Context Optional acquired for $50M

Faith Merino · May 4, 2011 · Short URL:

Performance marketing company Efficient Frontier nabbed Context Optional to broad social offerings


Props to the social marketing industry. On Wednesday, global performance marketing company Efficient Frontier announced that it has acquired social marketing company Context Optional. While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, Kara Swisher of All Things D reported that the price tag was $50 million.

The rising tide of social marketing hasn’t yet crested and Context Optional has been riding the wave. The company provides marketers with the tools to build and manage brand presences on social networking sites like Facebook, thereby casting their customer-acquisition nets in the spots with the most traffic.

Founded in 2002, this marks the first acquisition for Efficient Frontier, which manages over $1 billion in ad spend globally. The acquisition is part of Efficient Frontier’s digital marketing strategy, and the company expects the acquisition to significantly boost its social media offerings and create “the first unified solution for managing and optimizing Facebook fan acquisition through to fan retention and engagement,” according to the company’s blog post.

Efficient Frontier’s platform manages ads across search, display, and social media, while Context Optional’s social marketing products focuses on brand engagement across Facebook and Twitter for such major companies as MTV, Red Lobster, Kohls, Fandango, Expedia, Clinique, Toyota, and more.

"We believe that this acquisition will broaden Efficient Frontier’s offerings even further, expanding beyond our roots as a search engine marketing company," said CEO David Karnstedt in a statement. "While SEM remains core to our business, our scope goes far beyond that, and includes holistically managing and optimizing display and social media advertising on behalf of our clients."

Social marketing has been quite the little hot potato as of late, with a new social marketing funding story seeming to crop up every ten minutes. The space is getting increasingly crowded as big name competitors like Buddy Media continue to make headway in the race to the top. Clara Shih, founder and CEO of Hearsay Corporation, wrote a best-selling book on social marketing that explores all of the ins and outs of marketing, social media, and the consumers of today.

“This combination is recognition that social media is now indeed a powerful marketing channel in which brands are significantly investing. We're excited to be the first in the market with an integrated, enterprise solution to enable brands to effectively scale their investment in social,” said Context Optional CEO Kevin Bareblat in a statement. 

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