Google acquires Wildfire, maker of social marketing software

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By Brittany Darwell Comment

Google today announced that it agreed to acquire Wildfire Interactive, a social media marketing software company that is a popular solution for managing pages and apps across platforms.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but AllThingsD reports that it could be around $250 million, plus earnouts and employment agreements. Wildfire was widely expected to be acquired this summer, after other major players in the space — Buddy Media, Vitrue, Involver — were also bought.

Wildfire is a member of Facebook’s Preferred Marketer Developer program, certified in pages, apps and insights. Co-founders Victoria Ransom and Alain Chuard started the company four years ago focused on building apps for sweepstakes, user-generated contests, quizzes, coupons and incentive-based surveys. In 2011, Wildfire broadened its service offering to include page management and monitoring tools. Besides Facebook management, the platform now allows marketers to manage Google+, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. The company serves clients including Virgin, Cirque du Soleil, Gilt Group and Spotify. It also helps build apps for Facebook’s own use, including the voting app it used for its proposed policy changes earlier this year.

Google was reportedly interested in Buddy Media, but that company sold to Salesforce. Now with Wildfire, Google gets a popular platform and large sales team. The Redwood City, Calif.-based company has about 350 people. Unlike Buddy Media, Wildfire doesn’t have access to the Facebook Ads API, but it’s unclear to what degree Google was interested in that aspect of the platform. Wildfire works with Adaptly to provide social advertising services for its clients.

In an announcement about the acquisition, Google wrote:

In a complex and changing landscape, businesses want to manage and measure these efforts in an integrated way. We’ve been working towards this end for some time. For example, Google Analytics helps businesses measure the contribution of hundreds of social sites; our Admeld service has helped to serve ads in Facebook developers’ social apps; and our DoubleClick platform enables clients to run and measure ads across social websites. On Google+, brands use services like Vitrue, Buddy Media and others to manage their pages, with many more to come.

With Wildfire, we’re looking forward to creating new opportunities for our clients to engage with people across all social services. We believe that better content and more seamless solutions will help unlock the full potential of the web for people and businesses.

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