IBM Partners with Facebook to Offer Integrated Marketing Tools

Facebook and IBM have announced a strategic collaboration that will leverage the marketing portfolio within IBM Commerce and the reach of Facebook's advertising platform to deliver highly targeted advertisements to Facebook users. Through the partnership, the companies aim to strengthen the effectiveness of Facebook advertising, which despite being far-reaching is often not contextually relevant to consumers, says Jay Henderson, director of strategy at IBM.

"Consumers love Facebook and love to post about what's happening in their lives. It's a great channel to interact with consumers, but there's [often] a disconnect because the ads they see on Facebook might not be as relevant as consumers might like," Henderson explains. Through the integration, solutions such as IBM Journey Analytics, IBM Journey Designer, and others in IBM's Commerce suite will be made available to Facebook advertisers, giving them access to IBM's segmentation, marketing, and analytics tools.

With the connection in place, all of the historical data that reveals what consumers have purchased in the past, as well as any real-time insight on their Web site behavior, will be used to better personalize the advertisements they see on Facebook.

Though the use cases are varied, a common implementation targets cart abandonment. "Advertisers can now take behavior data that shows what the consumer is looking at on the Web site or what they've placed in their cart but did not purchase and use it to drive a Facebook campaign designed to re-engage the consumer," Henderson explains. "The use cases are simple and straightforward. The idea is to combine [IBM Commerce] capabilities with Facebook's reach," he says.

As part of the partnership, Facebook will be the first partner joining the IBM Commerce THINKLab ecosystem, a network of research think tanks that connect brands to innovative technologies for delivering top-notch customer experiences. IBM currently has 12 THINKLabs around the world, and will be opening a new one in San Francisco alongside Facebook.

"This one is going to be focused around customer engagement," according to Henderson. "At this THINKLab, brands will have access to experts from both IBM and Facebook, and it will be a collaborative environment where companies can experiment and accelerate the adoption of new technology," he adds.

For Facebook, working with IBM on the Commerce THINKLab is an opportunity to work closely with customers and provide more guidance than they were previously able to. "Our partnership with IBM will help top brands achieve personalization at scale by using the marketing cloud to find and engage their target audiences on Facebook, as well as solve their vexing challenges by consulting with Commerce THINKLab," said Blake Chandlee, vice president of partnerships for Facebook, in a company statement. "We will be working closely with IBM to continue advancing our joint capabilities and deliver people-based marketing that's optimized to achieve each brand's business goals."

This partnership is just the beginning of the relationship between IBM Commerce and Facebook, Henderson says, and customers can expect to hear more integrations and announcement in the coming months. 

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