkedIn-campaign tile for customer journeys links each contact that passes through it to a specific LinkedIn campaign, thus making it possible for trigger tiles to react when a contact submits any LinkedIn Lead Gen Form that belongs to that campaign. We've now added a convenient Go to LinkedIn campaign link to the Properties tab of the LinkedIn tile, which will take you directly from Dynamics 365 to the related campaign on LinkedIn.

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