Thanks to its acquisition last year of Buddy Media, Salesforce already runs social ad campaigns for a number of major ad companies like GroupM and Omnicom. But today it’s breaking out its ad product into a separate entity that’s distinct from Buddy Media’s social publishing capabilities.
Vice President of Product Marketing Gordon Evans said that even though Salesforce has already run nearly 500,000 social campaigns, “There’s still a problem here — companies are sitting on this incredible customer data in their CRM systems, but they’re not really connected [to their ad campaigns] in a very efficient manner.” He added that companies also lack the ability to take “full advantage of all the information that’s shared on public social networks.”
Salesforce is in a good position to tackle those issues, given its core business as an online CRM system, and its acquisition of social listening service Radian6. Evans gave me a quick demo of the product, and while he said it includes the tools for creating, optimizing and automating ad campaigns on Facebook and Twitter “that are necessary for every powerful ad management organization,” what’s new here is the integration with Salesforce CRM and Radian6.
For example, Evans created a test Facebook campaign, and he was able to target that campaign at different customer groups by importing his data from Salesforce. (Facebook started allowing advertisers to target users based on CRM contact information last fall.) He noted that as a company’s CRM data gets updated, the ad targeting is updated, too. So you could launch an online contest, then target ads at people who participated in that contest. As more people signed up, they’d get added to the targeting.
Evans also created a test Twitter campaign, where he looked at Radian6 data showing trending topics and relevant conversations. Using that data, a company could find appropriate topics to target with its ads, and based on that topic, Social.com recommends content to include in the tweet. Evans acknowledged that advertisers could already use social listening data to tailor their ads, but he said they had to do “swivel chair analysis” that required them “to log in to multiple applications to user interfaces.” Now they can do it all in one place.
The big theme here is bringing a variety of Salesforce products together. In doing so, Evans said Salesforce is hoping to tempt its existing CRM and listening customers who are “trying to figure out what their social advertising strategy should be” while also creating a product that works for ad agencies.
Oh, and if you were wondering how Salesforce got such a sweet URL, it reportedly acquired the Social.com domain for $2.6 million a couple of years ago.