Facebook and IBM are teaming up to help retailers better target advertising on the former’s existing ad network. Facebook will be the first company to join the newly developed IBM Commerce THINKlab. This is yet another step Facebook, the largest social networking platform in the world, is taking to help retailers and show them that its paid advertising programs don’t just provide clicks, but convert into actual sales. For IBM, who has already partnered with Twitter, Apple and Tencent among other companies with tons of data, it is another brownie point for making customer experience their top priority.
Blake Chandlee, VP of partnerships for Facebook said, ‘’We both want to connect people with brands. Our objectives are very much aligned. And we share quite a few major clients.’’ Jay Henderson, a director of strategy for IBM commerce said, “These new capabilities will allow Facebook to deliver more relevant, more personalized experiences.’’ IBM hopes it will make it easier to create ad campaigns and hopes to drag in more companies with this marketing solution.
How Is the Partnership Different from Twitter?
Earlier this year IBM partnered with Twitter to help it develop an app for businesses that assists them with understanding their customers’ needs. Twitter is currently licensing its data to IBM to help make the tool more relevant and user friendly. Although many businesses that are involved in the partnership advertise on Twitter, there’s no advertising involved in the analytics that the two companies developed.
It is quite fascinating that IBM chose to partner with Facebook to boost its advertising division, but did not utilize Twitter for the same purpose. Twitter has over 500 million monthly users (May, 2015) out of which 302 million are active. The social network also handles over 1.6 billion search queries per day and is continually ranked as one of the ten most visited websites by Alexa Internet. Perhaps IBM made this decision because it places more value in Facebook’s ubiquitous user base as well as its savvy targeting capabilities.
What Are the Repercussions of This Partnership?
It is more than evident that Facebook is interested in attaining a strong foothold in the retail markets and partnership with IBM will strengthen Facebook’s pitch. The largest social network has been vying for retailers’ attention for quite some time. It rolled out its Atlas demand-site platform, which permits ad buyers to track ad impressions on multiple devices and track in-store sales conversions. As well, Facebook rolled out several new ad units, such as “product ads” and “Facebook offers” and has been testing a buy button in ads, which would allowed buyers to purchase directly from Facebook without leaving or disclosing payment information to another party,
For IBM, the partnership brings forth another valuable cloud partner. As previously mentioned, IBM has struck many deals within the past year with multiple tech companies with the intention of improving its cloud businesses. Although its cloud revenues have increased substantially over the past few years, its other revenue sources have declined. Adding Facebook as a partner gives its cloud platform even more data to use smarter.
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