Photo: LeWeb12 / Flickr, CC
Google’s $250 million acquisition of social media management company Wildfire — which Business Insider suggested was about to happen on July 15 — isn’t just about offering advertisers ways of buying both conventional display ads from Google as well as social media campaign handling.It’s a way for Google to spy on what’s going on inside Facebook and to keep tabs on how the social network uses its vast cache of consumer data.
Google and Facebook are now direct competitors on two fronts:
- Wildfire allows Google to cream off marketing dollars in “social media management” fees, which are spent pursuant to larger budgets end up on Facebook. Now Google gets to ride a little on Facebook’s success.
- Facebook’s FBX ad exchange works a lot like Google’s AdSense, allowing advertisers and publishers to buy and serve ads against cookie-based data on third-party web sites.
Every time a Wildfire team visits Facebook to see what new ad products the company is offering, Google will get to hear about it.
And every campaign run via Wildfire’s software will generate data about advertising and user behaviour on Facebook that Google can see.
There’s one piece missing from the puzzle: Facebook doesn’t yet have a similar window into Google.
Disclosure: The author owns 30 shares of Facebook stock, and two shares of GOOG.
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