Salesforce.com and Oracle have each acquired companies whose technology helps companies use social media as a marketing channel.
Yesterday, SaaS CRM provider Salesforce.com announced its intention to buy Buddy Media for $689 million. Buddy Media offers a suite of services that allows businesses to create content for Facebook profile pages, and measure how social network users engage with and react to that content. Its customers include Ford, Hewlett Packard, L’Oreal and Mattel.
Salesforce.com got into the social media monitoring space with its acquisition of Radian6 in March last year. Buddy Media will sit alongside Radian6 in the company’s "Marketing Cloud" offering.
Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, said that the combination of Buddy Media and Radian6 puts the company in a good position to capitalise on growing IT spend by marketing departments.
Meanwhile, Oracle has agreed to acquire Collective Intellect, a real-time text-mining and social analytics technology provider, for an undisclosed sum. The technology allows "open ended" analysis of social media content, so users can "can listen to and understand what is important to their consumers [and] gain faster insights and early warnings on important trends," the company claims.
In November last year, Gartner’s global head of research Peter Sondergaard predicted that by 2012, "CIOs will have lost effective control of 25% of their organisation’s IT spending" to the market department.
Since then, enterprise IT have been rapidly acquiring companies to boost their marketing technology arsenals.
In April of this year, IBM acquired "customer experience analytics" vendor Tealeaf, and Teradata acquired email marketing automation provider eCircle. Earlier this month, Oracle acquired Virtue, a social media marketing firm.
Meanwhile, since Facebook’s IPO last month, commentators have become increasingly skeptical of the value of social media as a marketing channel. A poll by Reuters and ipsos found this week the four out five Facebook users have never bought a product or service as a result of an advert on the site.
The survey also found that a third of users spend less time on the site than they did six months ago, describing it as "boring" and "not useful".
Last month, US car manufacturer General Motors pulled its adverts from the social network saying they had little impact on customer purchases.
As businesses struggle to generate sales through social media channels, many will turn to social media analytics and marketing integration technologies – an opportunity that the likes of Salesforce.com and Oracle are keen not to miss.