Salesforce.com links up with Facebook for targeted ad delivery

The announcement follows Salesforce.com's unveiling of Social Key, which will merge social and business-contact data

Salesforce.com customers interested in using the vendor's emerging family of marketing software could benefit from a new partnership it has formed with Facebook for targeted ad delivery.

The companies announced the pact late Thursday during Salesforce.com's Dreamforce event in San Francisco.

Salesforce.com is tying its Marketing Cloud into Facebook's new custom audience targeting functionality, which will help "marketers reach people they may already have a connection with on Facebook," according to a Salesforce.com blog post.

First, a user would pick groups of customers from within their Salesforce.com CRM (customer relationship management) system, such as existing customers or prospects, the post states. A list of emails or phone numbers culled from the groups would then be run through a hashing process for security purposes, and compared with information of active Facebook users in order to find matches.

Facebook won't reveal its users' identities to the Salesforce.com system. Instead, Salesforce.com users would reach Facebook matches indirectly via the Marketing Cloud, which includes the social advertising system gained through the acquisition of Buddy Media.

In addition, Salesforce.com has become a "strategic" member of Facebook's Preferred Marketing Developer program, which will "give it early access to pre-launch product tests, and receive levels of product and sales support that Facebook has never offered before," according to another official blog post.

The Facebook integration news comes shortly after Salesforce.com announced a somewhat similar new offering called Social Key. Set for general availability late next year, Social Key will map business contact data held in Salesforce.com's Data.com lead-generation service to information from social media.

The approach will apparently sidestep the layer of customer privacy built into Marketing Cloud's Facebook integration, potentially giving salespeople an extra edge.

"Imagine having context into a prospect's interests, likes and dislikes before walking into a sales pitch -- you may even learn what competitors are in the deal," Data.com senior vice president and general manager Andy MacMillan said in a blog post earlier this week. "Priceless context that will help you strengthen your relationships with customers and close more deals, faster."

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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