The February 2019 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.
We're also releasing a few preview features that are scheduled to be part of the upcoming major release in April 2019. These must be installed and enabled separately if you want to try them out.
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.
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.
Preview features aren't installed as part of the standard February 2019 update, and should only be used on non-production instances until they are made generally available. For instructions on how to install and enable the preview features on one of your test instances, see Activate and use preview features for April 2019.
We've added a new design element to the graphical email designer—the custom code element. Use it to position logical commands (like if-then statements and for-each loops) between your other design elements, thus making your email designs fully responsive to each recipient, with content and layout that can vary according to each recipient's name, city, account, loyalty plan, and more.
This basic capability was already present in Dynamics 365 for Marketing but required you to work in the HTML view rather than the design view of the email editor. The custom code element makes dynamic code easier to work with, more reliable, and easily visible to designers while working in design view.
More information: How to enter advanced dynamic content in the designer and Custom-code elements
Content settings provide a dynamic repository of common values that you often use in email messages, such as your organization's street address, links to common online resources, and more. This lets the system confirm the presence of required content during error checks (like a subscription center link), and provides a central repository of often-used values that can vary dynamically between customer journeys.
Until now, the collection of fields provided in the content settings was fixed, but now you can add your own, custom fields to this entity using the standard customization controls of Dynamics 365. In the February release, you can only add text (string) fields, by we expect to extend this to other data types for the upcoming major release in April.
More information: Use content settings to set up repositories of standard and required values for email messages
You could already use trigger tiles to direct contacts down one of two customer-journey paths based on whether they clicked on a specific link in an email message. However, the previous solution tracked each individual link from your message as unique, even if some of them were set to open the same URL. Now, if all you care about is which URL was opened rather than where in the message each contact clicked, you can set up your triggers accordingly.
More information: The trigger tile
Sender authentication is becoming increasingly important for ensuring email deliverability, and one of the key technologies that major email providers are using to confirm it is DKIM. With DKIM, the internet DNS system will be able to confirm that your organization owns all your email sending domains, and that Dynamics 365 for Marketing is also authorized to send on your behalf. Email messages that fail this test are increasingly likely to be filtered away as spam.
Previously, you needed to contact Microsoft Support to get help setting up DKIM for Dynamics 365 for Marketing, but now the app provides a self-service solution that will walk you through each step and provide all the information you need to register with DNS to authenticate your messages and help ensure deliverability.
In addition, each time you go live with a new email message, Dynamics 365 will check to make sure the from-address you've used in the message has a domain that has been authenticated with DKIM. If you try to send a message that uses an unauthenticated from address, you'll see a warning that prompts you to authenticate that domain or use a different from-address.
More information: Authenticate your domains and Best practices for email marketing
We have improved usability, consistency, and discoverability of the marketing results, insights, and KPIs reported throughout the application. Improvements include:
More information: Analyze results to gain insights and the Insights glossary
Go-live entities (like customer journeys, marketing emails, content settings, marketing pages, and others) have a lifecycle that brings them through stages such as draft, going live, live, stopped, live edit, and more. These are features that you design using Dynamics 365 for Marketing but then publish (go live) to an external service, where they become available for public use on the internet.
Though the go-live concept and stages are similar among the various entities that use them, each entity was designed to work slightly differently when the product was first released. We are now working to make all go-live entities more consistent to ensure that each of them presents the same stages, controls, and transition options throughout their lifecycle. Our goal is to make the application more consistent and therefore faster to learn and easier to understand. We are planning to complete this design change in time for the next major release in April, but already in February we are introducing the following improvements:
More information: Go live with publishable entities and track their status
In addition to the many insights improvements already mentioned, we'd like to call special attention to customer journeys, where we've added entirely new insights that help you find out which contacts didn't complete a journey, and why. Also, journey results are now better organized to make it easier to categorize and analyze email results—such as delivered (and what happened next) or not delivered (and why).
More information: Customer journey insights
The image gallery is shown when you select images to add to an email or page design, and when you go to Marketing > Marketing content > Files; it lets you browse and select images already uploaded to Dynamics 365, and lets you upload new images. For the February 2019 update, we’ve improved the image gallery to make it faster, more attractive, and easier to use. Improvements include:
Similar improvements are also being added to the template galleries for journeys, emails, pages, and forms.
More information: Upload and use images and files and Work with email, page, and form templates.
Hidden fields are a standard HTML technique that enables form designers to add extra information that form users don't see, but which gets submitted together with the form. Dynamics 365 will store all hidden field values together with the submission, which can help add more contextual information to each submission without exposing it to from users to view or edit.
More information: Design elements for forms.
The event website enables internet users to read about and then register for the events that you are managing with Dynamics 365 for Marketing. You could already implement full event registration, and sub-event registration based on session tracks, but starting in February you'll also be able to allow registrants to choose any combination of sessions when they register for a free event. This will enable attendees to reserve their seat for the sessions they are most interested in—which will help your planning while also provided a record of what your contacts are most interested in.
For the February release, session-level registration is limited to free events. For paid events, use event passes linked to session tracks instead (for now). Note also that waitlists are not yet supported for events using session-level registration.
More information: Set registration options and The Agenda tab
The next major release of Dynamics 365 for Marketing is scheduled to arrive in April 2019, but two of these upcoming features will already be available for preview in the February release.
In April we're planning to introduce social posting, which will enable you to schedule and post messages to a variety of popular social media channels right from Dynamics 365 for Marketing. You'll be able to preview this capability already in February, where we are introducing the ability to post on Twitter (only).
More information: Activate and use preview features for April 2019
Dynamics 365 for Marketing is priced, among other things, according to how may marketing contacts are stored on your tenant. Dynamics 365 for Marketing now lets you keep an eye on your marketing contacts by showing the total number you have purchased and the total number that are using. To see these values, go to Settings > Advanced settings > Other settings > Quota limits.