Brand Networks Buys Shift For $50M, Launches Measurement Tool

Adding to its social marketing suite, Brand Networks has agreed to acquire rival Shift for $50 million in cash and stock. Per the deal, James Borow, co-founder and CEO of Shift, has joined Brand Networks as chief product officer.

With the deal, Brand Networks will be able to help marketers “use a single platform to break down the walls between disparate teams, data silos, and content types to deliver relevant content across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn,” according to founder and CEO Jamie Tedford.

Along with agency clients like Interpublic Group and WPP, brand clients include American Express, AT&T, Discover, Yahoo and Unilever. Going forward, the combined social marketing platforms will manage over $500 million in advertising spend, according to internal estimates.

Also this week, Brand Networks launched RelevanceRank -- a proprietary technology that aims to give social marketers a better way to measure and predict the ongoing performance of their paid and organic content across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Brand Networks has a history of growth through acquisition. In late 2013, it scooped up Optimal Inc. for $35 million. Optimal brought with it expertise in the areas of managing ad campaigns on Facebook platforms, like the Facebook Exchange (FBX) and Custom Audiences platforms, as well as analytics and measurement.

Buying Optimal also helped Brand Networks bolster its social ad capabilities beyond Facebook. At the time, Optimal was among the only companies that was both a Twitter Ads API partner and qualified on FBX, as well as one of the first two partners on LinkedIn’s new Sponsored Updates ad platform.

Brand Networks built its business helping major retailers and chain restaurants market on Facebook at both the national and local level. That role was underscored by the $68 million investment Brand Networks landed in 2013 from AEA Investors, which has strong ties to the retail and CPG industries.

Post acquisition, Brand Networks will boast a workforce of 250 employees.

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