Why Did Google Buy Wildfire?

Bill Rybinski
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In 2012, Google bought Wildfire, a company that helps businesses manage their social media marketing across a wide range of platforms. Among professionals that follow technology acquisitions, it was no surprise that the small company was acquired—it was one of the last remaining independent companies of its type with a client list that included major industry players. For technology professionals, the acquisition had significant ramifications across a wide range of industries.

Many technology professionals were surprised by Google's decision to buy the small company, but most agreed that it made sound business sense. Many large companies have made a practice of including social media companies in their technology acquisitions. Social media companies have access to a great deal of consumer data, which large companies can use to their advantage.

For Google, Wildfire was a natural fit. The small social media marketing company allows customers to manage their marketing messages across a wide range of sites. It has access to a large amount of user data, enabling it to help customers design effective marketing campaigns. By adding the company to its technology acquisitions, Google has the opportunity to reach out to customers on social media platforms.

The small social media marketing company did not come cheap; according to a recent story published by the Harvard Business School, Google paid $350 million. Although it was not one of the search engine giant's largest technology acquisitions, it was one of its most important of 2012. By adding the social media marketing company to its technology acquisitions portfolio, Google has unprecedented access to social media users and websites.

One of the most important benefits of the acquisition for Google was access to Facebook's APIs and data. Facebook has consistently denied Google's requests for integration, making it difficult for the search engine to index its content. With the acquisition, Google has back-end access to all major social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter. As such, it will be easier for Google to present a wider range of content in its search results. Although it dominates the search engine market, the additional content will increase consumer reliance on Google.

By buying the small media company, Google also has the opportunity to promote its products and services to clients, which include Virgin and Spotify. Many of its products work naturally into clients' requirements, including AdWords. From a technology standpoint, the easy integration of social media advertising is a crucial benefit for Google; if it was deployed effectively, it could sideline all other advertising methods.

For technology professionals, the 2012 addition to Google's technology acquisitions indicates the increasing importance of Google in Web-based activities. By staying aware of the company's moves, you can adjust your Web strategies accordingly.

(Photo courtesy of photostock / freedigitalphotos.net) 

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