Oracle’s move into the social media marketing technology space continued last night as it announced the acquisition of Facebook application development platform provider Involver.
Involver allows businesses to build applications for Facebook, presenting branded ‘experiences’ on the social network, and to analyse how people interact with them. Its customers include US electronics retailer Best Buy, MTV and Toys R Us.
Last month, Oracle acquired social media analytics company Collective Intelligence, which allows users to "listen to and understand what is important to their consumers [and] gain faster insights and early warnings on important trends," the company said at the time.
And in May, it acquired Virtue, a company that provides ‘social relationship management’, automating and analysing the use of social media for marketing and customer service.
All these companies’ technology will form part of what Oracle calls its "social platform", although its strategy of buying its way into social marketing means this will be more of a collection of platforms for the time being.
The driver for this strategy is clear: while IT budgets remain stagnant, marketing departments are spending increase amounts on technology as customer interaction over digital channels becomes the norm.
Oracle’s CRM rival Salesforce.com is pursuing a similar strategy. Last month, it acquired Buddy Media, whose Facebook content creation technology is comparable to Informer’s platform.
It also reflects a broader trend of enterprise software companies acquiring social media technology providers, as social functionality becomes the standard interface for software. For example, last month Microsoft acquired enterprise micro-blogging provider Yammer for $1.2 billion.
Whether or not these acquisitions provide a lifeline for the legacy products for the likes of Oracle and Microsoft or end up cannabilising them, this year the business software giants decided that ‘social’ was something they needed to own.