Yet another social media management startup is off the market. Google today announced that it has purchased the Redwood City, Calif.-based Wildfire, which helps marketers manage their campaigns and presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.
In a blog post, the tech giant said the four-year-old company founded by Victoria Ransom and Alain Chuard would be joining Google to build out the stack of services it offers advertisers. Wildfire’s social advertising capabilities will ultimately complement and integrate with services from Admeld (which has helped serve ads in Facebook’s social apps), DoubleClick (which lets advertisers run and measure ads across social sites) and of course, Google’s own social platform, Google+.
“Indeed, a social presence can complement all marketing campaigns—search, display, video, mobile, offline ads and more,” Jason Miller, product development manager, said in the post.
The purchase, which was reportedly in the neighborhood of $250 million comes on the heels of Salesforce’s nearly $800 million acquisition of social advertising startup Buddy Media and Oracle’s (ORCL) decision to buy Vitrue, as well as rival Involver. Google was reportedly interested in buying Buddy Media but, according to tech blog AllThingsD, Buddy Media was more confident that Salesforce could actually close the deal given that regulators would give close scrutiny to any deal involving industry-giant Google.
Google’s purchase of Wildfire leaves just a few independent social media management platforms remaining, including Hearsay Social and Hootsuite.
In a post over on its own site, Wildfire, which has raised about $14 million in venture funding, said the company has grown to include more than 400 employees and 16,000 customers in the past four years. Interestingly, in thanking its partners (such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+), the company gave a special call out to Google arch rival Facebook.
“Were it not for the social media revolution that you have all helped to create, Wildfire would not even exist,” the company said. Going forward, it will be very interesting to see how Facebook chooses to work with Wildfire, which has historically been a very close partner of Facebook’s.
Ahead of Facebook’s IPO, Ransom told the Mercury News that she saw a future in which Wildfire’s workforce had grown into the thousands, with “a darn good chance” that it will have gone public. Funny how things change.