Google’s Acquisition of Wildfire: What Is The Future of Social Media Management Platforms?

Wildfire was founded just four years ago. Since then, it has become one of the leading social media management platforms counting clients in the league of Spotify and Virgin. Yesterday, Google announced that the Wildfire team would become part of the Google team, making Google able to offer a platform that helps companies manage their presence as well as ads across various social networks. This is all very good, but it doesn’t tell the whole story about the appeal of Wildfire. One very important fact in this new acquisition is that Wildfire holds a vast amount of user behaviour and demographics.


Big Data – Big Deal
has won Facebook’s fbFound for start-up companies twice and in the beginning of this year, it became the first social media marketing company to have a software platform that integrates directly with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. This means having oodles of user data stored within their system. Big Data that can only be assumed to help fire up Google’s other products and campaign tools in the fight for the ad marketing gold. The Wildfire acquisition will help Google entice more clients to their pool, as they will now be able to run ads on all of the social networks directly through Google. Including Facebook ads. It makes you wonder why Facebook didn’t snatch this one to their impressive catalogue of recently acquired companies?

Facebook out of the loop?
Teaming up with their biggest competitor almost seems as an act of treason towards Facebook, taking the close relationship between Facebook and Wildfire into account.  Yesterday on Wildfire’s own blog, Facebook even had a special place in the acknowledgement:

“Finally, a huge thanks to our friends and partners at Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and most especially Facebook. Were it not for the social media revolution that you have all helped to create, Wildfire would not even exist.”

Murmuring rumours have been saying for some time now that Facebook in fact was interested in buying Wildfire, which must add to the presumed disappointment in Menlo Park these days.


The future of social media management platforms
For Google to attract a company like Wildfire to join their family is not a huge shocker, as they’ve already tried to (unsuccessfully) acquire BuddyMedia a few months back. Generally, platforms are topping the hit list within networks’ shopping lists these days. BuddyMedia was sold to SalesForce, Virtue went to Oracle and now Wildfire is landed by Google. This basically leaves the LA based PromoJam as one of the only big, independent platforms out there on the global market. Quoted in an article by VentureBeat , Brian Zanghi, CEO of Awarness, Inc., another big social media marketing player, assessed:

“The Wildfire acquisition by Google is a prime example of the herd mentality of the market. Everybody is focused on Facebook, leaving a huge portion of social market out of the equation and neglecting the mid-size businesses.”

Platform acquisitions from a European point of view
From a European perspective, we see fast growing Facebook platforms such as Komfo Platform and Falcon. Both companies are based in Denmark and focused on Facebook.  Furthermore, both companies have from the very beginning had an international vision and been able to compete with big competitors on a European market. Talking to Rasmus Moller-Nielsen, CEO of Komfo, these strategic alliances will be the future for social media management platforms:

“We are convinced that social media management platforms won’t even be an independent category in just 2-3 years time. The management platforms build up astounding masses of data about the users. This data is only fully activated and applied if you can combine it with the data a company collects from all the other online channels the users engage in”, ” he says while adding “All of these new partnerships between networks, CMS/CRM-providers and social media management platforms are a reality we’re moving towards. Right now, social media management platforms are trying to build up as much data, and thereby value, as possible to ensure a strong position in these future alliances.”

According to Komfo’s annual report, Komfo has entered an alliance with the web content management company Sitecore. Though no official statement has been made yet, Moller-Nielsen confirms the alliance.

What can we expect?
So what exactly can we expect from the new alliance between Wildfire and Google? Everyone in the business ponders how Facebook will react and respond to this new teamwork. Will Facebook take the part as a helpful and eager Wildfire partner, or will they do their best to make life difficult for the new partnership with Google? One thing is for sure: Google has realised that they need to be able to reach out to other social media networks in order to lure new clients in. Google+ doesn’t seem to be doing the trick on its own. Google has found a break into the world of social media marketing and the luminous ad marketing budgets and they’re ready to fight for it.


Is the new Wildfire acquisition making your company consider turning to Google for social network and ad management?


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Clickbait: Information overload! How can brands cut-through all the noise?

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.11.34You won’t believe the hidden message in this blog post! Or rather – there isn’t one, I just wanted you to click through and read this. But bear with me – I’m about to suggest something incredibly controversial – a never-heard-before admission by a social agency!*

As much as clickbait is the emotional catnip of our online experience and can drive consistent traffic for publishers like The Daily Mail and Huff Post who churn out multiple stories each day, it’s still hugely annoying to discover you’ve been duped by an over-excited headline promising to give you all the feels. For brands, adopting the same practice can negatively affect perception and ultimately – sales. So how can brands cut through all the sensational copy and deliver successful results without falling prey to creating clickbait themselves? How do they beat them rather than join them?


Platform crackdown

In the early days of social, Facebook optimised content based on engagement, meaning that if users clicked on a piece of content, it received a higher ranking in newsfeeds. In 2014 Facebook took steps to try and crack down on those gaming this ranking using clickbait, and in February this year it introduced an update based not just on what users engaged with in their feed, but what they wanted to see. Facebook’s advice is that Pages should avoid encouraging people to take action (such as encouraging lots of clicks), because this will likely only cause temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time – meaning the latest ranking favours content that users naturally engage with rather than content that users click on through coercion.


Last month Instagram followed suit and announced it would alter user’s feeds to optimise the content users “care about the most”, and Twitter has also adopted a similar change (although users can opt-out and revert back to the chronological feed). The changes will hopefully make it harder for clickbaiters to game feeds with meaningless content, but the real aim for the platforms hosting is to surface more engaging content more frequently so users return often and stay longer.


The same goes for brands on social. If the content they produce is consistently engaging, then users will interact more frequently, leading others to discover it through preferred ranking. Ultimately, these new newsfeed algorithms exist to generate more meaningful engagement, driving not just clicks, but conversations via comments, and shares.


Learn and adapt

Meaningful engagement begins with relevant content that creates value for the user and the brand. While an insight-driven content strategy is key to delivering this, brands should also adapt stories and messages based on the emotional needs and behavior of their audience. This is more than just a case of ‘test and learn’ or refining what has already been done. Brands must also evolve their approach in line with new behaviors, platforms, competitors and rankings or risk being left behind by those who do.


A good example of a brand that does this well is Buzzfeed, who’s CEO recently shared their new strategic thinking, revealing how their objective has changed from getting users to click through to their main site to view stories, to allowing content to be consumed directly on other platforms. The new direction was prompted by analysing which content generated clicks and discovering that users prefer to consume some types of content within the platform they are already on. The company also found a discernable difference between user interactions with the same content on different platforms, demonstrating how content demand and consumption vary across sites. What spreads like wildfire on Facebook might fail miserably elsewhere.


Relevance is key

For brands looking to use social content to drive click-through to their site, it’s important to balance the goal of the company (clicks to eyeballs, or conversions to sales, for example) with the desire and behavior of users on different sites, and monitor response over time. Relevance is key to interaction, and brands that think like publishers will know that relevance is an ever-changing chameleon. While users are bombarded with meaningless clickbait, there is ample opportunity for brands to channel the social zeitgeist by delivering valuable content that meets audience needs in the format, time and platform that suits them. If they get this right, they won’t need clickbait.


At Mindjumpers we help companies and brands to think as publishers and provide end-to-end social media management across multiple markets, encompassing full social strategy, planned and reactive content creation, analysis and reporting.


If you’d like to find out more please get in touch.


*Don’t be naughty and scroll to the last paragraph – I’ve hidden the controversial part somewhere to optimize your dwell time in finding it!