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7/31/2012
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Google Catches Wildfire For Social Marketing

Wildfire Interactive gives Google a social media marketing component to round out its advertising and analytics offerings.

5 Social Networks Hot On Facebook's Heels
5 Social Networks Hot On Facebook's Heels
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Google is acquiring social media marketing specialist Wildfire Interactive, continuing the trend toward companies that manage social media content being bought by major players.

Other recent purchases include Salesforce.com buying Buddy Media and Oracle buying both Vitrue and Involver.

What Wildfire has in common with these others is the ability to post and manage both content and applications on Facebook, as well as on other social networks including Twitter, Pinterest, and Google's own Google+ and YouTube, within the bounds of each platform. Wildfire offers a suite of promotional apps for things like running sweepstakes and expanded into Facebook page management last year. The Wildfire Social Marketing Suite also includes an ad management product. Some commentators interpreted this move as an addition to the advertising platform Google has built since its acquisition of DoubleClick in 2007. Certainly, it looks like Google believes it needs to broaden its offerings to social media marketers.

Reuters reported that Google paid about $250 million for the business, according to a source who requested anonymity.

The Google blog post announcing the acquisition seemed designed to play down the idea that Google would be going into competition with Buddy Media or Vitrue, both of which got a plug for their ability to manage Google+ business pages. But now Google will have its own service offering for those who want to manage social media content, whether on Google+ or competing services like Facebook. Google said Wildfire will complement other services it offers, including Google Analytics for measurement and the Admeld service for advertising within Facebook applications.

The blog post credits the Wildfire team, led by co-founders Victoria Ransom and Alain Chuard, with building a service that "helps businesses like Virgin, Cirque du Soleil, Gilt Group and Spotify manage their social efforts across numerous social websites. It’s a platform for brands to manage their pages, apps, tweets, videos, sponsorships, ads, promotions and more, all in one place."

Facebook reportedly was interested in acquiring the company itself, having invested in the firm through its FBFund venture fund and used the tool to manage some of its own marketing content.

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard and facebook.com/thebyard

Every company needs a social networking policy, but don't stifle creativity and productivity with too much formality. Also in the debut, all-digital Social Media For Grownups issue of The BrainYard: The proper tools help in setting social networking policy for your company and ensure that you'll be able to follow through. (Free with registration.)

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