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Google Snaps Up Channel Intelligence for $125M

By Pedro Hernandez     Feedback

Search giant Google turns its attention to e-commerce and product marketing with its acquisition of Channel Intelligence.

Google is acquiring online and social marketing and e-commerce specialist Channel Intelligence for $125 million, the latter's parent company ICG Group announced today. The companies expect to finalize the deal during the current quarter.

Channel Intelligence provides Internet and social marketing services under the CI Boost umbrella to help help stores generate online sales and track the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

Its platform delivers the popular Where-To-Buy widget that points online shoppers to destinations that carry a brand's wares. Familiar to consumers who use the Internet to research products, it typically displays a handful of online stores, like Best Buy and Staples, along with the product's price and whether the item is in stock. Perhaps more important, Where-to-Buy also offers reporting to help marketers measure response rates and ROI.

The CI Boost for Retailers services slate includes Product Listing Ads management for the Google Shopping platform, shopping search engine marketing services and Where-to-Buy referral enrollment. The company's CI Boost Engine platform is comprised of the TrueTag tag management and Product Unification feed optimization platforms.

TrueTag is a sales and event transaction data gathering platform anchored by a containerized JavaScript tracking pixel that helps online shops track and measure the effectiveness of their sales and marketing efforts. Product Unification organizes and tidies up product categories and listings.

According to Channel Intelligence, its technology "tracks nearly 15 percent of U.S. transactions online and drives $2B in sales annually in referred sales online in computing, home improvement, appliances, consumer electronics, toys and a variety of other consumer packaged goods." Big-name customers include Target, HP, Best Buy and Kimberly-Clark.

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In a company blog post, Josh Lane, vice president of marketing for Channel Intelligence, noted that the companies already share strong ties. "For over 10 years, we have focused on making it easy for consumers to find and buy products online and help our clients grow their business. We've worked with Google for years, and look forward to the great things we will be able to do together," wrote Lane.

CI Boost will help Google strengthen its e-commerce platform, for both consumers and online retailers.

A Google spokesperson told Enterprise Apps Today via email, "We want to help consumers save time and money by improving the online shopping experience. We think Channel Intelligence will help create a better shopping experience for users and help merchants increase sales across the Web."

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

This article was originally published on February 6, 2013
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