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Can Swaylo acquisition boost Facebook’s fortunes?

The can­ny social media man­ag­er with his fin­ger on the market’s pulse may be inter­est­ed to hear that Face­book Inc. is poised to buy Threadsy Inc., the start­up soft­ware provider behind the cel­e­brat­ed social ana­lyt­ics tool Sway­lo. The move paves the way for Face­book to offer bet­ter mem­ber data to adver­tis­ers and boost rev­enue.

An adver­tis­ing boost

Swaylo’s addic­tive appeal lies in its assign­ing a “social influ­ence” or “sway” score to social media users, reflect­ing how many con­sumers respond­ed to their posts and spread­ing them around the net­work to friends and con­tacts. The savvi­er the con­tent man­ag­er, the bet­ter the score. Unlike its social media mon­i­tor­ing cousin Klout, Sway­lo is Face­book-spe­cif­ic, mea­sur­ing influ­ence with­in the net­work.

Threadsy is report­ed to have raised $6.3 mil­lion in fund­ing, but all lips appear tight­ly sealed about how much Face­book is pay­ing for the Sway­lo acqui­si­tion. Rob Gold­man, founder and CEO of Threadsy, refrained from talk­ing fig­ures and would only offer a plau­dit to the social net­work giant, “We built Sway­lo because we believe Face­book and oth­er social media ser­vices are the dig­i­tal rep­re­sen­ta­tion of our lives. There is no bet­ter oppor­tu­ni­ty to take Sway­lo’s vision to the next lev­el than at Face­book.”

Limp­ing or sprint­ing toward mobile?

The move comes at a time when Face­book is mak­ing stren­u­ous efforts to prove its val­ue to investors by devel­op­ing a robust mobile plat­form. Giv­en that over half of its 955 mil­lion users reach the net­work through mobile gad­gets, this is prov­ing cru­cial to its future. It’s an acknowl­edged weak spot for the firm which may have con­tributed sig­nif­i­cant­ly to the net $157 mil­lion loss it sus­tained in the sec­ond quar­ter of 2012. Dur­ing the same quar­ter of 2011, Facebook’s cof­fers were bulging, with prof­its total­ing $240 mil­lion.

Facebook’s val­ue has plunged to $40 bil­lion, less than half the mar­ket price tag it com­mand­ed in May when it went pub­lic.

Sway­lo could well boost adver­tis­ing rev­enue sig­nif­i­cant­ly for Face­book, but the jury on its future remains out: ana­lysts believe that the per­for­mance of its stock hinges on show­ing investors it can attract adver­tis­ing for mobiles. And with more and more of its users fol­low­ing the Great Mobile Rev­o­lu­tion, a PC-focused social net­work is in dan­ger of going the way of the prover­bial Dodo unless it recov­ers its capac­i­ty for cut­ting-edge inno­va­tion.

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