Startup Unified Unveils Social Marketing Platform for Enterprise

Microsoft, R to Z Media among initial clients

Powerful though it may be, for marketers, big data can be a big headache.

For brands that want to reach audiences across the growing landscape of social platforms, executing effective campaigns can mean managing different strategies, different planning and buying processes, and different analytics tools. Crunching data across multiple social platforms and reporting performance can become a labor-intensive operation for a lucky (or not so lucky) few.

Unified, which launches today, aims to streamline the entire cycle of marketing across major social ecosystems with technology intended for enterprise clients. Calling it the industry’s first “Social Operating Platform,” the company says it will help global brands and agencies simultaneously execute campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, StumbleUpon and other social services with a patent-pending tool that manages each step of the process, from planning, buying and optimizing campaigns to analyzing earned media and determining returns on the investment.

“There’s a definite shift happening from traditional buying to real enterprise-class, big data management in the advertising space,” Unified CEO Sheldon Owen told Adweek.

As social media advertising has ballooned, he said, marketers have relied on human labor and spreadsheets to manage multiple buys and consolidate analysis and reporting. While other social media management systems may help manage certain parts of the process, or campaigns on certain platforms, Unified claims it automates the entire process.

Targeted toward big companies and agencies, the product can let a client review the performance of all its brands at a glance, said Jason Beckerman, co-founder and chief strategy officer. It also lets clients sort performance by agency and determine and compare earned media amplification.

The company makes money through license fees and professional services. It also charges usage fees for clients who buy advertising through the system, but they can also buy the ads elsewhere and still manage other parts of the process with Unified.

The company, which has offices in New York and San Francisco, has been building its business quietly since April 2011. But it claims to have executed more than 3,000 social campaigns for a couple hundred brands over the past nine months, including Microsoft, BMW and GE. Unified’s client roster includes R to Z Media, the new company founded by Randi Zuckerberg; Digitas; and Starcom Mediavest Group.