Proving the ROI of your social media marketing spend?

Will Adobe’s new product ‘Adobe Social’ do the trick? I was at their EMEA Digital Marketing Summit event earlier this year (along with the ladies and gents above) and it certainly gave the impression they knew what they were talking about. Certainly it’s going to put pressure not just on their direct competitors like Salesforce, but also smaller niche players like Socialbakers to show that the tools help deliver ROI.

Disclaimer: I work with Salesforce’s Radian6. Disclaimer: I work with Socialbakers.

Report from Mashable below, with key quote highlighted by me, below. I’ve also added in the product’s key capabilities in comments below. My hunch is that however great the software that the role of the supporting consultants will be key to success. This has a lot to do with the fact that in reality success of social tools in general and those driving business performance in particular is ‘bottom-up ‘as well as ‘top-down’  in character. (I’m meeting with Adobe next week so I’ll get a better idea of the ‘pros and cons’ that way too:-)

Adobe officially launched a new suite of marketing tools on Thursday called Adobe Social, which is intended to help users better measure and understand the return on investment they get from their social media campaigns.

With Adobe Social, marketers can monitor mentions for their brand on Facebook and Twitter, find out which customers are the key influencers on each of these networks and track how much revenue is being generated from specific social media campaigns and posts. The platform also makes it easier to target ads to certain audiences, personalize a website based on how the user interacts with it and even build apps for Facebook, effectively making it an all-in-one marketing tool for companies.

The company demoed some of these features at an event in Salt Lake City earlier this year, but Adobe Social has only been available in beta to a small group of customers since then. Starting today, the platform is available to the general public for purchase.

Adobe has gradually been trying to establish itself as a powerhouse in the online marketing world. In the past three years, it has acquired six companies, including Omniture, Auditude and Efficient Frontier to build up its digital marketing footprint, and now serves more than 5,000 brands.

In recent months, the landscape for these social media marketing tools has only become more competitive, with Salesforce acquiring Buddy Media and Oracle acquiring Involver and Vitrue to boost their own marketing platforms. Despite this, Adobe’s team believes that there is still a niche that needs to be filled in social media marketing: helping brands decipher the amount of revenue generated from posting to Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.

“We think there is a big gap between how the campaigns are design and run, and how the marketing metrics are connected back to business metrics,” Aseem Chandra, Adobe’s VP of product marketing, told Mashable in an interview. “We see a lot of focus on vanity metrics like ‘likes,’ shares and the number of followers, but how do you translate that back to the actual revenue the campaign will grow?”