Amid broad consolidation in the social marketing space, Salesforce.com is reportedly closing in on Facebook specialist Buddy Media. Although unconfirmed by either company, the would-be deal comes just a week after Oracle agreed to buy social marketing firm Vitrue for a reported $300 million.
While the transaction has yet to close, Buddy Media and SalesForce.com have already agreed to terms that value Buddy at more than $800 million, reports AllThingsD.
Social marketing insiders only expect the current land-grab to accelerate.“I would expect to see more consolidation in the space in the near term,” said Victoria Ransom, co-founder and CEO of co-founder of social marketing startup Wildfire.
Reached by phone, a Buddy Media spokeswoman said the company does not comment on rumors and speculation. Salesforce.com representatives did not respond to press inquiries on Wednesday.
Salesforce.com is no stranger to the social space. Last year, the cloud-computing goliath paid $326 million for social media monitoring firm Radian6.
"This move is a deliberate push toward the elusive 'social CRM' concept," Forrester analyst Zach Hofer-Shall said upon Salesforce’s Radian6 buy. "Social CRM isn't a technology you can simply install, but bringing together a leading listening platform with a leading CRM vendor could give the market the first end-to-end solution."
Buddy Media, which has received about $90 million in venture-capital funding to date, has recently been bolstering its service suite. After acquiring London-based Brighter Option earlier this year -- to gain the company's paid ad solution -- Buddy Media recently rebranded the software as BuyBuddy, a self-service offering advertisers can use to create, track and optimize campaigns on Facebook.
Built into the company’s existing platform enabling social-content publishing, app creation and e-commerce, the aim is to help companies better combine owned, earned and paid media efforts on Facebook and other social sites.
During the first quarter, BuyBuddy tracked more than 128 billion impressions -- up from about 3 billion impressions year-over-year -- and generated more than 90 million clicks on Facebook, with more than 1.6 million ads created by users.
Despite the questions that remain about social as an effective marketing channel, social-marketing specialists remain a hot commodity. “Salesforce’s acquisition of Buddy, on the heels of Oracle’s acquisition of Vitrue, further underscores how fundamental social has become to the overall marketing mix and to future enterprise architectures,” according to Ransom at Wildfire.
Late last year, Vitrue and Buddy Media competitor Context Optional was acquired by Adobe.