Online marketing is a team sport. A single campaign often requires the collective efforts of various teams and corporations across the country. Before now, the tools that supported this effort have been highly disjointed. After years of experiencing these same workflow challenges internally, social media marketing platform provider GraphEffect is launching an entirely new enterprise collaboration platform.
The new GraphEffect takes the best intentions of existing collaboration and project management tools, like Yammer and Asana, and reimagines them for a multi-organization environment. Now brands, agencies, and their vendors, can communicate between and within companies while working together within a shared environment on planning, content creation, analysis, and social advertising.
“Our goal is to disrupt the marketing ecosystem by building the platform that brings all the different parties together and helps marketers work together smarter,” says co-founder and CEO James Borow. Another goal, is to reduce or eliminate the use of email within teams.
After getting an early walk through of the product that has thus far only been available in private beta to select large partners, such as American Express, Toyota, Estee Lauder, Clorox, and Samsung, I’ll go out on a limb and say that their aim to disrupt the entire industry isn’t far-fetched. The experience is intuitive, powerful, and extremely beautiful.
Seeking to optimize the various conversations that go on among teams, GraphEffect divides the collaboration environment into a global activity feed, team, or project specific feeds, a “Sidebar” for private conversations, a personal “Inbox,” and a “Follow Ups” section for task management.
While this may seem like it could be complicated or excessive, the user interface and practical workflow is a thing of beauty. In fact, it’s so intuitive that I’d love PandoDaily to ditch Yammer and move to GraphEffect as our social collaboration platform. Barring the absence of task-specific apps — which most organizations wouldn’t need — the platform would make sense in almost any industry.
The GraphEffect platform includes a series of APIs that will soon be available to the public to enable integration of third-party apps. The company “ate its own dogfood,” Borow tells me, using these very APIs to integrate its existing social marketing tools as apps within the system.
Current apps include Ad Manager and and Story Manager. Ad Manager is for managing advertising campaigns on Facebook and analyzing paid, earned, and owned media in a single location. Story Manager gives teams the ability to manage Facebook pages, schedule posts, and identify the best organic content to turn into ads. The company is working to release additional apps including those for file management and calendar management.
While GraphEffect specializes in social, it has no plans to build tools for search and display advertising itself. Instead, Borow and his team look to the rest of the marketing development community to create these apps. Going forward, the company plans to revenue share with these third-party developers who build tools for the GraphEffect platform.
GraphEffect’s platform is free to use, and it only charges the marketers when ad dollars are spent on Facebook or Twitter. The company also offers “Marketing Services” in which it manages campaigns and pulls the optimization levers on behalf of a client. Most clients in this division ultimately transition to the self-service platform after a short period of hand holding.
The company completed a $12 million Series A financing in June of this year led by Rincon Venture Partners with participation from existing investors Lerer Ventures, Thrive Capital, Founder Collective, Rincon Venture Partners, CrossCut Ventures, Baroda Ventures, DFJ Frontier, and Siemer Ventures.
At the time, it announced some impressive growth numbers, projecting $40-50 million in 2012 revenue up from $12 million the prior year. The new financing is being used to expand services beyond Facebook and Twitter to include Pinterest and LinkedIn, as well as to offer a mobile app version of its collaboration platform.
“For the longest time, the various constituents in social marketing have been frustrated…furious…about how unnecessarily hard things are to do,” says Barow. “If managing a campaign can be as efficient as planning a party, we’ll be in a great place.”
[A demo of the new product is available here.]