Mobile is social, social is mobile.
Working from this premise, video ad server Mixpo began a strategy review several months ago with the intention to build out its social capability. That process concluded Tuesday when the company closed on the acquisition of ShopIgniter, a social rich media specialist with 15 to 20 employees that is a member of Facebook's Preferred Marketing Developer partner program. Read Mixpo's blog post.
The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, brings together two companies based in the Pacific Northwest. (Mixpo is Seattle-based, ShopIgniter is in Portland, Ore.) The combined company's headcount is about 100.
"If you don't have a best-in-class social solution, you can't claim to have a best-in-class mobile solution. Facebook and Twitter are increasingly dominant in mobile" so Mixpo had to go there, said Jeff Lanctot, CEO at Mixpo.
Lanctot, who was previously chief global media officer at Razorfish, took the reins at Mixpo about one year ago, and also sits on the advisory board at ShopIgniter. However, he said he has stepped back from ShopIgniter since joining Mixpo, citing competitive concerns. He said his overture to ShopIgniter CEO Matt Compton in early summer came just as the latter company had begun to explore a sale.
ShopIgniter produces performance-based social campaigns on behalf of approximately 20 active customers, including Comcast, Target, Ford and Publicis Groupe-owned agency Digitas. Examples of its work can be seen here (Comcast Xfinity) and here (Sony POPmarket). In addition to its role in Facebook's partner ecosystem, the company is also active on Twitter.
Mixpo may also be feeling some pressure to diversify beyond its core "multiscreen" video ad-server positioning in an era when some of the largest pools of video ad inventory lie within walled gardens owned by large consumer platforms. Facebook's acquisition of video sell-side platform LiveRail, Amazon's deal to buy Twitch and YouTube's continued ascendancy from an audience and advertising standpoint all point to this trend.
Asked about Facebook's video platform ambitions in particular, Lanctot said, "I wouldn't say the LiveRail acquisition changes our road map at all. It certainly indicates the importance of video to Facebook and we see that as a good thing. LiveRail for Facebook is as much about inventory expansion outside of Facebook proper as anything else."