Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg shared today on the company’s first quarter earnings call that its acquisition of Atlas from Microsoft closed last week and that she welcomed the team to Facebook today.
Atlas Advertiser Suite is a platform that advertisers and agencies use to plan, manage, track and optimize their digital marketing. Facebook agreed to buy the platform and Seattle-based team from Microsoft at the end of February.
Sandberg said Atlas is important for its measurement capabilities, not its potential to power an ad network, which many have speculated about. She said Facebook has “no plans” to create an ad network to serve Facebook ads on third-party sites. Atlas will continue to be a tool for advertisers to measure the effect of their online ads on Facebook and other platforms.
Facebook today announced an agreement to acquire Parse, a cloud-based platform providing tools for mobile app developers.
Parse offers backend services, data storage, social integration tools and other features to make it easier for developers to build apps across different platforms that scale more efficiently.
Facebook is buying Parse outright, meaning this is more than the typical talent deals Facebook makes. Parse will continue to operate and offer its services. Currently, it has a free model, a $199 model and an enterprise level. The company says there are 60,000 apps integrated with Parse’s platform.
Facebook Director of Developer Products Doug Purdy wrote in a developer blog post today:
“We want to enable developers to rapidly build apps that span mobile platforms and devices. Parse makes this possible by allowing developers to work with native objects that provide backend services for data storage, notifications, user management, and more. This removes the need to manage servers and a complex infrastructure, so you can simply focus on building great user experiences.”
Facebook has hired the team behind Spaceport, a framework for developers to publish their games across platforms, a company spokesperson tells us. Spaceport also announced the news today on its website.
Spaceport, which is part of Sibblingz, allows developers to create cross-platform games using a single codebase and without Adobe Air, which is known to be slow and unreliable. Instead, Spaceport uses ActionScript. It launched in April 2011.
Sibblingz co-founder Ben Savage and the Spaceport team will join Facebook in the acqui-hire deal. According to LinkedIn, that’s about seven people, but Facebook did not confirm how many new employees it is getting through the talent acquisition. As the social network is not acquiring the company’s technology, the Spaceport platform will continue under co-founder Peter Relan and his team from YouWeb.
Facebook has acquired stealth software startup Osmeta, TechCrunch reports today. The deal was apparently completed last month.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the acquisition, but did not offer any additional information. Osmeta did not share an update on its website.
San Francisco-based Osmeta was made up of 19 engineers and led by Amit Singh, who previously worked at Google and started the Chrome OS project. Osmeta was operating in stealth mode, but notes on its site, “We are working on really, really interesting software technology. It’s big.”
In a testimonial on the site, Atlantic Bridge general partner Brian Long says, “The technology they are developing has the potential to be a major driver of change in the software industry, while opening up an enormous market opportunity in one of the industry’s fastest growing and and most dynamic sectors: mobile.”
Facebook today announced that it has acquired Hot Studio, a design agency based in San Francisco and New York, to build new tools for brands and businesses on the social network.
According to LinkedIn, Hot Studio has 114 employees. Hot Studio developer Bill Fisher said on Twitter that this is the largest talent acquisition Facebook has ever made. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Hot Studio had been working with the social network on a few projects over the past few months, and Facebook says it recognized a fit between the two companies.
Storytelling platform Storylane today announced that it is shutting down and the team is joining Facebook as part of a talent acquisition. Facebook is not buying the Storylane product.
Storylane is a community story sharing service and social network where users are prompted to share stories about themselves. Users can follow specific users and topics on the site, which is in part why it has been compared to Medium, the publishing platform recently launched by two of Twitter’s co-founders. Storylane CEO Jonathan Gheller wrote in a blog post about the news today:
“Facebook’s mission of connecting the world has always been at the center of our work, and like our friends at Facebook, meaningful connections are what our team is most passionate about.”
Facebook today announced that it has agreed to buy Atlas Advertiser Suite from Microsoft.
Atlas is a platform that advertisers and agencies use to plan, manage, track and optimize their digital marketing.
The Facebook-Microsoft deal has been anticipated for weeks after AllThingsD reported that the companies were talking in December and Ad Age reported that the acquisition was imminent earlier this month. Facebook did not disclose the terms of the deal, which includes the Atlas software and team, but Ad Age and CNBC sources have said it could be in the $100-million range or likely even less. Microsoft originally bought Atlas in 2007 as part of its $6 billion acquisition of aQuantive.
The social network has positioned the Atlas buy as a way to help advertisers get a more “holistic view” of their campaign performance at varying points in the marketing funnel. Some have wondered whether the acquisition is part of the company’s plans to create an off-Facebook ad network, but the measurement component is perhaps most important for Facebook at this stage. With Atlas, advertisers can manage and measure their campaigns across a number of channels to determine which sites, placements and creative drive different types of engagement and conversions. Facebook says “enhancing these systems will give marketers a deeper understanding of effectiveness and lead to better digital advertising experiences for consumers.”
Enterprise marketing technology company Unified today announced it has purchased Facebook analytics platform PageLever.
PageLever’s seven employees will join Unified full-time in the company’s San Francisco and New York offices. PageLever customers’ service will continue uninterrupted, and they can expect new social marketing solutions that combine the companies’ product sets in the near future.
Unified offers an all-in-one platform to help brands and agencies manage paid media campaigns across networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and StumbleUpon, from creative and planning stages to reporting and analytics. Unified also focuses on helping advertisers understand the earned media value that is generated by people taking social actions after being exposed to an ad.
PageLever started as a two-person Mountain View company formed out of Facebook page consulting company BrandGlue. It has taken seed funding from SV Angels and Start Fund in addition to Y Combinator. PageLever released its analytics tool in August 2011 and most recently updated its platform to include real-time engagement insights in November 2012.
Unified launched its “Social Operating Platform” a year ago. Its latest update included a new ad monitoring application, improved insights and a self-serve version of its app suite that helps companies amplify their messages by integrating social features.
The companies, both of which are Facebook Preferred Marketing Developers, now serve over 300 customers including some enterprises among the Global 2000 and leading advertising agencies.
Facebook finishes 2012 as No. 1 mobile app in U.S. – Facebook edged Google Maps as the top mobile app in the U.S. at the end of 2012, according to ComScore. Google’s app had been No. 1 until October when Apple implemented its own maps product as the default in iOS 6. However, Google put out a new version of its maps app, which has been very popular. Google Maps has been within the top 5 free apps in the Apple App Store since it launched in December, according to AppData.
Facebook lobbying surges in Q4 - Facebook spent $1.4 million on lobbying efforts in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to disclosure forms filed with the clerk of House of Representatives this week. This is the first time Facebook has spent more than $1 million on lobbying in a single period. During Q4 2011, Facebook only spent $444,000. Facebook’s yearly spending for lobbying increased 196 percent from $1.335 million to $3.99 million. Comparatively, Google spent $16.48 million on lobbying in 2012, up from $9.68 million the previous year.
Facebook bought or “acqui-hired” more than a dozen companies this year, including Instagram, the largest acquisition in the company’s history. Like last year, bringing on mobile talent was clearly a focus for the social network in 2012.
In addition to the $521 million it spent on Instagram, the company reported spending $87 million on other business acquisitions between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30. Information about the rest of the year won’t be available until the company’s Q4 earnings are released. In 2011, Facebook spent only $68 million on a similar number of acquisitions.
Below we’ll review this year’s acquisitions and acqui-hires. We also looked to Facebook’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for hints on what the social network paid companies in stock.
Facebook acqui-hired a co-founder of viral brand marketing agency Momentus Media, which was behind campaigns for Levi’s, LMFAO and Taio Cruz. Chris Turitzin joined the Facebook growth, engagement and mobile team while Momentus itself continues on under co-founder Carina Koo. The company grew out of the Facebook’s original fbFund, which was backed by Accel Partners and Founders Fund and run by super-angel Dave McClure.
Facebook’s marquee acquisition was announced in April, but because of the $1-billion price tag, the deal took time to clear regulatory hurdles. With more than half the offer in shares of Facebook stock, the deal ended up being worth closer $715 million when it closed in September. The mobile photo sharing network continues to operate under the Instagram brand, but its 16 employees joined the team in Menlo Park, Calif., and Facebook now supports the app with infrastructure and engineers, among other business needs.