Productivity software

Google Acquires Social Media Marketing Firm Wildfire

Google has acquired Wildfire Interactive, a social media marketing company, aiming to creating new opportunities for its clients to engage with people across all social services, it said Tuesday.

Started four years ago, Wildfire in Redwood City, California, is focused on helping brands optimize their presence across various social networks. It offers a software platform that integrates directly with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

The terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

A number of technology companies are acquiring startups that will help them offer their customers a way to manage their presence on social networks. Oracle acquired last month Involver whose SML (Social Markup Language) enables developers to create customized marketing applications for social media sites and web campaigns. It announced in May that it was acquiring Vitrue, another social media marketing company. Salesforce.com said in June it was acquiring social media marketing firm Buddy Media in a US$689 million cash and stock deal, as it also expands its social media offering for businesses.

A social presence can complement all marketing campaigns, including search, display, video, mobile, offline ads and more, Google's product management director, Jason Miller said in a blog post. "Businesses around the world--from neighborhood restaurants to major retailers--are embracing social media to share information and forge stronger relationships with their fans and customers," he said.

Wildfire claims to serve some 16,000 customers, including 30 of the top 50 brands, with its nearly 400 employees. "We believe that over time the combination of Wildfire and Google can lead to a better platform for managing all digital media marketing," said company founders Victoria Ransom and Alain Chuard in a blog post.

The current focus will however remain on helping brands run and measure their social engagement and ad campaigns across the entire web and across social services, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. "To this end, Wildfire will operate as usual, and there will be no changes to our service and support for our customers," the founders wrote.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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