EngageSciences is but one of dozens of social media marketing tools, and like so many, the Facebook app building focused company has branched out to other sites like Twitter, YouTube and Google+. In an odd twist, however, one of the first tools the company built when it launched in 2009 has finally taken off in 2013 ... A social media marketing tool that was ahead of its time.

Social Marketing Tools Hit Their Stride

Organizations are focused on social media today because of the sheer volumes of people visiting those networks. When EngageSciences was first launched, the team built a tool called Amplify that would pull in content from various social media networks and aggregate it onto a single webpage.

The problem was nobody wanted it, Richard Jones, EngageSciences CEO, said in an interview. "Businesses wanted their Facebook apps in one place and Web content in another."

With the proliferation and maturation of networks like LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram, however, more companies realize how valuable that content could be if it lived in one place.

"One of the biggest developments is the acceptance of hashtags across all these networks," Jones said.

Hashtags have the affect of classifying content with a particular keyword. This has a unifying effect on the things people post across every network. It's a boon to marketers, and the EngageSciences business has now burgeoned into a $5 million company with 430 customers in 72 countries, Jones said.

Customers have reported a 300 percent increase in time spent on webpages with curated social content, Jones said. One EngageSciences customer, Rakuten, reported customers who came to its site from that curated content spent 30 percent more than if they came to the site from somewhere else.

Ahead of its Time: EngageSciences Social Media Marketing Takes Off
Amplify pulls in social media content that can be filtered and then reposted to websites, apps or ad networks like MediaFORGE.

Marketing Automation Becomes Social

While EngageSciences can import social media data into a customer relationship management (CRM) or marketing automation system, it makes more sense to have that social feature built into a marketing automation tool. Because most of the marketing automation providers are based on email, this is far from reality.

Does that mean one of them might be in the market for a tool like EngagedSciences? That's certainly a possibility, Jones noted, because that is where the market is going.

"One of the marketing automation companies will have to acquire this kind of technology if it wants to be in that space," he said.

EngageSciences competes with companies like Mass Relevance and TintUp, Jones said. Adobe is also in the conversation, he noted, but it doesn't have quite the same social capabilities. It's more of a social media manager than what Jones likes to call a social media activation tool.

The EngageSciences Amplify module costs $1,600 per month, and can also be purchased as part of the Advocate Suite for $6,000 per month. This includes the Engage and Profile modules that are used for publishing content to social media sites (Engage) and viewing detailed visitor profiles (Profile) right from within EngageSciences.

The company has recently changed its pricing of these modules, Jones said. Before the change, customers didn't have the choice of picking between them. All customers had access to Engage and Profile, he said. Now when new customers come in, they can decide on some or all of them depending on what they need.