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Companies in social media analysis changed ownership 29 times in 2017—up from 20 in 2016, though some unusual transactions fuzzed the count. As usual, most transactions are portfolio plays, companies adding to their technology and services capabilities. Serial acquirers were back after a break in 2016, and a customer bought the company.

Here's a recap of the year's deals. As always, you can find the latest deals and a record of past deals in the space at SMA's acquisitions scorecard. I've also written a separate post on categorizing the logic of mergers and acquisitions on my personal blog. If you like getting this kind of information, please support the effort.

Acquisitions in social media analysis 2017

Acquisition as a core competency
Several companies with a habit of buying to grow their capabilities returned to the well in 2017. Meltwater prolonged its multi-year buying spree, picking up AI technology in Wrapidity, Cosmify and Algo, plus boosting its geographic depth with Klarity (Asia) and Infomart (Canada).

Cision used a shell-company merger to go public, and then added both technology products and professional services to its portfolio with L’Argus de la Presse, CEDROM-SNi and PRIME Research. Hootsuite bought Snapchat analytics from Naritiv, marketing performance measurement in LiftMetrix and Facebook and Instagram ad management in AdEspresso.

A different kind of serial acquirer, ESW Capital, added FirstRain to its buy-and-own collection.

Consolidation
Sometimes the strategy is more of the same. In the Netherlands, OBI4wan found a media intelligence/webcare match in Buzzcapture. Repeating the pattern of a 2016 deal, Notified bought the media monitoring business of Lissly, another Swedish company refocusing its efforts.

Build vs. buy? Buy, please.
"Needing too many different tools" is a common complaint where marketing meets technology, and our companies are here to help. Sprout Social went deep on analytics with Simply Measured. Brandwatch got into content marketing and influence with BuzzSumo.

Synthesio added audience insights and engagement analytics with Social Karma and a report builder in Bunkr. Conversocial called HipMob to extend its customer engagement reach with live chat. Tickr got into competitor data with Market.Space.

Ebiquity picked Digital Balance to build its services presence in Australia. OneQube got tech and people in Them Digital while also juggling entities with Internet Media Labs.

Vertical market love
Alibaba-owned Shiji bought most of ReviewPro for its business serving hospitality clients. MarketCast picked up Fizziology to add social media to its entertainment insights and analytics toolkit. K1 Investment Management bought Actiance with a plan to merge it with Smarsh to provide compliance and information archiving in finance and government.

Offramp
Refocusing on its language technology core, SDL unloaded its oft-traded social media intelligence business to the newly-formed Social Data Intelligence (Techrigy -> Alterian -> SDL -> SDI).

Paging Mr. Kiam
Finally, American Family Insurance liked Networked Insights so much, they bought the company, which they plan to keep as an investment while tapping its expertise for internal projects. We'll put them down as a promoter, then.

I am between projects and waiting for a client decision on a major project later this quarter. Last year, I helped clients with market intelligence on location tracking for law enforcement, small cells for mobile networks, and government funding opportunities for small businesses, in addition to the social media and intelligence themes I write about. Does your company have a short-term need that I can help you meet? Reach me here and let's talk about it.

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Companies in social media analysis reported taking in more than $194 million in new investments in 2017, down from the previous year's $225 million (totals exclude the value of investments whose value was unannounced). In retrospect, total investment in the market peaked in 2013 and has declined every year since.

Investment in social media analysis 2017

Here's a recap of the year's investment activity.

*Networked Insights was later acquired by one of its investors.

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Twitter Reveals API Plans

Twitter  announced plans to unify its API platform, eliminating differences between its original APIs and the deeper capabilities it acquired in the Gnip  platform. The company made its API product roadmap available through Trello.

Twitter also released direct message and welcome message endpoints and a new Account Activity API.

Companies in social media analysis changed ownership 20 times in 2016, down from 32 deals in 2015. Despite the slower pace, the logic underlying acquisitions continues from last year, with the majority representing portfolio plays, as companies extend their technology and services capabilities. The serial acquirers slowed down in 2016, while several smaller companies combined forces to go after larger markets.

Here's a recap of the year's deals. As always, you can find the latest deals and a record of past deals in the space at SMA's acquisitions scorecard.

Acquisitions in social media analysis 2016

Teaming Up
Whether it's described as a merger or an acquisition, some combinations represent companies teaming up to take on the world. Augure (which earlier rolled up iMente, Adequate Systems and Wisemetrics) merged with Fashion GPS to form Launchmetrics and pursue fashion and other high-end, global brands.

M-Brain extended its geographic reach and team with Opoint, two Nordic companies going everywhere. Sentimonitor and Vortio teamed up to go global from their base in Brazil. Wayin and EngageSciences combined their strengths in social media intelligence, digital campaigns and customer engagement.

Meanwhile, straight-up consolidation continued as Tailwind bought and shuttered PinAlerts, continuing its pattern of rolling up Pinterest specialists.

Going Shopping
The typical acquisition has been, for years, the larger company picking up a smaller company for a product or technology. After a busy 2015, Sprinklr made just one purchase in 2016, adding influencer marketing tools of Little Bird. Hootsuite went mobile with Sales Prodigy, its first acquisition since 2014. Meltwater got technology and talent in Encore Alert.

CARMA added CustomScoop to its client toolbox. Shapiro+Raj chose MutualMind. LRW picked up MotiveQuest as a step toward integrating listening with other research methods. Anexinet added unstructured data analysis to its diversified business technology portfolio with ListenLogic. Each of these continues to operate with the addition of parent-company branding.

ScribbleLive grew its content marketing portfolio with Visually and Scompler. Webedia added listening and analytics to its brand services with Semantiweb and Nuke Suite.

Freshdesk called up Airwoot for customer support through social media. gShift picked InNetwork to add influencer tools to its content optimization suite.

Refocusing
2016 saw two deals in a less common category, as companies adjusted their priorities and traded entire businesses. Innodata bought PR Newswire's Agility media-intelligence business, a result of Cision's late-2015 deal to acquire PRN. Notified bought the media monitoring business from Twintip Insights as the latter refocused on its dashboard product.

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Companies in social media analysis reported taking in about $225 million in new investments in 2016, down substantially from the previous year's $445 million (totals exclude the value of investments whose value was unannounced). Here's a recap of the year's investment activity.

See all of the recent funding headlines on one page: Investments in Social Media Analysis

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BDO on M&A in Social Media Monitoring

Nice to be quoted in two recent posts from the accounting and advisory firm BDO:

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