When Google acquired social media marketing platform Wildfire in 2012, the stated goal was to improve Google’s social media marketing capabilities. Wildfire recently announced that it was focusing on full Google integration. While originally, the company focused on helping advertisers manage their Facebook Pages, this recent development may be a sign of the times.
According to Kevin Bobowski, VP of marketing for social media marketing software provider Offerpop, Google originally purchased Wildfire to keep tabs on Facebook and related social insights. He says that the social media market has shifted since Wildfire was founded, and becoming part of a larger company could have hindered Wildfire’s innovation potential.
“Wildfire was born in an era when Facebook was essentially the only social network,” he says, adding that marketers are diversifying their efforts outside of Facebook these days. “That stream is so crowded and the organic reach is being diminished more and more every single day.”
Indeed, not only are there more platforms with which to connect with consumers, marketers are also becoming more interested in leveraging the power of consumer-generated content. In fact, Bobowski calls the current trend in digital marketing “the age of the consumer,” in which smart marketers are the ones that understand their customers.
“We’re at the tipping point where the consumer is absolutely in charge of how and when they want to interact with brand messaging,” he says. “So brands are playing catch up and trying to figure out how to inject themselves into the conversation.”
He called it the “push/pull” debate, adding that the push model of traditional advertising doesn’t work anymore. The crowded feeds on Facebook and Twitter only add to the challenge, making it difficult for marketers to capture attention and engage with consumers. So it makes sense that more brands are looking for advocates and influencers to spread their messages.
“Companies that are doing a really good job in this model where its more of a pull vs. push, are really good at leveraging their fan base who want to share their stories and be the voice of the brand,” he says.