With Vitrue Buy, Oracle Aims for a Social Stack

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With its deal to buy Vitrue, database giant Oracle wants to be the first to help corporate clients integrate social across human touch points – both within and beyond the organization, as well as up and down the purchase funnel.

"By combining Oracle's assets with social marketing, social calling, social service, and social monitoring, we can build a product that's completely unmatched related to what's out there in the market," said Abhay Parasnis, SVP Oracle Cloud Developments. "More importantly, we think it's very aligned with where our customers are."

Or, if not where they are today, where they're going. Parasnis acknowledges most clients still manage marketing, sales, and customer service in discrete buckets. "Today what happens is even though tools and techniques are siloed, users are not treating it like silos," he said.

Helping clients overcome those siloes requires an end-to-end approach few global vendors can pull off. Vitrue brings several pieces: social publishing tools, app management, commerce applications, and analytics tools. These will be added to Oracle Cloud, which already comes with CRM, HR, database, corporate social networking, and Java apps.

Oracle's move is analogous to what Salesforce.com has attempted to do by integrating sales and CRM with social interactions - as demonstrated by its purchase of Radian6 last year. But social's only part of Oracle's focus – albeit a very buzzy part. Even Vitrue's platform is often leveraged by clients with very traditional marketing goals in mind. And it's hard to argue – for now anyway – that "social" factors very strongly into Oracle's database development tools or its hiring automation solutions.

So what gives, is Oracle homing in on ads? "On social versus online ads, in a way it's very aligned," said Parasnis. But he added, "There are players that are best of breed that we want to integrate with."

A key aspect of Vitrue's offering is in the analytics space, where the company already supports a dashboard that integrates with major analytics platforms. In an earlier discussion with AdExchanger, CEO Reggie Bradford said,

We’re focused on trying to find the most robust and comprehensive set of metrics to our dashboard that allow the most flexible marketer to be able to determine what are those four or five that really matter. We've been very focused on not only providing a real‑time dashboard that has the most insights, let's say, from Facebook's API,  [but also] insights that come uniquely from the data that we collect and manage. And now we've shifted to the most robust set of metrics in that dashboard, in the most user‑friendly way, to be able to display that. So we went from 20 core metrics that we managed actively and in real time to now over 120.

TechCrunch pegs the sale at $300 million, which if accurate would be the first valuation placed on an enterprise social platform. It's a figure that chief rival Buddy Media will likely hope to beat on its M&A wedding day, should it come. Buddy's total funding is $90 million, giving it a $500 million valuation as of last August, according to some reports. The most recent similar acquisition was that of Facebook ads platform AdParlor, which targets by long tail, by AdKnowledge back in November for an undisclosed sum.

The deal is expected to close in summer, at which point Vitrue will become the foundation of Oracle's social marketing platform. Vitrue's products will still be available for individual sale, the companies said.

By Zach Rodgers

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