The Social Integration Is On (and Intelligence Follows)

Social media continues to move at digital speed. In fact, what brands used to call their social media strategy is quickly approaching irrelevance. Integration is here. Social media strategy needs to be mapped into overall brand strategy immediately because the two are no longer separate. Social media intelligence needs to feed marketing intelligence and customer intelligence. Welcome to the great social media integration.

Several recent changes have forced the acceleration here. The most important is the debut of Facebook Exchange. However, not for the reasons most analysts have pointed out. Facebook Exchange is not a quick money grab to satisfy Wall Street. It is a basic change in how social media intelligence is gathered and it is the driving force behind this media integration. It will exponentially increase the amount of customer data generated from all digital advertising.

First, the basics. Real-time bidding is now going to become standard at an even more rapid pace than anyone thought. Partially, this is because Facebook Exchange will give brands access to buy Facebook ads that target users precisely based on data generated by their overall digital behavior, not just their social media behavior. That’s a huge change. It will increase some of Facebook’s inventory value, mostly for its side-panel Marketplace ads. It will also make advertising more engaging because brands will find buyers in real time and value them more efficiently. And the ad connects to Facebook Exchange as well as non-Facebook exchanges. There’s the integration again.

So by its nature, all social media networks will embrace exchanges. The amount of customer interactions will increase, and the amount of available intelligence increases from the entire Internet. From a customer intelligence perspective, brands will have more specific, actionable data on more engagements.

Now what does a brand do with that? There’s no such thing as too much customer data in this case. It’s a great problem to have. But first one of the major adjustments that needs to be made is in enterprise dashboards. Strategy will be integrated. Dashboards will be complicated. Brands will need to measure and sample customer intelligence holistically as well as by specific channel. That’s why the various moves by social media networks to embrace mobile and a variety of different creative and pricing executions are so important.

For example, suppose a financial services company introduces a new credit card. Using this new integrated digital strategy it will look at the social networks, mobile content, websites, and even individual pages that best match its customer preference. The customer generated from each needs to be accurately portrayed on a new marketing dashboard because first, the data is coming back in real time. Second, the data will be judged differently depending on its digital source. A visit to a website whose content covers high-end financial strategy is very different from a retweeted story about “bank fees.” Brands need to see the big picture and a lot of little ones.

As you can see, it’s more than an API window we’re dealing with. It’s about the entire range of customer behaviors and the affinities and attitudes that come with it. So welcome to the integration. Like everything else in this business, it will move at digital speed.

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