Google is buying a company that specializes in social media marketing as it intensifies competition with Facebook for ad dollars and attention.
The company, Redwood City, Calif.-based Wildfire, helps businesses such as Cirque du Soleil and Spotify manage social media efforts across the Internet.
It’s an important area for Google as people spend more time on social networks such as Facebook and as advertisers follow them.
Google’s social network, Google Plus, hasn’t had the traction that Facebook Inc. enjoys. Wildfire will let Google play a role whether the ad campaign is on Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere.
Wildfire currently serves 16,000 customers, including 30 of the top 50 brands, and it reportedly raised $14 million since founding in 2008. Google will likely merge Wildfire into its ever-expanding social and advertising services to better entice marketers into buying either traditional or display ads for a variety of platforms— even direct rival Facebook.
Wildfire’s co-founders and other staff will join Google Inc. The deal’s financial details were not disclosed. But people familiar with the transaction estimate Google bought the social ad business for $250 million, “plus earnouts, employment agreements, etc.”
In recent months, Oracle Corp. and Salesforce.com Inc. also have reached deals to buy similar startups.