Salesforce to Trigger Ads Based on CRM Data

Connecting Customer Relationship Management Tool to Facebook, Twitter Ads

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Salesforce is tying its customer relationship management tool to Facebook and Twitter ad platforms in an effort to trigger ads based on consumers' interactions with marketers.

The moves comes at a time when marketing automation and CRM software companies are integrating with ad-tech products, looking give their customers the ability to supplement email and text messaging with paid advertising.

"With Active Audiences, which we're announcing today, you can take your existing customer database and target specific contacts within it with ads," said Eric Stahl, senior VP-product marketing at Salesforce, referring to the product's name.

The product, Mr. Stahl said, allows marketers to slice and dice their contact lists and serve ads to them in any number of ways. Giving one example, Mr. Stahl said a hotel could set up a rule within Salesforce to show ads to customers in its loyalty program who haven't booked a room for a few months. The product can also be used to try to re-engage customers and prospects not interacting with email marketing by serving them paid ads in other channels.

"You are targeting specific people with ads based on who they are and what you know about them," Mr. Stahl said.

The product has intriguing uses for b-to-b marketers. It can, for instance, be used to serve ads to all contacts within accounts with open sales opportunities. And, it can show these contacts ads for the specific product they're in the market for.

Salesforce users can also set up ads to serve at different stages of the sales cycle. When prospects are in the early stages of a deal, general information may make sense. When they're getting towards the end, ads with more nitty-gritty product features might work better.

The ads will be served on Facebook and Twitter, as well as on mobile apps through Facebook's Audience Network. Additonal ads based on the core contact lists can be created within Facebook and Twitter's ad buying tools to broaden the campaigns' reach. The creation of the campaigns will occur within Salesforce's Marketing Cloud.

Importantly, the ad campaigns will be based on data owned by Salesforce's customers, meaning they can run without relying heavily on cookies. The cookie-based third party data ecosystem is taking a hit due to poor functionality on mobile and general accuracy issues. Mr. Stahl described the cookie-based ecosystem as dated, saying Salesforce is looking to replace the model by "going from these generic cookie-based ad campaign technologies to very targeted, audience-based, identity-based campaigns."

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