Salesforce.com boosts social analytics options in strike at Oracle

Customers of Salesforce.com's Marketing Cloud can now tap social analytics from 20 partners

Salesforce.com said Friday that it has significantly expanded the social analytics options available to customers who use its Marketing Cloud, in its latest move in an ongoing arms race with Oracle to offer businesses the best tools for mining the social Web.

Marketing Cloud users can now tap social analytics offerings from 20 partners from a single dashboard, according to Salesforce.com. Partners involved include Klout, Kred, OpenAmplify and Trendspottr.

Salesforce.com had already acquired social analytics vendor Radian6 as well as social marketing software vendor Buddy Media for the Marketing Cloud offering.

Rival Oracle has made similar moves with the purchase of Vitrue, Collective Intellect and Involver.

Both companies have positioned themselves as able to provide customers with an integrated stack for marketing, but Salesforce.com's announcement Friday seems bent on telling customers that their options remain flexible even after buying into its platform.

It could also amount to an olive branch by Salesforce.com to the partners involved, some of which may have grown wary of the vendor's aggressive push into social analytics.

In general, social analytics vendors are after the same thing: providing tools that help companies figure out what their customers are saying about products and services, quickly respond to complaints, and put together targeted marketing campaigns through social media.

As part of its announcement Friday, Salesforce.com is introducing a new pricing model based on credits. Marketing Cloud's basic edition pricing begins at US$5,000 per month and includes 1,000 "partner credits." Customers who want more partner credits can buy blocks of 10,000 for $100 per month.

Salesforce.com is expected to discuss the news further during an event in New York later Friday.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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