Another year, another several dozen social media acquisitions. How exciting!
Twitter lead the way this year with 7 social media acquisitions. Plus they had that little IPO that really put Facebook’s debacle to shame.
Yahoo was also on a tear this year as Marissa Mayer started to make her mark. Content and mobile were her calling cards. Their big play was buying Tumblr, but several other acquisitions landed Yahoo in the second place spot with six social media acquisitions in 2013.
Facebook was a little quieter this year with 3 adds. While LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google and Salesforce each picked up two new social media companies during the last 12 months.
Salesforce, Oracle and Adobe all continue to slug it out to become THE marketing software behemoth. But as a whole they were quieter in 2013 as most of the key pieces for all their marketing clouds have been built out.
View previous years’ lists of the top social acquisitions here: 2012 and 2011.
Top 17 Social Media Acquisitions of 2013
Let’s dive in to our top 17 and why we think each of them were a big deal for the social media industry.
1. Tumblr acquired by Yahoo
May 20 (blogging platform)
Yahoo brought in a major social network with Tumblr, with a young audience of content creators and curators. And they promised “not to screw it up.” Marissa Mayer certainly has plans for Yahoo to expand their already massive content offering. Tumblr will be a way to both expand their content and expose Yahoo content to a new and larger audience.
If they can not screw it up.
2. MoPub acquired by Twitter
Sept. 10 (mobile ad network)
Twitter went public in 2013 and it’s stock went on a tear. Whether that valuation is rational, probably not. The uniqueness of Twitter buys it a lot of good will. Far more people “like” Twitter than say Facebook.
However, Twitter has some serious revenue opportunities, and the MoPub acquisition shows you how to think about the company’s future. Twitter was is an advertising company, and more specifically, a mobile advertising company.
Twitter bought a lot this year. Their M&A funds jumped this year to 8X what they spent in 2012.
3. ExactTarget acquired by SalesForce
June 4 (digital marketing software)
Salesforce continues to build their marketing software juggernaut, one strategic piece at a time. This was a big one as ExactTarget was becoming a min-Salesforce of its own. Salesforce got a ton of software tools, a great marketing team, and a very impressive client list with this buy.
Plus, one of the larger email marketing solutions.
4. Topsy acquired by Apple
Dec. 2 (Twitter data/analytics)
The impact of Apple buying Topsy, one of three Twitter firehose vendors, is really an unknown. Apple has been a big boon for Twitter, integrating the social network into iOS 5 back in 2011.
Apple clearly sees value in Twitter data, perhaps just for research.
The potential here is a negative one though. If Topsy shuts down or simply languishes in Apple’s hands, it could mean one of the better Twitter search engines, and a major Twitter data source, becoming less useful to consumers and businesses.
5. Waze acquired by Google
June 11 (social mapping)
This is pretty simple. Google is good at maps. The best. And now they are better. Of course, this also stopped Facebook or anyone else from getting better at maps.
Plus, Waze has unique social and advertising layers to their service. Google likes both of those layers very much.
6. Compendium acquired by Oracle
Oct. 17 (content marketing software)
Oracle slowed down on their acquisitions a bit this year. They led the way in 2012, with four pickups that helped build out their very robust marketing cloud. Compendium is a very nice addition, as a strong content marketing software.
Compendium made its name as a blogging platform that enables strong SEO benefits. It should play pretty nicely with the rest of Oracle’s marketing software build.
7. Vine acquired by Twitter
Launched Jan. 24 (short video sharing)
This was actually a 2012 acquisition by Twitter, but since Twitter bought the platform before it ever launched, no one really knew about it until the app launched publicly in January.
I give Twitter, and Vine, a lot of credit for causing some clear disruption this year. Soon after Vine’s launch Instagram launched their own video clone of the product. Both services innovated to provide some great options for consumers and businesses.
I also think Vine’s embed feature, built off of Twitter’s embed feature, forced both Instagram and Facebook to replicate this functionality.
8 & 9. Twitter acquires Bluefin and Trendrr
Bluefin Labs was acquired by Twitter on Feb. 6 and Trendrr was acquired by Twitter on Aug. 28. Both companies are social TV analytics vendors. Twitter clearly wants to solidify and expand on their success with TV and Hollywood customers.
Their Nielsen partnership and these acquisitions demonstrate how important the entertainment vertical is to Twitter’s business.
10. Pulse acquired by LinkedIn
April 11 (news reader)
Acquiring Pulse was a very clear move form LinkedIn to expand their content and curation features. In 2013, LinkedIn made a lot of strategic moves. Their native ads got very strong and the homepage got a lot more interesting.
Pulse and LinkedIn’s featuring of business leader content are a big part of the social network’s attempt to bring users back to the site more often.
11. Atlas acquired by Facebook
Feb. 28 (ad analytics)
Facebook made a big pickup here from Microsoft to help build out their ad analytics solutions even more. Facebook ads are Facebook’s revenue. They are not diversified. One of their big challenges is helping businesses understand how to get value from Facebook ads. Enhancing their ad analytics, with Atlas, could help that effort.
12. Storify acquired by Livefyre
Sept. 9 (social media curation)
I am a big fan of what Storify has done. I think they have driven Twitter and Facebook to improve the curation and embedding tools available on their sites. It will be very interesting to see what Livefyre does with the platform.
Brands (and publishers) need new ways to capture these social conversations off the major sites so that they can actively engage with them. Livefyre has done a lot of innovative things, starting with their commenting technology. But having seen entire social hubs they built for campaigns like this Fall’s PlayStation 4 launch, they are clearly not content to be a commenting platform only.
13. Foodspotting acquired by OpenTable
Jan. 29 (food focused social network)
Really happy that Foodspotting got picked up by OpenTable. A very sound niche service provider found great relevance from the equally niche social and mobile Foodspotting. Great fit.
14. Lanyrd acquired by Eventbrite
Sept. 3 (event directory)
Lanyrd is a great conference directory that allows users to crowdsource all event data on the site. It connects speaker pages, event companies, topics and more. They had yet to really monetize. It will be interesting to see how EventBrite uses the service. At a minimum there should be an easy “promote on Lanyrd” premium option added right away.
If I were LinkedIn, I would be looking at Eventbrite as a future potential acquisition.
15. Dispatch acquired by Meetup
Oct. 9 (group email)
The “meta” part of this story is that Dispatch‘s founders originally met at a Meetup event. However, Meetup is serious about using the Dispatch technology to improve how the communication tools within their Meetup groups. Dispatch is the anti-reply-all company whose focus is on improving online group collaboration.
16. Carrot Creative acquired by Vice
Dec. 11 (social media agency)
Carrot Creative is a quality social media agency in Brooklyn. Most social agencies get bought up by larger Ad or PR agencies. But not Carrot. Teaming up with Vice, a media company, will be an interesting combo. Carrot Creative will help market Vice’s editorial content to larger audiences as well as work with Vice partner brands.
17. Neolane acquired by Adobe
June 27 (automated conversional marketing)
Adobe picked up Neolane to help beef up the automated marketing portion of their marketing suite. Neolane brings with it, to Adobe, the ability to handle lead generation management and manage campaigns across multiple channels.
Social Media Acquisitions 2013
We also have detailed out a more complete list of social media acquisitions from 2013. All of the above acquisitions are included below as well, in chronological order.
Punchfork acquired by Pinterest – Jan. 3 (recipe discovery/search)
Pagelever acquired by Unified – Jan. 21 (Facebook analytics)
Snip.it acquired by Yahoo – Jan. 22 (Pinterest for news)
Vine acquired by Twitter – Launched Jan. 24 (short video sharing)
Foodspotting acquired by OpenTable – Jan. 29 (food focused social network)
Bluefin Labs acquired by Twitter – Feb. 6 (social TV analytics)
Swaylo acquired by PeopleBrowser – Feb. 6 (Facebook influence analytics/marketing)
Atlas acquired by Facebook – Feb. 28 (ad analytics)
Storylane acquired by Facebook – March 8 (blogging/story platform)
Netbreeze acquired by Microsoft – March 19 (multi-lingual social analytics)
Livestar acquired by Pinterest – March 20 (local recommendations app)
Pulse acquired by LinkedIn – April 11 (news reader)
We Are Hunted acquired by Twitter – April 12 (music sharing)
Semantelli acquired by IMS Health – May 2 (social media analytics)
Lucky Sort acquired by Twitter – May 3 (data analysis)
WeFollow acquired by About.com – May 7 (people directory)
Visual Revenue acquired by Outbrain – May 7 (news analytics)
Clipboard acquired by Salesforce and closed down – May 9 (Pinterest clone)
Tumblr acquired by Yahoo – May 20 (blogging platform)
Maybe acquired by LinkedIn – May 22 (social polling)
ExactTarget acquired by SalesForce – June 4 (digital marketing software)
Waze acquired by Google – June 11 (social mapping)
Spindle acquired by Twitter – June 19 (location-based social discover)
Neolane acquired by Adobe – June 27 (automated conversional marketing)
Bebo acquired by original founders – July 1 (social network)
Qwiki acquired by Yahoo – July 2 (rich media/video creation)
Xobni acquired by Yahoo – July 3 (smarter contacts)
Ztelic acquired by Yahoo – July 18 (social media analytics, China)
Trendrr acquired by Twitter – Aug. 28 (social TV analytics)
Lanyrd acquired by Eventbrite – Sept. 3 (event directory)
Storify acquired by Livefyre – Sept. 9 (social media curation)
MoPub acquired by Twitter – Sept. 10 (mobile ad network)
Bump acquired by Google – Sept. 16 (mobile file/media sharing)
Dispatch acquired by Meetup – Oct. 9 (group email)
Optimal acquired by Brand Networks – Oct. 16 (social advertising)
Compendium acquired by Oracle – Oct. 17 (content marketing software)
LookFlow acquired by Yahoo – Oct. 23 (image recognition/intelligence
Realtidbits acquired by Livefyre – Nov. 21 (comments, social applications and analytics)
Seesaw acquired by Byliner – Nov. 26 (crowdsourced decision platform)
Topsy acquired by Apple – Dec. 2 (Twitter data/analytics)
Carrot Creative acquired by Vice – Dec. 11 (social media agency)
SportStream acquired by Facebook – Dec. 17 (content aggregator)
Anything we missed? Add it in the comments.
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