Today, Nielsen (formerly VNU) announced that it would be acquiring BuzzMetrics - the social media monitoring company which it currently partially owns via the acquisition of Trendum and subsequent mergers with BuzzMetrics and Intelliseek.
Recent activity in the social media and web monitoring space precedes this move: the acquisition of Cymfony by TNS in February and the acquisition of Hitwise by Experian. Last year, Forrester's Peter Kim suggested that BuzzMetrics would exit via an IPO - in response to the Cymfony deal he changed his position.
So what does this mean for BuzzMetrics? If Nielsen's intention is to continue to acquire companies holding the Nielsen brand, then there is a huge opportunity for synergy between the measurement of different media and consumer behaviours. While this opportunity is considerable, the challenges of integration will be more so. Technology integration is difficult, but integration of methodology can be a real killer - particularly when methodology is still being formed around an emerging, or young market.
Furthermore, the enterprise facing social media analytics space is one which requires rapid innovation and solution deployment. BuzzMetrics will have to figure out how to (continue to) innovate while it grows into a larger institution, something which smaller competitors such as BuzzLogic don't have to worry about.
Finally, like any activity of this sort, it further validates the space and, in this instance, indicates that the new leadership at Nielsen is serious about shaking up the consumer measurements market.
[Disclosure: I was the VP of Science and Innovation at BuzzMetrics before moving to Microsoft in March of this year.]