When most marketers use the word ‘data’, what springs to mind are large sets of numbers, Excel spreadsheets, cloud-based IT systems and complicated algorithms. Big data speak is the mot du jour. There is even a big data Week in London called the Festival of Data.
A new Forrester report evaluating social advertising platforms has nominated Kenshoo as the leading vendor solution thanks to its broad range of search and bid management capabilities.
The Forrester Wave: Social Advertising Platform Wave, Q4, 2013scored seven companies providing proprietary platforms for managing social advertising on a host of factors ranging from offering and strategy to market presence.
Forrester defines the social advertising platforms as those that help marketers buy, manage, optimise and measure ads on public social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
Kenshoo scored the highest rating of 5.0 in 25 areas including campaign creation and workflow, reach campaigns, audience targeting, keyword and topic targeting, optimisation and efficiency, social network data import and export, analytics and APIs.
The vendor was also the single ‘leader’ for social ad platforms in terms of strategy and offering. Five software vendors were noted as ‘strong performers’: Marin Software, salesforce.com, Unified, Shift and Optimal.
Forrester said Kenshoo was the “surest” option for a mainstream marketer looking to invest in social advertising, even though it has one of the smallest user bases. The vendor also gained the maximum 5 points in eight customer satisfaction questions.
“Kenshoo is the social advertising platform category leader,” the report authors stated. “Kenshoo has leveraged its leading capabilities in search and bid management to jump out ahead in social advertising as well. Kenshoo dominates thanks to its strong core platform, integrations with other tools, international capabilities and strategy.”
In comparison, salesforce.com’s Social.com was an easy to use platform with a global footprint, and its proposed integration of Buddy Media and Radian6 offerings promised to deliver strong capabilities to marketers, Forrester said. “At the same time, there is no single area in which salesforce.com has pushed its offering far past the competition,” the report stated.
Marin Software’s search advertising solutions gave it a “leg up in analytics and optimisation”, Forrester continued, and offered tight integration between newer social offerings and core search bid management features. However, its social tools had not kept up with its advertising functionality and the platform offered the least advanced keyword targeting capabilities.
Unified offers strong cross-platform social capabilities and covered the fundamentals well, the analyst group claimed, and the vendor was one of the most advanced in terms of broadening social advertising onto the next generation of social networks including LinkedIn Ads APIs. Against this, the platform proved the weakest at mobile advertising, analytics and optimisation.
Shift led the way for collaboration tools and partnerships, helping advertisers, social marketers and agency partners to work together to run campaigns. But it lagged in ability to optimise marketing spend and analyse results, Forrester said.
Optimal specialises in social reach across multiple platforms and in brand marketing, with the strongest capabilities around enabling campaigns across multiple different social networks. It was, however, limited to Facebook and public social networks.
Forrester considered Nanigans as a contender for specific marketer needs and noted its unparalleled optimisation on Facebook, but said the solution need to mature the platform’s ease of use and breadth of capabilities.
The Forrester report was based on vendor surveys, scenario-based product demos and customer reference calls.