Buddy Media Embraces Google as CEO Shifts Focus Beyond Facebook

Buddy Media Inc., which makes social-networking management tools for businesses, is forging closer ties to Google Inc. (GOOG) as Facebook Inc. (FB) represents a smaller slice of its business.

Buddy Media introduced a partnership with Google’s YouTube yesterday that lets businesses customize their video pages. That builds on a set of services that already work with Google+, the social network owned by Google.

Helping clients work with Google+ is essential because the service ranks so high in Google’s Web searches, Buddy Media Chief Executive Officer Michael Lazerow said in an interview. Facebook, once the company’s sole focus, now makes up 30 percent to 40 percent of Buddy Media’s work as customers ask for tools for other social-media sites.

“We went from a very Facebook-focused business to a Web- wide focus,” Lazerow said yesterday at the company’s new headquarters in New York. “It’s not just about Facebook, it’s about all of these channels a company has to manage.”

In order to complete the YouTube deal, Buddy Media had to persuade Google to open its programming interface to modifications, Lazerow said. Now clients can offer a branded video player, link images and offer quizzes to their users, letting them vote for content they like the most.

The YouTube tools also can target ads based on geography -- a necessary feature for companies that operate globally in different languages, he said.

“The YouTube change was a huge shift in their thinking about monetization,” Lazerow said, declining to comment on financial terms of the deal.

Buddy Media has about 900 clients, Lazerow said. These include Ford Motor Co., Johnson & Johnson and Sony Corp., according to the company’s website.

The market for social-media tools will more than double to $970 million in 2016, from $389 million this year, according to Forrester Research Inc. (FORR) On Facebook, advertisements generated $3.15 billion in revenue last year, 85 percent of total sales, and many of the ads direct users to brand pages managed by companies such as Buddy Media.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Frier in New York at sfrier1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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