The acquisition shows Oracle’s bullishness on social media marketing and sales. At the end of May, the company announced it would buy social management platform Vitrue. With Involver, Oracle gains a strong technology-focused team and platform, but it still lacks a social advertising component.
Involver, which had raised a total of $11 million in venture capital, was an innovator with its Social Markup Language, a system that enables front-end developers to code apps more efficiently. In April, Involver expanded SML to include a visual tool that doesn’t require coding at all. Marketers can drag and drop widgets, like videos, photo galleries or contest forms, onto a canvas that can be used on Facebook tabs, websites and mobile landing pages. The company also offers app templates and a cross-platform publishing tool.
Still, Involver is a somewhat surprising acquisition because Vitrue also offers a conversation and application management platform. Oracle may be too focused on tabs at a time when tab application views and usage are declining. Unlike Salesforce, which bought Buddy Media, Oracle has not bought a company with Ads API access. Involver recently made some efforts toward integrating with other ad platforms through its Engagement Optimization API. This allows Involver apps to pass optimization data to a customer’s ad platform of choice, but increasingly marketers will have to run Facebook ads to promote their posts, not just their applications.
Overall, the world of social marketing solutions is consolidating as many companies look to provide all-in-one solutions and the social players are being absorbed by larger technology companies. Salesforce announced last month that it would acquire social media marketing platform Buddy Media for $745 million in cash and stock. In January, Adobe bought Efficient Frontier for $400 million. Microsoft, SAP, IBM and others are likely looking to acquire social marketing platforms. Wildfire is a likely next target.
The Oracle-Involver deal is expected to close later this summer.