Whoever said the summer's supposed to be a slow time for news had better be on vacation this week. While the financial markets keep a keen eye on $FB's fluctuation, my colleagues and I are busy analyzing the flurry of M&A around the social technology vendors. Simply put, it's a busy time in the social media world.
Just over a week ago, Oracle purchased Vitrue to add social media management to its bigger technology offerings. Yesterday, Salesforce.com countered the announcement with the acquisition of Buddy Media. But not to be outdone, today Oracle announced it will acquire Collective Intellect, a social intelligence company. The announcement comes a year after Salesforce.com purchased Radian6 and now gives both CRM giants the components they need to piece together something powerful. With social CRM in sight, this social technology arms race is the start of something very big to come.
Let's answer some quick questions about this rush of activity:
It's not so much a case of paid search being less relevant, but that search and the process of "getting found" across channels has become more diverse with the advent of social media, growth in mobile search, and shifting budgets to SEO in response to rising cost-per-click (CPC) rates in mature European markets.
The last frontier for paid search? Interestingly, despite huge marketing cutbacks the troubled euro zone markets — Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain — maintain growth only just below Western European averages as brands in these markets shift budgets to search and focus on acquisition and return on investment.
Overall, interesting times are ahead for the search agency that can develop multi-channel marketing strategies or the more traditional digital agency which shores up it's search and discovery offering.