On June 23, Awesome Motive announced it had acquired Smash Balloon, a company that focuses on a family of social feed plugins for WordPress. John Brackett, the founder of Smash Balloon, is now a partner at Awesome Motive through the deal. His entire team will be staying on as part of the larger company.
Currently, Smash Balloon’s plugins are installed and active on around 1.3 million WordPress-powered sites. The team has thus far built social feed plugins for Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. Smash Balloon Social Photo Feed, its Instagram plugin, is by far the company’s most popular plugin with over a million active installations, a feat it surpassed in April.
Brackett launched Smash Balloon in 2013. Since then, the company has specialized in creating plugins that allow users to display social media content on their websites.
“With Awesome Motive’s vast resources and deep understanding of the WordPress industry, I know we’ll be able to bring even more powerful solutions to the Smash Balloon community,” said Brackett in the announcement on the Smash Balloon blog.
“I’m really excited and proud to now be a partner at Awesome Motive,” he said. “They have a really great group of partners there and I’m really humbled to now be a part of the team. I’ll be continuing in my role leading the Smash Balloon business unit.”
Brackett said the biggest factor in making the deal was the expertise and experience that Awesome Motive brought to the table in the WordPress plugin space. “They’ve built a proven model for plugin growth, which is evident from their large user base of 15 million websites,” he said. “Of course, there were other factors too, such as the AM growth playbooks, back office resources, various operational/marketing processes, etc., which make it easier for us to grow and scale as a business.”
Awesome Motive is the company behind WPBeginner, OptinMonster, WPForms, MonsterInsights, and more. It has a history of buying smaller businesses and growing them into larger, more successful endeavors. In February this year, the company acquired the All in One SEO Pack plugin.
“Adding social proof is crucial for business websites,” said Syed Balkhi, CEO of Awesome Motive. “In WPBeginner support, we see many readers asking for ways to display their social media content on their site, especially Instagram and Facebook. Displaying social media content on your site can not only help you grow your social followers, but it can also help you improve your sales conversions on your store.”
Balkhi said his team at WPBeginner has been recommending the Smash Balloon plugins all the way back to 2016. “When I was presented with the opportunity to join forces with John and the Smash Balloon team, it was a no brainer,” he said.
“Smash Balloon is the market leader when it comes to creating custom social media feeds in WordPress,” said Balkhi. “Over 1.3 million website owners use Smash Balloon plugins to display custom Instagram feeds, custom Facebook feeds, custom Twitter feeds, and custom YouTube feeds. The best part is that the plugins are always reliable, and they come with a very smart feed backup / caching which keeps your site loading fast even when the social API is down.”
What Does the Future Hold?
Awesome Motive is actively hiring developers, support staff, and writers. At least some of those hires will be working on Smash Balloon’s product line.
Balkhi doesn’t like to talk about team size, remaining humble as ever as the leader of his continually growing company. “What’s more important for us is to make sure that we adequately serve our growing customer base while continuing to add new features that they’re asking for,” he said.
He does have big plans for Smash Balloon’s products. “We’re of course going to update the existing plugins to add new features that users are asking for, and we will be adding seamless integrations with our other products such as MonsterInsights (analytics), RafflePress (contests & giveaways), SeedProd (landing pages), etc.,” he said.
A large part of the company’s plans is to continue making the process of creating custom social media feeds easier. The team will be doing this through more detailed tutorials and product education going forward.
However, there are no plans at stopping there. New projects are in the pipeline. “We’re also working on a brand new product that a lot of WPBeginner readers and Smash Balloon customers have been asking for,” he said. “I can’t share too much details, but it’s going to be awesome.”