Barely two weeks after basking in the glow of its BlueKai buy, enterprise software giant Oracle is at it again – this time debuting an open paid media partner API program for Oracle Social Cloud.
One of the many questions arising from the BlueKai deal (as well as other Oracle Marketing Cloud acquisitions including Responsys, Compendium and Eloqua) is the general “openness” of the Oracle stack both to partners and customers. In other words, will Oracle develop for the benefit of the ecosystem at large or does one have to be grandfathered in as an existing Oracle customer?
This is one area Oracle is looking to tackle, starting with the social portion of its marketing cloud. Oracle on Friday made public its partnership with social ad platforms Kenshoo, Nanigans and SHIFT to bring paid media integration to Oracle Social Relationship Management, a product launched one year ago that unified such social acquisitions as Involver, Collective Intellect and Vitrue. Customers include General Motors, LEGO and Pernod Ricard.
“We really see marketers right now wanting to exercise choice and to use technology that’s built on open standards,” commented Meg Bear, group vice president for Oracle Social Cloud. “We do see ourselves opening up more to these open-API marketplace ideas, but also have us help them with the integration to their business and transactional systems, which has been the missing piece in this whole puzzle.”
Although he did not comment on Oracle’s position, specifically, Ken Allen, managing partner at global investment and advisory services firm Blackstone Advisory Partners, observed that it’s “logical” to approach a CMO with the pitch that “we can manage your data, audiences and your presence online.”
Additionally, rather than demanding the end customer be an “all or nothing” user of one digital marketing stack, it’s much more attractive to say “we can manage your media spend or you can manage it on your own through our platform through partners we have and APIs that manage the partner ecosystems we run,” Allen added.
While Oracle has traditionally been an arbiter of first-party data due to its heritage in CRM and database technology, the company has recognized the importance of broadening its reach to incorporate both B2B and B2C customer needs and fine-tune targeting capabilities.
“If a customer is an Eloqua customer, for instance, and they have a contact list they want to be able to make a Custom Audience with, we can facilitate that and all the rules around it to make it a live, managed solution so as people come out of different stages in the customer lifecycle, we can understand those trigger rules and keep them up to date,” Oracle's Bear said. “In a similar way, with BlueKai coming onboard, we have access to third party insights to create those Custom Audiences as well, which feed directly to our media partners for social ad targeting.”
Oracle is not currently a Facebook or Twitter Ads API (now the Twitter Marketing Platform program) partner, although Bear noted that the company’s BlueKai buy in theory gives it marketing partner access to the major social platforms. BlueKai was among a select number of DSPs and DMPs that helped get Twitter’s Tailored Audiences product off the ground.
Although Kenshoo, Nanigans and SHIFT will beta test paid media roll-outs with Oracle, the general release of Oracle Social Relationship Management and open-API paid media solution will go live in a few months. The intent, Bear said, is to open platform access to more paid media partners, especially those that specialize in US-based markets, but that have international development aspirations as Oracle globalizes Marketing Cloud sell-in.