In the "right time, right message" marketing technology race, IBM and Facebook partnered up today took the lead, officials said.

IBM's marketing cloud clients can now use Facebook’s ad capabilities such as Custom Audiences. The collaboration between the enterprise software and social media giants helps marketers "reach the right people at the right time with the right message."

IBM Commerce, the portfolio that draws from IBM's $24 billion investments in analytics, is the engine behind the partnership with Facebook, which has 1.4 billion active users.

The news comes six months after IBM hooked up with the other social media king, Twitter.

Twitter announced in November it will integrate its data into IBM's Watson cloud analytics portfolio, customer engagement capabilities and consulting services in what company officials call a "landmark" partnership.

"IBM and Facebook’s technology collaboration will marry deep analytics and customer data, providing marketers with highly tailored marketing capabilities to deliver personalized experiences at each step along the brand journey," said Jay Henderson, director of strategy of IBM ExperienceOne, the Armonk, N.Y.-based giant's marketing suite.

Information Exchange

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IBM and Facebook will exchange information on IBM’s marketing cloud. Facebook’s ad capabilities will marry IBM's Journey Analytics, and then bring insights into IBM’s Journey Design solution.

How would it work? A fitness retailer segments their customers on Facebook specifically interested in long-distance running and factors in other preferences. Runners will get tailored messages; those in Florida won’t get recommendations for cold weather running gear and performance fleece.

"Marketing teams can identify," Henderson added, "which of their customers are active on Facebook and then surface powerful correlations between their posts and interactions that take place through other channels. These insights can then be brought to life through IBM's Journey Design solution, allowing new and more pin-pointed brand experiences to be delivered, across channels including through Facebook."

'Unparalleled Power'

IBM can combine analytics, security, industry expertise, design capabilities and the "unparalleled power of IBM Research into one package," Henderson boasted.

"Add to that an expansive open partner ecosystem that brings the ability to provide clients with the capability to extract deep insights from the vast reservoirs of information being created every day by consumers," he said. "No one can match IBM’s ability to provide clients with the capability to extract deep insights from the vast reservoirs of data that are being created."

Henderson cited IBM Journey Analytics that allows marketers to analyze and understand how past Facebook interactions and interactions from other channels can contribute to specific outcomes.