Unified Social Buys PageLever, Newsfeed Analytics Startup

calvin-liu-unifiedSince the majority of Facebook user attention is focused on the Newsfeed, brands are understandably obsessed with optimizing their content creation around Likes, Comments, and other user in-feed engagements that boost visibility and create fodder for paid media on the platform.

With the acquisition of Y-Combinator startup PageLever, Unified Social has captured one of the well-regarded platforms offering advanced newsfeed analytics. It has also nabbed a new Preferred Marketing Developer badge – Insights — making it a double-badge holder.

This is notable because while there are 26 Insight PMDs, and 52 Ads API badge holders, only nine companies carry both. That gives Unified a marketing advantage and may point to a future of consolidation across the Facebook PMD-scape as Facebook PMDs seek to capture the “leads” that filter through Facebook’s partner directory.

Unified specializes in social presence and paid media. It offers what it calls a “Social Operating System” for brands with data management, data security, portability, and enterprise-wide privileging for social marketing and CRM. Speaking with AdExchanger last year, CEO Sheldon Owen said, “Think of it as a very large data warehouse repository that allows you to store, capture, manage and index all your performance information into one platform.”

The combined company serves 300 customers. PageLever’s seven employees will join Unified’s offices in New York and San Francisco.

AdExchanger spoke with Calvin Lui, president and chief strategy officer at Unified Social, earlier today. Lui is the former CEO of dynamic creative firm Tumri.

How does this dovetail with Unified’s measurement capability? Where’s the overlap? Where is it additive? 

As we maneuver throughout the ecosystem, we think there are three core pillars of capabilities that every tech provider has to provide to yield social marketing success. First is deep and broad insights. Second is audience engagement. Third is social advertising capabilities across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, StumbleUpon, and other major social networks.

The core competency of Unified since it’s founding has been on the paid advertising side, and the measurement of earned media and social ROI.  PageLever provides deep and broad audience and Page analytics in real time. Plus they also have organic posting and content management capabilities. Unified can now offer to our customers an end-to-end solution that can do audience analytics, real time engagement, and broad social advertising capabilities.

How much is that Insights badge worth to you from a marketing standpoint?

We think it’s worth quite a bit. There are only four badges available, Ads, Insights, Pages, and Apps. We were one of 50 or 60 Ads badges holders.

But in the whole universe of PMDs, we’re one of only 20 companies that hold two badges.

From a marketing perspective and from an execution perspective, having both badges is more impactful. 

What was the process for vetting?

Our executive teams and our founders have known each other for years. We were very familiar with the PageLever founders, Jeff Widman and David Turner. We’ve admired their work … we’ve seen their market adoption.

We’re always engaged in the buy versus build versus partner discussion. In this case we happened to find an ideal [fit].

From your Tumri days, what are your observations about dynamic creative on Facebook and what’s the potential there?

I would say it’s nascent today compared to the things Tumri was able to do. Inside the Facebook ecosystem as of today you can’t use third party ad systems to serve the ads. That means you can’t do dynamic creative on the fly.

We do have a creative multiplier product suited to these early stages. We can segment…600 creative combinations for delivery to [Facebook’s addressable segments].

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