Salesforce wants a big slice of the online advertising market, releasing a new app designed to help companies (most notably marketing agencies) better manage “social advertising” with data from Facebook and Twitter.
The app, Salesforce Social.com, incorporates assets from Buddy Media, the social-marketing firm that Salesforce purchased in 2012 for $689 million. Buddy Media’s platform allowed companies to manage customized content across social networks, including Facebook and Twitter. Salesforce has further augmented its social tools with intellectual property acquired from Radian6, which built tools for monitoring social networks.
In theory, Social.com will allow companies to streamline how they deliver ads to social networks. Its dashboards offer tools for building and launching social campaigns across a variety of devices; users can also track and analyze audience metrics, the better to adjust campaigns in a more effective direction. Social.com can also automate various campaign aspects, including ad spend.
In a typical move for this sort of product, Social.com also integrates with Salesforce CRM, allowing users to correlate their social-ad campaigns with internal data such as customer-loyalty metrics, purchasing tends, whitepaper downloads, and more.
Assets from Buddy Media and Radian6 also found their way into Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud, which the company rolled out in 2012. Marketing Cloud allows companies to manage presence across social channels, measure engagement, and precision-target social advertising. “This is the most exciting thing that’s happened to our industry,” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told an audience at last year’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. “How many of you use social media or social networking or some aspect of social computing today in your business?”
Salesforce doesn’t have a free playing field when it comes to social media. In May 2012, Oracle entered into an agreement to acquire Vitrue, described as a “cloud-based social marketing and engagement platform,” for an undisclosed sum. And while Microsoft, SAP and other enterprise-centric IT giants have focused more in recent quarters on producing software that makes work environments more collaborative and social, they are surely casting their development eye toward how to better monitor and react to outside social media.
When Salesforce first launched, the cloud-software arena was much less crowded; now it’s filled with competitors, leaving the company in the unenviable position of needing to fight harder in order to maintain its existing markets. Salesforce is betting very heavily that Social.com and similar tools will allow it to do so.