ShareThis Acquires Socialize To Close The Revenue Loop Around Mobile And Social

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kurt-abrahamsonSocial data analytics provider ShareThis has raised a $23 million third round and has wasted no time spending a chunk of that cash by purchasing Socialize.

Socialize creates tools for app developers who want additional social functions attached to their works. The point of the deal, details of which were undisclosed, is to give ShareThis a "unified platform" that incorporates desktop, mobile web browser and in-app experiences. Read the release.

"We’ve seen mobile sharing traffic double over the past year so there’s a massive opportunity to combine our deep knowledge of social audiences and the most engaging content to create truly compelling mobile ad executions," said ShareThis CEO Kurt Abrahamson, in a statement. "The acquisition of Socialize and our new round of funding will accelerate our efforts to deliver an enhanced digital advertising solution for brands, content optimization offerings for publishers and of course, the choice and flexibility consumers want in sharing content that moves them."

A former Google AdSense exec, Abrahamson was installed as CEO in July 2011. He was previously head of SocialMedia.com, before it was sold to e-commerce player LivingSocial. Since that time, mobile and social consumer usage have continued to surge, but advertisers' ability to make sense of both fields has lagged.

The entrance of companies like Salesforce, which bought social marketing on-ramp Buddy Media, and Oracle, which acquired Vitrue, prove there is a demand for enterprise solutions in the social arena. And a company that can tie in mobile to that right now will have a head start, even if revenues in the space are still a mere fraction of the wider online world. (In 2012, mobile ad revenues had an estimated 2.4% share of total ad spending, but are expected to rise to 11% by 2016, eMarketer forecasted late last year.)

Any successful attempt to bridge mobile, social and advertising will necessarily be achieved with assistance from consumer data, and ShareThis's pledge to measure engagement is an attractive-sounding proposition. The company's “SQI” -- Social Quality Index -- rates the volume of social sharing and clicks across all of ShareThis's publishers. The tool is intended as a guide for the buy side in bidding on inventory where users are more engaged by how much clicking and mousing over is done. It is also being sold to publishers as to help them better set pricing floors for sharable content.

The purchase of Socialize could help bolster ShareThis's marketing message to both the buy side and sell side fairly evenly.

Socialize claims its functions have been integrated into "hundreds of iOS and Android apps," which have been installed on more than 67 million devices. ShareThis' SQI will be incorporated directly into Socialize's social tools for mobile app developers. For example, publishers will be able to use ShareThis to get specific sharing analytics on desktop and mobile in a single dashboard.

“Mobile app users typically have no idea who the other users of the same app are," said Daniel Odio, Socialize's chief. "It's like everyone's in the same room...with the lights off. We ‘turn the lights on’ by allowing users of the same app to socialize with each other and have vibrant conversations and engagement between users around shared interests. Together with ShareThis, we’ll enable app users to easily extend activity out to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ -- any social channel of their choice, in addition to socializing in-app regardless of friend status."

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