Wildfire Expands From Contests to Full-Fledged Page Management with Social Marketing Suite

Promotion app developer Wildfire is broadening its service offering with the release of its new Social Marketing Suite. In addition to its Promotion Builder, Social Marketing Suite clients will have access to Page Manager for creating Pages and custom apps, Messenger for scheduling posts and monitoring mentions, and Dashboard for tracking performance analytics.

WildFire will now be competing in the relatively crowded Page management space with established, well-funded companies including Buddy Media, Involver, Vitrue, and Syncapse. Though its Promotion Builder clients will no longer have to look elsewhere for Page management, WildFire will have to work hard to retain its best-in-class distinction for contests as it assigns resources to its new products.

An Acquisition Target?

Wildfire was founded in 2008 and has only taken $4.1 million in funding since. The company saw that brands needed promotion and engagement apps to draw users to their Page and attain Likes, so it built a suite of app templates including sweepstakes, contest coupons, group deals, and quizzes. While other companies needed much more funding to build out a wide range of products, Wildfire concentrated on its core competency, now powering 100,000 promotions and only releasing a social media monitoring tool late last year so brands could track the success of their promotions.

Now the industry is consolidating with older internet companies and Ads API services acquiring Page management companies. We also see some middle market Page management services becoming commodified as satisfactory free tools proliferate and Facebook provides more native Page administration functionality, including moderation. Therefore, Wildfire’s service offering expansion could be an attempt to position itself for acquisition. Otherwise it will have to leverage its existing Promotion Builder client base to pull top brands away from the other Page management companies.

Regarding the consolidation, Wildfire co-founder and CEO Victoria Ransom tells us “there’s no doubt that will continue. Social media marketing is a revolution, and there will be other big companies looking to get into it.” She says appearing attractive to acquirers hasn’t been a focus, and that the company ” has its head down, executing on the business”, growing from 10 employees to 120 since the beginning of 2010 mostly through investing profits.

The combination of a comprehensive service offering and little funding could make Wildfire an easy Facebook play by older email and internet marketing companies looking to instantly break into Facebook marketing without spending as much as when Efficient Frontier bought Context Optional for $50 million.

Social Marketing Suite Features

Wildfire’s Social Marketing Suite builds on its existing Promotion builder and integrates its monitoring too. None of the features seem especially unique, but they cover the essentials.

Page Manager lets clients build custom landing tabs and Facebook Page tab applications that host contests and other engagement mechanisms. Brands can also install plug-and-play pre-made applications. The tool also allows for easy localization of Pages for different languages.

Messenger tracks what users are saying about a brand and allows them to respond to generate good will and tend to customer service issues. Page updates and responses can be scheduled for maximum visibility and streamlining of work flow. Similar to HearSay Social, Messenger supports a corporate/local structure by allowing updates to be deployed to multiple Pages. For instance, the corporate branch of an insurance company could design a promotion and write updates that comply with industry regulations, and then have the updates posted by each of the Pages representing the companies local branches.

Dashboard provides standard social media marketing analytics as well as tracking the spread of viral campaigns from “views to entries, shares, invites, and conversions” says Ransom. Brands can also compare their performance against competitors thanks to data on 30 million Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts that Wildfire collects.

Ransom tells us that clients will still be able to pay for Promotion Builder on a per promotion basis. The Social Marketing Suite will be subscription based, though, allowing unlimited promotions and use of features. At first, only higher tiered plans with robust customizability will be available, costing in the low thousands per month, but plans in the low hundreds per month will eventually launch.

Powerful promotional apps are still something many brands are willing to pay thousands a month, but some of the other features available in Social Marketing Suite can attained for free or cheap from other third-party providers. Wildfire will need to upsell its current clients on why unified suite is the best choice for them, or it risks diluting its focus without enough reward.

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