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9/6/2012
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Adobe Social Promises To Capture Business Results

Entering a crowded social media management market, Adobe claims an edge in tracking social media interactions all the way through to purchases or other payoffs.

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As it enters the crowded social media management market, Adobe is emphasizing how well Adobe Social dovetails with other elements of its Digital Marketing Suite to provide multi-channel measurement and optimization of online marketing.

"Pretty much every social marketer is running campaigns based on intuition, but if you want to connect that activity to business results, you have to start with good data," Aseem Chandra, VP of marketing industry solutions for Adobe, said in an interview. "We're looking to connect social activity that occurs on the network to business results on any of your other properties. Did that actually drive business for you? That's the question we're looking to answer. Marketers don't necessarily want to do more social; they want to get it right."

On Thursday, Adobe ended the beta test phase for Adobe Social and released it into general availability.

Since the acquisition of the Web traffic measurement firm Omniture in 2009, Adobe has paired its tools for digital media creation with an increasing emphasis on organizing and measuring online marketing. When used in combination with Adobe's Omniture SiteCatalyst, Adobe Social will be able to follow clicks from social media through to conversion events such as a purchase or download of a white paper in a way that a pure social media monitoring tool could not.

"If you have a different [web] analytics solution deployed today, it's possible to build integration with that existing analytics tool, but with SiteCatalyst the deep connections are already available and don't have to go to any extra work," Chandra said. Other complementary elements of the suite include Adobe Test & Target for optimizing marketing appeals through the testing of alternatives and Adobe Discover, a data exploration tool for identifying customer segments.

In a product demo, Jeff Jordan, senior product manager for Adobe Social, emphasized analytic features such as the ability to identify influential social media users not by their follower count but by their bottom-line impact. When Adobe was promoting its latest Creative Suite release, it was able to identify one contact in Japan whose retweets had driven $5,000 in direct income for the company, he said.

Adobe Social also includes an app builder, similar to the one in the Adobe CQ content management system, for drag-and-drop assembly of sweepstakes entry forms, landing pages, and other interactive content that can be embedded in Facebook. SiteCatalyst tracking for that content can be added by dragging a widget onto the design canvas.

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"We've taken the guesswork out of measuring social media," Jordan boasted. "You get optimization built in."

Adobe said pricing for the service is based on usage metrics such as the number of keywords, brands, and mentions tracked, ranging from tens of thousands of dollars to seven-figure deals. Although the product typically will be used by a select team of social media managers or analysts in the marketing department, there is no per-seat element to the pricing, Jordan said. "We've scaled it out to organizations like Hyatt, where they've trained everyone from social media managers down to the bellhops," with distinct rights and permissions for different classes of users, he said.

Despite that claim, Adobe Social doesn't put as much emphasis on large-scale deployment and distributed publishing as products from other vendors such as Sprinklr and Spredfast. Adobe's focus seems to be on measuring the response to social media marketing campaigns, rather than everyday engagement on social media.

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard and facebook.com/thebyard

Social media make the customer more powerful than ever. Here's how to listen and react. Also in the new, all-digital The Customer Really Comes First issue of The BrainYard: The right tools can help smooth over the rough edges in your social business architecture. (Free registration required.)

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