IBM launched two cloud-based solutions on March 24 designed to help marketers gain real-time, actionable insight from data available across social media channels. The solutions, Coremetrics Social and Unica Pivotal Veracity Email Optimization Suite, seek to expand IBM’s business analytics capabilities and enable IBM clients to create and understand social campaigns.
The Coremetrics Social tool measures effectiveness and ROI of social initiatives by gathering data available on public social networks. “We wanted to tie what’s happening on company websites with what’s happening on social networks,” said John Squire, chief strategy officer with IBM Coremetrics. “The tool will be able to grab interactions across social networks, across key topics and interests, and draw that information alongside all of the Web analytics information, and sentiment analysis, and tie that exactly through to the consumers that refer and get [friends] to click through.”
Coremetrics Social will benchmark how marketing efforts are performing versus the rest of the market and their competitor set, said Squire. “Are my investments returning something? Are there opportunities I should be exploring?” He said the software creation was driven by marketers that asked IBM to help them understand how social activity can make their business more productive and drive more value.
Forrester Research senior analyst Joe Stanhope compares the Coremetrics Social product release to Adobe‘s recent SocialAnalytics launch and Salesforce.com‘s recent acquisition of social media monitoring platform Radian6.
“The [Coremetrics Social] features are very similar to what Adobe and Salesforce added,” said Stanhope. “The intention is what you see in the existing [Web analytics] tools, to analyze flow and buzz generated on social networks [regarding] brands and products.”
Stanhope said marketers will use the tools to “sync up social activity with Web activity to understand which channels are driving other channels.” Marketers that find they’ve had a surge of user-generated discussion on Twitter will now be able to understand if it was driven by the company’s campaigns by “being able to easily overlay [social] information in order to understand how [social and marketing] activities drive each other.”
“If you understand the funnel of activity,” explained Stanhope, “then you can start to understand which levers are driving activity and conversions and you can start using your advertising, search or email to start acting on that insight and pulling those levers to put marketing materials where they’ll be effective.”
The second product in the IBM release is the Unica Pivotal Veracity Email Optimization Suite, which is designed to enable businesses to analyze email links that are shared across social network platforms. “Each [consumer] has the ability to share any link in an email,” explained Michelle Eichner, VP of product marketing with Unica, an IBM company, “and more sharing is going on than marketers even realize. [The new tool] can identify which link is shared on Facebook and Twitter, which campaigns they came from, so that marketers can understand where [the sharing] started and where it finished.”
Eichner said the tool will give marketers insight into why some campaigns drive more social traffic than others; the tool will also reveal who the users are who share the most email links, what links they share and where they share them, she said. “Clients can create segments on influencers and campaigns focused exclusively on them. Nobody has provided that level of granularity yet.”
The launches follow IBM’s formation of a new consulting practice, Smarter Commerce, dedicated to helping companies adapt to customer demand in the digital marketplace.
Squire mentioned that IBM had clients in beta for the Pivotal offering “six months ago” but IBM did not provide beta references for neither Coremetrics nor Pivotal in time for publication.
Though Stanhope said these tools will make marketers’ jobs easier, he noted there is one major capability still missing from all social monitoring tools: sentiment analysis.
“Sentiment is a tough one,” he said. “It’s a huge technical challenge. Companies like IBM have spent a lot of money trying to crack that.”