Several companies have begun releasing tools that optimize Facebook ads and content. Wildfire and Adaptly, along with PowerReviews, separately built out services that can identify ROI, determine the lifetime worth of existing and potential customers and measure the financial impact of activities on a page. Some reward consumers for doing so.
The tools measure the impact of social actions when a site visitor likes, comments or shares a post as more content gets indexed in search results and fan-generated content merges with ad units, like Sponsored Stories, and forthcoming products likely from Google+.
Brands must begin to justify multimillion-dollar budgets that collectively eMarketer estimates will bring Facebook's worldwide ad revenue to more than $5 billion this year, reaching $7.64 billion by 2014.
While the tools appear to determine the revenue generated from paid earned and owned social media, PowerReview's platform rewards consumers for those actions. The more consumers spread the message, the more points they earn and the higher the status. The model takes a cue from the game developer Zynga by bringing a rewards system into social media metrics.
PowerReviews CEO Pehr Luedtke said the company's suite of applications announced Monday -- Essential Social Suite (ESS) -- directly links social commerce and sales through content, engagement and measurement tools. "There's a million pieces of social content being created every minute on the Web, and brands, marketers and retailers continue to scratch their heads trying to figure out how to control, manage, generate and profit from the conversations," he said.
A reporting dashboard on the back end of the PowerReviews product suite allows companies to integrate with their Web site so others can view traffic and posts. Luedtke claims companies testing the tools see upwards of 10% in sales.
PowerReviews isn't the only company jumping in to link social with sales. Tom Rikert, director of product management at Wildfire, said brands can no longer optimize social content based on what he calls "first-generation social metrics -- the cheap click and cheap likes," but rather optimize on "true engagement" around ad campaigns.
Google+ remains the only social site where engagement metrics impact search engine results, so for search marketers the impact of ads optimizing technology within a social suite is less than expected, compared with what Rikert anticipates in the future.
"A brand's ability to engage fans will directly impact their search results, and we expect it to become the standard," Rikert said, suggesting Bing will likely take this direction, as well as other major search engines. "Search marketers need tools to engage audiences, so that your brand becomes well positioned for forthcoming changes."
Wildfire Monday said it integrated its Social Marketing Suite with Adaptly's social advertising and optimization technology, aggregating more than 160 social metrics from a brand's earned and owned channels. It analyzes the impact of paid media on earned media in real-time and tweaks ads to reach the best target audience.