Like the social advertising version of Twitter.com versus Tweetdeck, Facebook’s and Twitter’s ad platforms can satiate most advertisers. Power marketers looking for more bells and whistles typically turn to third-party ad platforms to advertise on the social networks, though.
Case in point: Retailers looking to use Facebook’s Custom Audiences targeting capability to run ads against their existing customers need to manually upload their customer lists to Facebook’s platform, then manually update them with new customers. And a quick-service restaurant trying out Twitter’s new keyword targeting can’t combine it with interest-level targeting or plan campaigns for specific times of day on the microblogging service’s ad center.
Salesforce aims to solve both headaches. It's rolled out Social.com as part of its Salesforce Marketing Cloud so that marketers can tie their Salesforce-managed customer databases to automate Custom Audience targeting and better use Salesforce-owned Radian6’s social listening platform to inform their Facebook and Twitter ad buys.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud CMO Michael Lazerow explained that a brand like Ford could use Social.com to set up a Facebook campaign targeted to everyone who test-drove a Ford Focus in the last two months and, provided Ford uses Salesforce to manage its CRM database, have that target group automatically update as new people take test drives. The Radian6 integration would take Ford’s customer profile and surface relevant terms or hashtags relevant to that group for an advertiser to target with Facebook or Twitter campaigns, he said.
The new capabilities come about seven months after Salesforce first announced the Marketing Cloud. That Twitter didn’t roll out an ad API for Salesforce to be able to build automated buying capabilities into its platform until February contributed to the delay, Lazerow said. As for the Facebook Custom Audiences-related addition, “the processes and procedures and technology didn’t exist on either side to hook up the systems to say ‘Anyone in this bucket, give these ads,’” he said.