Involver Raises $8 Million Third Round to Expand Facebook, Social Media Marketing Services

Aiming to expand along with its advertising clients efforts on Facebook and elsewhere on the web, social media services company Involver is announcing today that it has raised an $8 million third round of funding, led by Bessemer Venture Partners. The San Francisco company provides a suite of applications for Pages, such as polls and coupons, and a tracking and publishing software called AMP that allows clients to share then monitor status updates, tweets on Twitter and other communication.

Although advertisers and marketers have been using Facebook for marketing for years, the interest, especially among brands, “exploded at the beginning of this year,” cofounder and chief executive Rahim Fazal told us yesterday. The reason, as he described, is that many of the companies who have previously used Facebook have found some initial success, leading them to up their investments as well as inspire competitors.

While most companies began by focusing on customer acquisition — getting more Page fans — they have evolved to try to improve engagement, and in some instances monetize on the site. Many originally envisioned Facebook as a place where all three of these functions could happen, but Fazal says many of his clients have found that Facebook works better for them as part of broader campaigns. Some might use Facebook to gain fans, then use email to re-engage them and a company web site to allow them to make a purchase, for example (group deals company Groupon has used Facebook especially well to acquire users, which Fazal says has inspired a range of marketers to think more broadly about how to use Facebook). Other companies have focused on specific strategies, such as pushing free samples of products or running an engagement-focused publishing calendar on their Pages.

Involver claims to have 100,000 customers, including Facebook, The White House, and brands like Foster Farms and Sony/RCA Records, and claims to reach a total of around 200 million “fans” — although like most of its competitors, including Buddy Media and Context Optional, the company tends to be quiet about who its clients are and what they’re specifically doing. See our recent interview with Fazal for more details on what it’s been doing on Facebook.

And, while it’s continuing to focus on Facebook, the company, which has grown to more than 60 employees, is also looking at expanding its services into other parts of social media, including Twitter and mobile applications. See our recent interview with Fazal for more details on what the company has been up to.

Existing investors Western Technology Investment and Cervin Ventures also participated in the latest round; previous rounds totaled around $3 million.