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Social marketing software is a crowded space.
With almost 9 million users HootSuite stands out from the crowd.
HootSuite made a major move earlier this year when they acquired social media insights company, uberVU.
Their acquisition echoes the trend of social marketing software toward one-stop-shop solutions.
Describing HootSuite as pervasive is no understatement. The is largely due to their freemium model (95% of their customers use the free version) and their age (founded in 2008) as one of the oldest publishing and monitoring software options in the social media industry.
UberVU (a Social Fresh Conference partner in 2013) is a much smaller company, by employees and userbase, when compared to HootSuite. They are also more niche, focused on strong social media listening and analytics as their main feature standout. They tout their ability to automatically surface useful insights from data without the user having to work too hard.
While HootSuite is working on becoming a panacea social relationship platform for all businesses, uberVU is an intelligent social media software tool built for big business.
Where they meet in the middle will help both of their customer bases and create a new major player in social media software.
HootSuite raised $165 million last year to expand their feature set. This seems like a very bold first step in that direction.
Combined, the two companies will employee 467 people (HootSuite 417, uberVU 50) likely representing the largest social media marketing company to date.
What Is In It For HootSuite?
Just how pervasive is HootSuite? When we asked social marketers last year what social media software they use the most each day, we were blown away with how many listed Hoosuite.
Not only was it the top answer, but it dwarfed all other responses with 36% answering HootSuite.
The next 5 most popular answers combined (Tweetdeck, Sprout Social, WordPress, Google Analytics, and Buffer) accounted for 23% of answers.
Even though many of those HootSuite users are not paying customers, that type of awareness allows them to move into the enterprise arena much more easily.
As HootSuite tries to scale their revenue to match their userbase, they will make the most progress when they are able to convert existing free version enterprise users into one of their paid tiers.
UberVU helps HootSuite in two significant ways.
First, uberVU is a serious enterprise product built for big business. Their analytics solution is one of the best out there. Their platform is built for the social media professional and has several feature sets that will impress the enterprise users already dabbling in HootSuite.
“UberVU helps us with a big step up in terms of analytic capabilities. We can drive more actionable business insights to our users. Social and business insights are the next important evolution,” said Matt Switzer, HootSuite VP Partners and Corporate Development.
Second, uberVU has been very successful at attracting a large stable of 200 enterprise clients of their own. According to HootSuite, they currently have 744 of the Fortune 1000 as paying enterprise customers. The combined client roster, while there will no doubt be overlap, puts up impressive numbers.
What Is In It For uberVU?
“We are really excited about the increased focus on top flight analytics and insights within social media data,” said Ben Cockerell, Director of Marketing at uberVU.
UberVU has been on track to become a major player in the social media software space, but in an industry where mergers and acquisitions have been fast and furious a partnership allows them to make that leap much sooner.
The uberVU customer base is an attractive one. But now, when combined with HootSuite’s massive user base, uberVU has more opportunities to make an impact on the industry.
- Broad Range of Users: HootSuite’s userbase will give the smart folks over at uberVU a new playground to test in. They will have access to many more types of social media software users, and a larger scale of feedback from which to improve both products.
- Larger Sales Staff: uberVU has been very successful in acquiring big brand customers but should have the resources now to do even more. They currently have 4 sales employees, whereas HootSuite has approximately 100 sales employees, or 25 times as many.
- Robust Publishing Platform: The uberVU software solution will be able to learn from the publishing expertise at HootSuite to extend and improve their own publishing features.
“For uberVU this is the perfect marriage and opportunity. We get to tie together two best in class solutions. The best publishing and engagement platform and the best real-time data/insights. Both of which will now only be strengthened,” said Cockerell.
What Is In It For The Users?
Both parties have said that uberVU customers will continue to get the product they love, no matter what the HootSuite integrations look like. And uberVU also plans to continue to improve their stand alone feature set for existing customers.
The larger impact will see HootSuite users getting real-time insights and analytics. To what extent each tier of users, free and paid, will get what features, HootSuite is not saying yet. But they did say, specifically, that their free users will see added features from the uberVU platform.
With this type of acquisition, it would be very easy for HootSuite to keep the uberVU feature set for their top tier customers only. The fact that they are committed to continually improving all levels of their product should be a good sign for all involved.
“We intend on having robust analytics for all our users,” said Switzer. “Sooner rather than later.”
UberVU customers should see greater resources and scale put into the platforms publishing solutions. And in the medium to long run, they might see HootSuite become a full social media software solution with the publishing power of HootSuite and the insights they have learned to love form uberVU.
UberVU has already launched a HootSuite app integration earlier this week, less than one month after the acquisition.
An Enterprise Solution?
For enterprise level social media software customers, a small group of solutions is now vying to be their one stop shop.
Oracle, Adobe, and Salesforce currently lead the way. The recent Sprinklr and Dachis Group merger might create another player in that same circle. And as HootSuite grows, and integrates this very significant acquisition, they too will be vying for a place in that conversation.