It’s no longer early days for social media marketing solutions as the market is beginning to trend towards platforms offered by large vendors that can aggregate many of the features seen offered by startups in the space over the last couple of years.
As more businesses were convinced that social media channels were a valid place to conduct marketing campaigns and customer support operations, startups have popped up to address their needs in the fledgling practice. There was software or web-based services offered for social listening, social monitoring, social tracking, social sentiment analysis, social influencer detection and everything else in between. But point solutions like that aren’t going to cut it any more for most businesses, according to Peter Kim, an analyst with Constellation Research. Now the era of the platform has arrived for conducting social business.
Just consider this list the analyst has compiled of vendors offering brand monitoring solutions and where they’ve ended up:
- Nielsen Buzzmetrics: went private, JV with McKinsey, shut down.
- TNS Cymfony: acquired by Visible Technologies
- Umbria: acquired by J.D. Power
- Biz360: acquired by Attensity
- Factiva: integrated into Dow Jones
- Brandimensions: pivoted into anti-fraud
- MotiveQuest: still standalone
Kim also points to the August 2013 bankruptcy of Toronto-based Syncapse as evidence that standalone solutions are either going to be rolled up into platforms offered by larger vendors or be forced out of the market. (The the firm still operates today with major brand clients after a reorganization.)
News today giving more fodder to Kim’s argument is the acquisition of London-based tag managment and attribution company TagMan by Cupertino, Calif.-based Ensighten to boost its Agile Marketing Platform. TagMan’s software helps marketers track how effective their digital campaigns are, conducted across multiple platforms. Marketers use meta-data known as “tags” to track how customers got to a website and made a purchase – or not – so they can evaluate the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and make tweaks to improve conversion.
In acquiring TagMan, Ensighten called out other cloud marketing platforms in its press release:
The new combined entity provides a strategic platform for digital marketers to leverage the foundation of tag management to unlock the full potential of their data. Ensighten leverages an open, patented hybrid-tagging architecture for its Agile Marketing Platform. This solves performance challenges, and enables marketers to leverage and easily switch among best-of-breed, third-party vendors. In contrast, other major cloud marketing platforms, such as Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce have closed platforms, which limit marketers’ choices.
It’s no coincidence that Kim identifies Adobe Marketing Cloud, Oracle Social Cloud and Salesforce Marketing Cloud as the three leading social business platforms on the market right now. But that position isn’t cemented. The vendor race is on to add features quickly and deliver a complete package to marketers.