Marc Benioff, founder, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com, is expected to discuss his company's social ad campaign service at a media event on Tuesday in San Francisco, Calif., at 10 a.m. PT.
Social.com provides large companies and ad agencies with the means to plan and manage social advertising campaigns, using real-time customer and social sentiment data. Through the Web application, companies can oversee the design and distribution of targeted ads on Facebook or Twitter.
The company's Social Marketing Cloud supports a broader array of social networks, including LinkedIn, Google+ and other services.
Noting that research firm BIA Kelly predicts social advertising will be an $11 billion market by 2017, up from $4.7 billion in 2012, Eric Stahl, VP of Web content and strategy at Salesforce.com, said in a phone interview, "Social now has the reach of television, combined with unprecedented targeting abilities."
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What a difference a year makes. Last May, just before Facebook went public, GM publicly abandoned Facebook advertising because it supposedly found social ads to be ineffective. Earlier this month, GM revived its relationship with Facebook. One possible reason for the change: Facebook has reportedly shifted away from social ads toward more traditional online ad techniques like retargeting, augmented by social data.
If there's been a crisis of faith in social advertising, it's not evident in Saleforce.com's commitment to Social.com. "With this announcement, Salesforce is really doubling down on social marketing," said Stahl.
Jonathan Nelson, CEO of advertising company Omnicom Digital, suggested in a statement that social advertising has become essential. "Social media has achieved a recognizable level of credibility in the marketing world, and if you don't have it in your marketing mix, brands are missing a huge touch point with potential customers," he said.
What Salesforce.com brings to the mix is the ability to exploit customer relationship data, to measure and manage social engagement through the Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and to react to social sentiment in real time, through its Radian6 social listening application.
Randall Lloyd, sales director at Salesforce.com, explained in a phone interview that Oreo's recent use of Twitter during Super Bowl XLVII exemplifies the value of paying attention to social channels and producing social ads in near real-time to respond to current trends and events.
Following the power outage at the game, Oreo's "Power Out? No problem" tweet, which featured an attached image of an Oreo cookie with the caption "You can still dunk in the dark," was published at just the right moment and was widely retweeted and shared.
"The ecosystem has changed," said Lloyd. "Media agencies don't have the luxury they once had planning campaigns. ... We call it the speed of social. ...These tools really help them capitalize on that and collaborate."