May 31, 2012 (10:05 AM EDT)
10 Big Deals Show Future Of Social Apps
Read the Original Article at InformationWeek
Social and business apps are colliding. In the last year, dozens of companies have acquired others in the social media market, as giants and would-be giants jockey for position. In addition, we are seeing native social networking companies such as Facebook building out their platforms with business-like capabilities, while business platforms such as Salesforce.com add social capabilities.
In this gallery, we take a look at a few of the many recent (and pending) social business-focused acquisitions. The deals we highlight here aren't necessarily the biggest, or the first, or unique, but they signify important trends for not only social networking but also business apps in general.
Marketing consulting: Companies that have previously just dipped their toes into marketing on social networking platforms are finding themselves ready to dive in--but not without a lifejacket of sorts. Many organizations are looking to increase the scale of their campaigns, and companies like Buddy Media (in Salesforce.com's sights) and Vitrue (recently acquired by Oracle) can help companies centrally create, publish, moderate, manage, measure, and report on their social marketing campaigns.
Analytics: Much of the big data we hear so much about these days is being generated from social networking platforms, and a number of recent acquisitions center on companies that provide the ability to make sense of all of that information.
Gamification: Games have been one of social networking's killer apps from the beginning, and games continue to drive downloads, sales, advertising revenue, and audience. Increasingly, game mechanics are making their way into business applications. Many recent acquisitions reflect gamification's popularity and importance.
Integration with productivity apps: At some point in the near future, all business applications will likely have some kind of social capabilities running through their veins. Acquisitions such as Yammer's purchase of OneDrum, which enables real-time collaboration on Microsoft Office documents, are testament to the direction in which business apps are heading.
Mobile: Many recent acquisitions have mobile overtones, as social networking and business application vendors seek to reach users whenever and wherever they are.
Location: Speaking of reaching users wherever they are, location-based services are key to social success, and a number of companies are acquiring technology that will enable them to engage users and focus advertising based on user location.
Influence: As organizations seek to engage new audience, they are looking to influence the influencers. Identifying those people is at the heart of several recent acquisitions.
Update: On June 4, Salesforce.com confirmed it was buying Buddy Media, although for a bit less than the initial rumor suggested, at $689 million.
At press time, Salesforce was reportedly close to purchasing Buddy Media for $800 million. Buddy Media is a social media marketing firm that helps companies manage campaigns on social networks including Facebook and Twitter. The deal--one among several for Salesforce.com--would signify the increasingly social nature of customer relationship management.
Twitter's acquisition of TweetDeck signals the increasing focus on the kinds of monitoring and tracking features companies will require as they expand their social networking presence into mission-critical areas.
In yet another acquisition by Salesforce, Radian6 provides enhanced social analytics and management capabilities.
Not one to let Salesforce hog all the social networking glory (and potential revenue), Oracle acquired cloud-based social marketing and engagement company Vitrue.
Yammer is an internal social networking platform. OneDrum is an application that enables users to collaborate on and share Microsoft Office documents in real time. Together, Yammer and OneDrum have the potential to provide a very powerful content management platform--and give Microsoft SharePoint some competition.
Whether you think Instagram--with its 30 million users--is worth $1 billion, the acquisition demonstrates the importance of photo sharing and mobile on social media platforms. The acquisition was the biggest ever (to date) by Facebook.
Facebook is rumored to be acquiring like-named Face.com, a facial recognition services provider whose technology Facebook already licenses. Face.com already enables users to, among other things, search for photos of themselves on Facebook and tag photos of others via suggestions powered by Face.com's facial recognition capabilities. The opportunities for integration with Instagram--not to mention the implications for advertising applications--are compelling.
Location, location, location. HootSuite's acquisition of location-based marketing tool Geotoko adds geolocation capabilities to HootSuite's social media management dashboard. Geotoko provides information on key influencers, customer sentiment and demographic patterns.
Google showed its social hand with the purchase of PostRank, a service that measures users' influence by providing visibility into which users are sharing what content where. PostRank itself was "sunsetted" on May 1, but the capabilities are available via Google Analytics.
Social gaming juggernaut Zynga has acquired OMGPOP, the creator of the popular Draw Something game. Draw Something joins Zynga's growing stable of games, including Farmville and Words With Friends (the latter gained through Zynga's 2010 acquisition of Newtoy). Games are a huge part of social networking's success, and gamification is increasingly wending its way into business applications.