Salesforce and Radian6: Social media measurement is now relevant

by Jim Cain

Last week Radian6, considered by most to be the gold standard in social media measurement, was acquired by Salesforce.com for 330 million dollars.  While it is a little bittersweet to see another great Canadian tech company absorbed into a larger American one, I congratulate the team at Radian6 for their huge success.  They have certainly earned it, and I can’t wait to see what this major win does to the New Brunswick tech community.

As an analyst I am also very bullish on this move by Salesforce because, as far as I’m concerned, it finally makes social media measurement relevant.

Over the last few years, I have demoed most of the social media measurement tools with the goal of looking at bringing one of them into the Analyst Program.  It seems to me that marrying the data from the social web into corporate digital performance analysis is an obvious thing to do.

The only challenge has always been this: social media measurement tools are lousy at showing hard business value.

A quick example:  Using a tool like Radian6, I can enact and measure the growth and impact of a multi-pronged social media initiative (Facebook, Twitter, et al.).  I can see who the key influencers are, the positivity and negativity of the overall sentiment regarding the initiative, and how it has affected my corporate brand.  But how much money did this actually make me?  How many leads did I really get from it?  How did this social campaign affect my bottom line?

The recent stories about Pepsi’s failed efforts with social show that if you aren’t looking at the bottom line, you’re doing it wrong.

This has always been my issue with companies that don’t have Fortune 1000 brands who are making a lot of effort on Social Media. There just isn’t any way to answer the ‘so what’ questions regarding business impact.

This has changed with the Salesforce acquisition.  By bringing all the social web data into CRM, businesses will have the ability to directly align the impact of their social media initiatives on their sales.  Imagine being able to pull a report that shows that any VP-level contact who has more than two positive tweets about your brand is 75% more likely to close in the next 30 days. You show me a business-to-business marketing exec, and I’ll show you a client for that report.

While this really opens up a new category for Salesforce in their traditional B2B market, it doesn’t speak very well to consumer brands who don’t place as strong an emphasis on CRM.  I’m sure Salesforce has something up their sleeve.

Again, congrats to the Radian6 team — for the rest of us who are running digital marketing startups you have set a high bar on success and value.

And congrats to Salesforce, for taking the first step in making social media relevant to a balance sheet.

Cheers,

Jim

Jim Cain

Founder and CEO, Napkyn Analytics

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