Salesforce.com experiments with Twitter-powered advertising

A platform in beta, using the social media giant's freshly announced API

Salesforce.com is hoping to give its Marketing Cloud product line a fresh boost with a new social advertising platform for Twitter.

The offering, now in closed beta, is powered by a new advertising API (application programming interface) Twitter announced yesterday. It will allow marketing managers to "manage Twitter advertising at scale alongside all of their existing social marketing programs," Salesforce.com said in a statement.

Pricing and a general availability date for the service weren't announced. Twitter has been testing the new APIs with Salesforce.com and a number of other partners, including Adobe and HootSuite, since January, according to an official Twitter blog post.

"Every year, or so, there's a development in the social marketing world that really matters," wrote Michael Lazerow, chief marketing officer for Salesforce.com's Marketing Cloud, in a separate blog post. "Not just another announcement. Not just another company thumping its chest. But a development so important that it makes sense to focus, pay attention and figure out how to take advantage of it."

Twitter's advertising API is just such an announcement, he added.

Lazerow came to Salesforce.com through the acquisition of Buddy Media, maker of tools for delivering targeted marketing through sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

That deal came soon after Salesforce.com rival Oracle scooped up Buddy Media's competitor Vitrue.

Now Salesforce.com's integration with Twitter's new advertising API will allow customers to create and run more effective advertising campaigns on Twitter in real time, Lazerow wrote.

Marketing and targeted advertising is just one way Salesforce.com and other CRM (customer relationship management) vendors tap social media. It's also become another channel for providing support to customers, as well as a way for companies to analyze what customers are saying about their products and to spot emerging trends.

To the latter end, last year Salesforce.com announced it had gained access to Twitter's "firehose" of messages, giving its Radian6 social media monitoring tools, which were also the result of an acquisition, a huge new pool of social data to analyze.

Salesforce.com is planning to hold a webinar on February 28 where customers can learn how to run marketing campaigns on Twitter, according to its website.

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