Gannett Plans This Social Media Splash

Gannett Co. (NYSE:GCI), the owner of USA Today and several digital media properties, will buy Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) advertising software and service company BLiNQ Media for $92 million, according to TechCrunch. BLiNQ is a Preferred Facebook Marketing Developer certified in the ads and insights categories. Gannett and BLiNQ have already been working together on ad campaigns for clients over the past year.

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BLiNQ was founded in 2008 by David Nicol Williams, who previously also founded search marketing firm 360i. The company has about 50 employees and has raised $3 million in investment. Recently, BLiNQ has begun expanding into marketing efforts on LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) and Twitter, as well as on Facebook’s mobile advertising efforts.

Gannett already owns media ad company PointRoll and digital agency GannettLocal, but is potentially preparing for increasing competition in the social media sphere. Last year, The Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) started its own agency, SocialCode, which has access to the Facebook Ads API. In the second quarter, Gannett’s digital revenues were up by 29.3 percent even as overall revenues fell 2 percent.

The full amount in the agreement will reportedly be provided to BLiNQ over a period of three to four years, with $23 million being delivered up-front.

The social media marketing industry has seen tremendous mergers and acquisitions activity over the past few months, including Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) buying Wildfire Interactive and salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) acquiring Buddy Media.

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