These days, it seems it’s not a typical week if Google’s not making some big announcement, update or news. And though now they’re competing with such things as “Olympic spoilers on Twitter,” they’ve done it again. This time, Google has acquired Wildfire, the main marketing channel of … Facebook. DUN DUN DUN! Analysts say the deal (worth between $250 and $400 million) could give the Goog access to Facebook’s “intelligence” and customer list that could benefit Google+. Not that it takes an analyst to come up with that hypothesis. Sure, that could have been one motivation, though there’s no telling when or if Facebook could play the “Twitter API card” and revoke Wildfire’s access, a process that, if even possible, is sure to involve a lot of red (blue, green and yellow) tape. The amount of possible intelligence Google could achieve through Wildfire is probably not their main concern. Given the yawn-inducing rollout of Google+ and recent reports that point to more brands joining, but few being active (a testament to Google’s ability to make their products seem to be something modern, digital-minded people simply can’t live without), it’s not access Google wants; it’s control. Control of all things digital marketing, from analytics to search and display ads, promoted tweets to Facebook contests, etc… . As Wildfire said in their own announcement blog post:
“We believe that over time the combination of Wildfire and Google can lead to a better platform for managing all digital media marketing. For now, we remain focused on helping brands run and measure their social engagement and ad campaigns across the entire web and across all social services — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and more …”
Of course, this seems like a smart move for Google. Why let people advertise or run promotions on channels they don’t control or profit from when there’s a chance to get their hands in every pot? For advertisers, this could either end up streamlining efforts or limiting exposure (though plenty of people have been running successful social marketing campaigns without the help of Wildfire and could certainly continue to do so). But, if integrated with the rest of Google’s advertising options, social marketing through Google could be a no-brainer, with shared data and measurement, as well as the ability to seamlessly overlap tactics. Google wants to be everything to everyone – but it will never be the most decorated Olympian.