Google to marketers: we may be a bit, uh, behind in social, but come buy social programs through us anyway. That seems to be the gist of what the search giant is saying with its acquisition of Wildfire, a social media marketing platform that works primarily with Facebook, but also with Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
Though Google didn’t disclose a purchase price when announcing the acquisition, reports peg the value of the deal at around $250 million.
The union makes a lot of sense for Google, which has historically not had a problem with purchasing companies that work with its competitors (a la DoubleClick). Google was said to be in the running to purchase Wildfire competitor Buddy Media, but lost out to Salesforce.
With clients like Amazon, The Gap, McCann Worldgroup, Porter Novelli, Target and Virgin Atlantic, the four-year-old Wildfire provides tools to allow marketers to manage their social presence — pages, apps, tweets, videos, sponsorships, ads, and promotions — in one central location.
Wildfire co-founders Victoria Ransom and Alain Chuard wrote about the union on their blog, saying there would be no change in service or support at Wildfire for now:
We believe that over time the combination of Wildfire and Google can lead to a better platform for managing all digital media marketing. For now, we remain focused on helping brands run and measure their social engagement and ad campaigns across the entire web and across all social services — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and more — and to deliver rich and satisfying experiences for their consumers.
The company, based in Silicon Valley, has more than 400 employees in eight offices around the world. Wildfire boasts of more than 16,000 customers, including 30 of the world’s top 50 brands, and has run more than 250,000 campaigns.