Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A New Kid on the Block - Viralheat: An Analytics First Approach to Social Media Monitoring

Executive Interview Series by Vinay Bhagat, CEO

Viralheat is a new entrant in enterprise social media management. Launched as a self-serve freemium offering in 2012 by technologists trying to predict which YouTube videos were going to go viral, it now has its sights firmly set on the enterprise.

I spoke to Jeff Revoy, who joined as CEO in 2013, to learn more about Viralheat’s vision and strategy. This article follows interviews with executives at Sprinklr, Spredfast, Hootsuite and Oracle about the battle for the enterprise within social media management. In full disclosure, venture capital firm Mayfield, who is also an investor in TrustRadius, funds Viralheat.

Analytics Powered Social Media Monitoring

At its essence, Viralheat is a social media monitoring platform and has focused on analytics as its core competency. “We monitor across the entire social web including platforms, blogs, and visual networks,” Jeff says. “Our core is analytics, but you also need to be able to engage so we've added publishing capabilities as we feel that it’s important to have one end-to-end workflow.”

Historically, social monitoring has focused on brand monitoring, sentiment analysis, competitive research, and crisis management. Jeff reports an evolution in this process as social now penetrates other departments in the enterprise stating that Viralheat’s “analytics and engagement capabilities significantly help in areas like customer support, sales, and HR.”

For sales, Viralheat uses social data to predict the likelihood of a consumer to make a purchase. Customer service identifies and flags support queries that come through social channels for follow-up. HR’s use case involves monitoring sites like Glassdoor or Indeed for negative comments about a company and subsequently activating employees to respond.

While social monitoring use cases have spread across functions, the marketing team, as primary users, remains the hub of social media management. Viralheat supports functional use cases through integration with other systems. Jeff shared, “Our core capability is to pull data in and analyze. We are very API based and focus on integrations with other systems that complement the workflow.” For customer support, Viralheat integrates with  Zendesk and Desk.com. For sales, they have built integrations with Salesforce.com and Sugar CRM.

To date, Viralheat has not built specific use-case specific features. “The horizontal solution we provide is sophisticated enough for the use cases we support today, “Jeff says. “However, we do plan to develop more specific capabilities for verticals like retail or e-commerce”.

Customer Adoption

In its first two years, Viralheat provided a freemium self-service product which attracted 25k small business clients. While they have since shifted focus to the enterprise, Jeff believes that initially creating a self-service product helped Viralheat focus on the tool’s ease of use.

Since introducing an enterprise product in Q4 2013, Viralheat has shifted its product development to strengthen this offering. “Our entire go to market focus now is on the enterprise, who represents the bulk of our revenue,” Jeff says. “It’s difficult for companies to straddle SMB and enterprise – both perception wise and in terms of product development. We are very focused on delivering a great product for the mid-market and enterprise.”

They have had some success penetrating certain verticals in the market. Jeff says, “the entertainment industry is a strength. We recently announced a large deal with Variety who is using our sentiment and analytics capabilities. Our retail clients include Ann Taylor and Michael Kors. Given our Silicon Valley location, we also serve technology and telecom companies like Deutsche Telekom HBS and SolarWinds.”

Viralheat does not measure enterprise adoption in terms of seats across departments, but rather in terms of use cases supported. “Ann Taylor is a heavy user but has a small, centralized team. We work with another global brand that has standardized Viralheat across 19 business units.”

When Viralheat is adopted across an enterprise, users sometimes work in a distributed model where the enterprise is standardized on the technology but the local entities are autonomous. In other cases, customers use Viralheat technology with a more centralized model but use features like workflow, teams, and organizations.


Viralheat primarily competes against listening solutions like Sysomos, Radian6 and Brandwatch. It competes to a lesser extent against enterprise engagement platforms like Spredfast, Sprinklr and Hootsuite Enterprise.

When asked why someone picks Viralheat over other listening solutions Jeff answered,“We are a second generation solution and our analytics are actionable. We don’t rely on 3rd parties for analytics because we pull our own data directly from the networks. We are a platform based on machine learning and have strong integration which enables data to be taken into the enterprise.”

When asked to expand upon their analytics capabilities Jeff offered, “There has been a proliferation of what you can monitor, and  we have the ability to process enormous volumes of data – including billions of social mentions per week. Within that volume of data, there is a high noise to relevance ratio. We have a unique ability to pull out the relevant insights and actionable data from that noise.”

When asked about the positioning of large enterprise software companies who pitch their enterprise-wide marketing suites, Jeff reacted, “I agree that social is a key part of the overall marketing mix, however it doesn’t mean you have to buy it all from one vendor.  Salesforce,for example, has not been able to create a true seamless experience even after acquiring Radian6 and BuddyMedia”.

Where They Are Headed

Viralheat plans to continue its focus on analytics. “The volume of data is only going to go up, hence the increased importance and benefit of our ability to process it all and turn it into actionable insights,” Jeff says. Viralheat also plans to work on delivering vertical and use case specific insights.
One method to drive more actionable insights is through deeper collaboration with partner systems.

One of the upcoming integrations Jeff discussed was an integration with marketing automation system Marketo. Jeff shared, “In Marketo, you get a lead score based on visiting a company’s website, and we believe social is an extension of that. Through the use of our proprietary link shortener and analytics, we can also factor social activity into an individual’s lead score if that individual also engages with content on Twitter, Facebook, etc. This increased score may factor into how you engage with the individual.”

Another area of investment is predictive social analytics, i.e. being able to identify purchase intent via social. Jeff expands, “With search, there’s clear intent. With social, there is not. However, it is a forum where people talk openly about themselves, and it’s possible to mine that data for potential buyers engage them. Our goal is to surface predictive insights and pull that data into a CRM so you can move them into different nurture campaign.”

What Customers Think

Viralheat has 18 reviews on TrustRadius, 11 from small/medium businesses (1-50 employees), 3 from mid-market companies (51-500 employees), and 4 from enterprises (500+ employees). The majority of their small clients are legacy self-service clients who have been grandfathered into the new enterprise plan. They are rated very positively with an average likelihood to recommend score of 9.2/10.

Clients report that its strengths are its monitoring, reporting, ease of use and customer support. They also really like its Stream feature: Instead of monitoring many columns of one keyword, we can see all the conversations in one stream. We can even customize the stream to show positive or negative sentiment for particular keywords which really helps when we are doing competitive research.” 

Those who use it for sales also like its lead identification feature: Viralheat uses their lead ID technology to surface users on social media that are potential leads based on what they say on social. The ability to pinpoint users who are already warm and pre- or self-qualified is a major bonus.” 

When discussing areas for improvement, customers would like to see more customization in reporting: “I’d like to be able to customize the analytics and reports a little more. All the information is there, but it would be nice to pick and choose the data we see in one particular dashboard or report.

Another request is more CRM integrations: It would be great for Viralheat to integrate with more companies outside of SFDC and Sugar CRM.”

Stay tuned for a report with a deeper dive into features and customer sentiment on TrustRadius.

Selecting The Right Digital Analytics Software [INFOGRAPHIC]

Last week we revealed the Best Digital Analytics Software for small businesses, mid-size companies and enterprises based on 230 in-depth reviews and user ratings.

To help you identify which digital analytics products should be on your shopping list, we've created a visual that compares the top rated products by market segment in one easy-to-consume infographic.

Each TrustMap™ depicts digital analytics tools on two dimensions – likelihood to recommend ratings by users and the estimated relative number of websites using the product within that company segment size.

As you review the rankings of the vendors in your specific market, please remember that the most important is to pick the best software for your use case. There are Strong Performers that might be a better choice for you.

The right answer might also be a combination of tools, as we've found out in our recent Conversion Rate Optimization survey: 91% of respondents from companies of all sizes use 2 or more Digital Analytics tools.

Make sure to check the accompanying Buyer's Guide to Digital Analytics Software which provides a distillation of the strengths and areas for improvement of each product as well as the 9 key differentiating factors and capabilities to consider as part of your evaluation process.

Top Rated Digital Analytics Software infographic
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

TrustRadius Reveals Top Rated Digital Analytics Products for Small Businesses, Mid-size Companies and Enterprises

Austin Texas, September 3rd, 2014 - TrustRadius, the leading community for professionals to share candid insights about business software, today announced the release of its TrustMaps™ for Digital Analytics software, which rank products based on user ratings and adoption within each market segment - small businesses, mid-size companies and enterprises.

Unveiled in its first Buyer’s Guide to Digital Analytics Software, the TrustMaps™ quickly help software buyers locate the solutions most highly rated and adopted by their direct peer group and therefore most closely aligned to their needs.

Each TrustMap™ depicts Digital Analytics products on two dimensions – likelihood to recommend ratings by users and the estimated relative number of websites using the product within that company segment size. All ratings come from authenticated reviews by end-users of the software on TrustRadius.com.

The Buyer’s Guide also distills the pros and cons of each software product, as cited by software users in 230 in-depth reviews.

Because success is not solely contingent on software selection, the guide includes a discussion of key factors for Digital Analytics success, drawn from interviews with highly regarded digital analytics experts.

“While traditional technology analysts cover digital analytics, we felt there was room to provide a fresh perspective on the market based on insights from users and leading industry experts” said Vinay Bhagat, CEO of TrustRadius. “Our Digital Analytics TrustMaps™ provide digital marketers with a pragmatic approach to identify the best fit solutions based on market segment user satisfaction and adoption. Aside from presenting a unique segment based view, our conclusions differ from other analyst reports.”

Tim Ash, CEO of SiteTuners, one of the first online marketing agencies to focus on conversion rate optimization, agrees: "Unlike a lot of analyst research that is there just to check off the due-diligence box during tool selection, this guide offers the right mix of product detail and insights from end-users, as well as leading industry practitioners." 

Stephane Hamel, Director of Innovation at Cardinal Path, a leading digital marketing agency, adds: "The TrustRadius Buyer’s Guide is much more than your typical ‘buyer’s guide’. It is literally a study of the current state of the digital analytics market. At last, here’s a real independent study truly representing the wide range of needs and various opinions from users like you and experts you trust."

Click on the image to see a larger view

Based on user ratings and market segment adoption, the Leaders within the Enterprise segment are:
The free version of Google Analytics is sometimes used as a second analytics tool to augment a paid one, especially in enterprises and mid-size companies.

Strong Performers in the Enterprise segment are AT Internet, comScore Digital Analytix and Piwik, a free and open-source tool, which also offers a Pro edition.

                                              Click on the image to see a larger view

In the Mid-Size segment, the Leaders are: 
Strong Performers with high user satisfaction but lower mid-size segment adoption are GoSquaredAT Internet, and KISSmetrics.

                                              Click on the image to see a larger view

In the Small Business segment the Leaders are: 
All the Digital Analytics leaders in the Small Business segment either totally free or offer a widely adopted free version, as small businesses tend to use free or low cost tools, which are often easy to implement and use.

Strong Performers in the Small Business segment with high user satisfaction but lower small business segment adoption are GoSquared and Woopra.

The Free Buyer’s Guide to Digital Analytics Software is available here: www.trustradius.com/guides/da

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Survey Reveals Businesses Expect to Spend More on Conversion Rate Optimization Software Next Year

Austin Texas, August 20th, 2014 – TrustRadius, the leading community for professionals to share candid insights about business software through in-depth user reviews, today announced the results of its 2014 Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) survey (*). The results underscore the rapid adoption of Digital Analytics and A/B testing software among business of all sizes.

TrustRadius also announced the availability of its first Buyer’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization Software (which can be downloaded for free here) designed to help digital marketers navigate and support a conversion rate optimization program to increase online revenue without spending more on traffic acquisition. 

The 2014 Conversion Rate Optimization Survey asked respondents about their CRO practice maturity, software usage and spend. Key findings include:

A Majority of Companies Have Moved Beyond the Infancy Stage
  • 72 percent of companies have some CRO processes in place
  • 18 percent consider CRO part of their DNA
Digital Marketers Rely On Multiple Tools for CRO
  • 91 percent of respondents use two or more tools for digital analytics
  • 43 percent of respondents use two or more tools for A/B testing
  • This pattern is consistent across company sizes. Companies with more mature CRO processes tend to use more tools
Most Spend More Than $10,000 On Digital Analytics Software
  • 58 percent of companies surveyed spend more than $10,000 on digital analytics tools per year with 27 percent spending between $50,000 and $500,000, and 6 percent over $500,000
  • The survey also found that 44 percent of the companies surveyed spend more than $10,000 annually for A/B Testing software with 19 percent spending more than $50,000

Most Plan to Spend More on CRO Software in the Coming Year
  • 59 percent plan to spend more on digital analytic tools this coming year; 67% of large enterprises will spend more
  • 48 percent plan to spend more on A/B testing tools this coming year; 60% of large enterprises will spend more

Full survey results can be found here:

“Conversion Rate Optimization is becoming more and more important as companies look for ways to improve their website’s effectiveness,” said Vinay Bhagat, CEO of TrustRadius. “Low-cost, easy-to-use tools have propelled a broader spectrum of companies to analyze website traffic and experiment with website changes. It’s therefore no surprise that companies of all sizes are increasingly investing in CRO software and skillsets.”

Introducing Buyers Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization Series

Because conversion rate optimization encompasses many different use cases and products, TrustRadius is releasing three distinct guides.

A Buyer’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization software, released today, provides a detailed overview of the process, workflow, and technologies that support a conversion optimization program. The guide also covers what to look for when selecting the right conversion optimization software, including suite versus best-of-breed, and functionality versus usability, based on interviews with leading CRO experts.

The CRO guide will be followed by two in-depth buyer’s guides, one on digital analytics software and a second on A/B testing tools, will be published later this quarter. Based upon a distillation of 400 ratings and in-depth user reviews of conversion rate optimization software on TrustRadius, the guides will present the leading products by market segment - small businesses, mid-size companies and enterprises. They will profile each vendor and discuss pros and cons for each product as well as includes a discussion on key success factors. 

The free Buyer’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization Software is available here 

(*) 2014 Conversion Rate Optimization survey ran between July 28th and Aug 8th. Over 2,300 TrustRadius members and 1,800 site visitors were asked to participate. Survey responses from consultants were excluded from the final analysis. Key findings are based on 97 responses from end-users of CRO software.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

How Social Is Oracle After 3 Acquisitions? The Battle for Enterprise Social Media Management Software Part 4

Executive Interview Series By Vinay Bhagat, CEO TrustRadius

In 2012 Oracle made a huge bet on Social Media Management Software making three acquisitions in rapid succession. In May they acquired Vitrue, a Social Marketing solution for $300 million; in June, social intelligence platform Collective Intellect; and in July social media development platform, Involver.

We wanted to understand how those acquisitions have turned out, and how Oracle was approaching social. As part of our Social Media Management vendor executive interview series, I interviewed Meg Bear, Group Vice President of Social Cloud at Oracle. This article follows interviews with executives at Sprinklr, Spredfast, and Hootsuite about the battle for the enterprise within social media management.

Oracle’s Social Media Management Offering Today

Oracle’s Social Media Management offering is called Social Relationship Management (SRM) and there are two primary components which can be purchased together or stand-alone:

1) Social Engagement & Monitoring (SE&M); derived from Collective Intellect and Involver.
2) Social Marketing (SM) - derived from Vitrue.

Per Meg, “The majority of our new customers are purchasing the SRM platform and many of our longtime SM customers have recently upgraded to the full SRM.” 

Often times, when small, innovative software companies are acquired by large ones, innovation takes a long pause to focus on integration. In one of the Involver reviews on TrustRadius, this sentiment was echoed: Involver got left behind after being bought by Oracle, and in a space as fast moving as social media, it is unacceptable to fall behind”.

Meg responded, “The products have evolved greatly in terms of innovation and capabilities since the acquisitions”. Much work has been done around integration, but the core platform appears to have seen a lot of functional innovation. Key areas include:

1) Internationalization - UI in 31 Languages; Advanced Semantic Listening to 18 languages; expanded Localized Data Sources (Reclameaqui, Baidu, Weibo, Vostu, etc);
2) Market leading Term Analysis, Topic Management, and Custom Indicator capabilities;
3) Influencer Identification;
4) Enhanced Workflow;
5) Social Shop Integration w/ Commerce Cloud;
6) Social Service integration with Service Cloud; 
7) Custom Audiences (Marketing and Sales Cloud);
8) Paid Media Partnerships (API based);
9) Dynamic Link Tracking (Marketing Cloud);
10) Smart CAPP (Publish enhancement);
11) SRM Mobile App; 
12) Social Intelligence Center capabilities. 
13) Expanding platforms; added LinkedIn support; others coming

Fig. 1 - Oracle Social Timeline of Acquisitions, Integration & Innovation

Additionally, acquired products often lack true unification and existing customers can be left using older versions. Meg stated, “SRM is a fully integrated platform with single sign-on and a unified user interface. It is truly one integrated product with a common code and integrated workflow with a shared development team and roadmap.” She went on to state that existing customers of the acquired products had been migrated to the new platform.

Fig. 2 - New Unified Oracle SRM UI

Response to Reviews on TrustRadius

The current reviews on TrustRadius are about the acquired, stand-alone products, and not the SRM suite as it is today. Nevertheless, we felt it was relevant to get Meg’s response to a few points that were raised by users:

About Collective Intellect (Social Monitoring)

Meg’s response. “Our listening and analysis capabilities are among the strongest in the industry. Sentiment analysis has recently been improved upon. We have ongoing enhancements scheduled on our roadmap, including expanding analysis in global languages. We currently offer sentiment analysis in 6 languages—English, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, German and French. That said, we do recognize that sentiment alone is never going to be perfect and it is for that reason we have market-leading capability to not only understand sentiment but also the automatic association of indicators so that we can understand meaning from the message not just sentiment. Some examples of the kinds of indicators we provide out of the box are things like intent to purchase, intent to switch, customer service, etc. Additionally, our Semantic API gives our customers the capability to take their unstructured data – like call center transcripts, community reviews, etc. – and run it through our listen and analyze engine to extract insights and sentiment.”  

Meg’s response: “Listen & Analyze provides a comprehensive feed of social media and news data from over 40 million sites worldwide with new sites being added daily. These include Social Networks, Blogs, Video Sharing sites, Forums, News, and Review sites. Our data providers are constantly updating their sources so there is no static list..”

Meg’s response: “We know that data is the lifeblood for our customers and as such data accuracy, timing and integrity are high priority items for us. I would put our data capabilities up against any of our competitors and believe we’d out shine them every time.”

Meg’s response: “Integration has been a driving theme along our innovation story. We have pre-built integrations with all our Oracle CX portfolio products, but we also have open integration capabilities for web analytics tracking, paid media APIs, and are releasing additional APIs for additional extensibility in the next couple quarters.”

About Vitrue (Social Marketing)

Meg’s response: “Today, SRM/SM has an intuitive interface with dynamic drag-and-drop capabilities with the ability to easily customize and stylize without CSS knowledge.” 

Meg’s response: “As part of Oracle we have expanded our hardware capacity and have dramatically improved performance.” 

Meg’s response: “We’ve made major enhancements and today experience a paucity of scheduling issues. Our scheduling tool is now a user favorite. Our bulk uploading enhancement occurs this quarter.” 

Meg’s response: “Major enhancements have been made. We have dramatically expanded our moderation and automation capabilities and added new guided workflows to help customers scale these functions.”

Meg’s response: “Today we have comprehensive workflow capabilities.” 


Oracle does not share customer counts, but did share mix, “Currently, approximately 35% [of customers] are SM; 35% SE&M and 25% the full SRM suite. However, we are seeing a strong trend of SM customers upgrading to the full SRM platform”. Oracle’s typical SRM customer is enterprise, i.e. a large multi-national corporations with $1b+ revenue, but they do also have mid-market clients (typically $100m-999m revenue).

The marketing function has been their primary customer, but they are selling to other lines of business including customer service, commerce and sales. Historically they have seen much more adoption among B2C companies as brands were first to social, but are now seeing an increase in B2B companies. They have catalyzed this demand through furthering their integration with the rest of the Oracle Marketing Cloud and by adding LinkedIn support.

Comprehensive Integrated Suite as Differentiation

Oracle sees its primary key competitors in the social space as Salesforce and Adobe and emphasizes the integration of Social with the rest of its broad customer experience software portfolio as its key competitive advantage. Integration has been a primary area of investment. SRM is now a core component of the Oracle Marketing Cloud. It has been integrated/ is being integrated with all other Marketing Cloud products including, Eloqua (B2B Marketing Automation), Responsys (B2C Marketing Platform), Compendium (Content Marketing), and BlueKai (Audience Data Management Platform).

When asked about pure-play social vendors, Meg responded, “These products are focused on a piece of the puzzle but none are really looking at the bigger picture of social woven throughout every customer touch point.”

Integration with Eloqua has been particularly important. “We implemented our first SRM + Eloqua integrations in February of 2013, just three months after the Eloqua acquisition.  Approximately 15% of existing customers are using SRM and marketing automation, primarily Eloqua, from Oracle today, “We are seeing an increasing pipeline as our Marketing Cloud has evolved, especially offering both B2B and B2C solutions with Eloqua and Responsys, as well as the addition of BlueKai and Compendium.”

The first integrations with Eloqua included social marketing capabilities like publishing landing pages, lead creation and campaign tagging and analytics, and custom audiences. More recent integrations include smart publishing and Dynamic Link Tracking (DLT), Oracle’s proprietary functionality that tracks social actions taken by individuals. Most recently, SRM added LinkedIn support, a big plus for B2B Eloqua customers. “Customers can listen across relevant social channels to understand conversations that are happening around their brand, customers, potential customers and influencers. Those insights gleaned can be used to create targeted and relevant campaigns to generate stronger leads, conversions and sales. Oracle Social customers can create targeted social campaign pages where captured data (contacts and leads) easily flows directly into Eloqua offering a more complete customer profile. Integrated customers of SRM + Eloqua can also take advantage of creating and targeting custom audiences within Facebook and dynamic link tracking (DLT), which allows customers to tie social actions back to their customer profiles for a full picture.”

A new facet of integration is with BlueKai, Oracle’s new DMP (Data Management Platform). BlueKai provides aggregated data to combine with a customer’s current data (enterprise, CRM and social) and enables audience expansion through developing look-alike audience models. “BlueKai creates stronger audience profiles and custom audiences that are used in SRM to target publishing.”

SRM also has integrations with Oracle’s Service Cloud, Sales Cloud and Commerce Cloud. For example, the Service Cloud and Social Cloud integration allows for real-time routing and tracking of service issues for faster and more efficient customer support resolutions.

Closing Thoughts

The Enterprise Social Media Management space continues to be a hotly contested area. There is an emerging battle between pure play solutions who emphasize their nimbleness and socially focused innovation, and larger enterprises like Oracle who emphasize their global scale/ reach and integration to other marketing products within a suite. Oracle is clearly investing to be a primary contender in this battle.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Celebrating 500,000 buyers helped and 2 million words of insight

July 22nd, 2014 – Vinay Bhagat, CEO TrustRadius

May of last year we launched TrustRadius, a peer community for business software users to share candid insights through in-depth structured product reviews. Since our launch, more than 500,000 software buyers have visited our site to identify and research business software applications. We currently serve more than 85,000 people each month and our site is growing quickly.

Today we crossed a big milestone – 5,000 published reviews and more than 22,500 comparisons across 700 business software products.

Unlike many consumer products, business software is a highly considered purchase.  To really help decision-making, reviews need to be quite substantive. Unlike simple rating sites, at TrustRadius our emphasis is on collecting in-depth reviews that share context, substantial pros and cons, and ratings with user rationale on key attributes. The average review on TrustRadius is 406 words, about 4x the length of a consumer product review and our longest reviews are over 2,000.

In aggregate, our members have contributed over 2 million words of insight in their reviews – 2,032,899 to be precise.

None of this would be possible without our members, who take time out of their busy schedules to share their insights so that others can make informed and confident decisions. Thank you!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How Will Hootsuite Spend its $165m War Chest? The Battle for Enterprise Social Media Management Software Part 3

Last year, Hootsuite raised a whopping $165 million.Well known for its free and inexpensive Pro offerings, Hootsuite has set its targets on winning the enterprise. I recently caught up with Dee Anna McPherson, VP Marketing and Susan Perry, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Enterprise, at Hootsuite to get an update on their progress and plans.

This article follows interviews with executives at two other major social media vendors targeting the enterprise: the VP of Marketing at Sprinklr and the CEO at Spredfast.

What is Hootsuite Enterprise?

Hootsuite’s enterprise offering is derived from its Pro edition and offers some enterprise oriented features, removes usage restrictions, and comes with more robust services.

There two primary enterprise features are 1) Collaboration support: when a message comes in through a company account monitored by one function that is pertinent to another department, the message can be assigned and routed via the Hootsuite dashboard; 2) Permissions management: Enterprise enables a read-only permission level where messages drafted by team members require approval before publishing.

Two primary usage restrictions are removed 1) Social media accounts: there are no restrictions in the number of social accounts managed whereas Pro is limited to 50. Hootsuite shared that the average enterprise has 178 social media accounts; 2) Analytics Reporting: Enterprise clients have unlimited analytics reporting whereas Pro clients are restricted to 10 reports.There are also exclusive analytics modules for Enterprise clients that are integrated with Hootsuite’s back-end infrastructure.

Each enterprise client has a dedicated Customer Success Manager, tasked to answer questions, provide new product demonstrations, assist with upgrades, ensure goals are met, share best practices, and provide training. Additionally, Hootsuite provides Enterprise clients assistance with the implementation and launch of their platform. Enterprise clients also receive priority service on support tickets submitted online and can access support through email. Enterprise clients also get free access to an education and training database and customized training, e.g. for social media policy, is also available.

Lastly, Enterprise clients have first access to new features and functionality, including API access to networks like Pinterest.

Enterprise Adoption

Hootsuite defines its enterprise client base as those who adopt more than 10 seats. Based upon this criteria, Hootsuite reports 1,300 enterprise customers. Approximately 40 percent of the Hootsuite Enterprise reviews on TrustRadius are by companies with more than 500 employees.

Describing enterprise customer adoption, DeAnna stated, “Typical deployments are in the dozens of seats. We are seeing customers in the thousands of seats. More customers are transitioning from the social profile being solely maintained by marketing to having social centers of excellence which support social adoption across the enterprise. Q1 was a really good quarter. We added 186 new enterprise customers.”
Dee Anna also shared that Hootsuite has 42 enterprise customers with over 100 seats. Examples include John Wiley & Sons (250 seats), Local World (300+ seats), Tangerine Canada, formerly known as ING Direct (100+ seats), a major global hotel chain (1,000 seats), and a branch of the U.S. Military (1,000 seats).

To illustrate how a large enterprise customer uses Hootsuite Dee Anna shared, “We have a government sector client, a military organization, that’s using us for recruiting. They use Hootsuite to engage with their audience through geo-targeted messaging. They have different employees located around the country, and are using Hootsuite to target based upon demographics and language. It’s a very wide scale deployment. They use Hootsuite to collaborate, to hit their specific targets in regions.” 

The reviews of Hootsuite Enterprise on TrustRadius currently describe implementations of fewer than 30 seats in PR and marketing, though some, like this one, do extol the importance of team workflow capabilities.

Enterprise Product Direction

As we reported in our Buyer’s Guide to Social Media Management Software, large enterprise deployments have significant requirements for team member collaboration. Hootsuite Enterprise enables collaboration in three principal ways:

1) Avoiding duplicate response to tweets – responses are very visible in the dashboard.
2) Triage where response is required – messages can be assigned for follow-up.
3) Permissions management for content approval before publishing.

However, embedded capabilities for digital asset sharing are currently limited, “We do have our own content library in beta. We also integrate with Box, Dropbox, Uberflip, Kapost. We don’t want to disrupt a customer’s workflow.”

Hootsuite is planning further investments in workflow for collaboration, security and analytics. “We have addressed analytics through our acquisition of UberVU and will continue to innovate on that platform. We are building out security natively but also have a partnership with NextGate”. NextGate provides the following capabilities as a service:

1) Social media asset audits. An average enterprise has 178 social profiles. An audit can help identify unauthorized profiles.
2) On-going monitoring. This is particularly important for regulated industries. Monitoring messaging, keywords, and content that cannot be shared by employees; and supporting pre-approved content moderation.

Ubervu Analytics Acquisition

As we cited in the Social Buyer’s Guide, analytics is an important requirement for the enterprise. In January, Hootsuite acquired a small social analytics company called uberVU.  Dee Anna stated, “We wanted to acquire a next generation analytics company. When you look at the first generation tools like Radian6 and Brandwatch, they were designed to be used by analysts and are too complex. The technology was developed at a time when capturing the data was challenging. Today, you can buy access to social data. That’s a commodity. The newer analytics tools are much more advanced in terms of usability.” Dee Anna added, “Another thing that’s very popular with uberVU is the pricing model. You are not charged for more mentions. We hear that a lot from Radian6 customers.”

Ubervu has approximately 200 customers and while it currently has just two reviews on TrustRadius, both are extremely positive. The reviews on TrustRadius affirm Dee Anna’s statement:

UberVU has been added to the Hootsuite app directory, which means that social interactions in Hootsuite can be accessed by uberVU for analysis. Susan Perry stated, “We have a really robust ecosystem with over 100 applications with which we have integration including Salesforce, Zendesk, and Marketo. UberVU is now one of the apps.” When asked about plans for tighter integration beyond the app directory, Susan shared, “It’s our #1 priority. We will it complete this year.”

Social for Customer Support 

The customer support function is becoming an increasingly important area for Hootsuite, and social media management adoption in general. As one Hootsuite customer shared in a review “Today, 10% of [our] customer care cases originate in social media.

Dee Anna stated, “We typically start in marketing organization and social organization, and then oftentimes the next department is customer support. It’s a very important area. Customers are wanting and expecting to have responses from companies. Typically the marketing department is the one that is monitoring chatter, but their metrics do not focus on response.” 

One client using Hootsuite for support in an enterprise context is Flightcenter, says Dee Anna. They have agents across the world and try to direct people to their social channel. “They are able to monitor all the conversations that are happening.  They can proactively identify those customers and respond to them.”

Social Selling

Using social to boost sales is also growing in significance. Dee Anna shared, “We’re seeing that it’s very important in B2B as there are longer sales cycles and you’re building that relationship.  Social can enable sales reps to build their reputation as an expert.”

Hootsuite is starting to see roll-outs to entire sales teams; however they are finding that training is key. Susan shared, “We will be launching a new service offering custom education for enterprise customers that have a social business strategy and want bespoke training.” 


When asked about competition, they cited the Marketing Cloud offerings from Salesforce (formerly Radian6 and BuddyMedia) and Adobe as primary competitors.

When prompted about whether they compete with enterprise focused social vendors like Sprinklr and Spredfast, they said sometimes. Based upon 19,282 comparisons run by social media software buyers on TrustRadius during Q1 2014, Hootsuite enterprise is compared most frequently to Sprout Social (19%), Radian6/Salesforce Marketing Cloud (9%), Sprinklr (7%), and Spredfast (7%). It is compared to Adobe Social just 3% of the time.

When asked about differentiation when compared to the large software company Marketing Clouds, Dee Anna responded, “We emphasize our social DNA. Social moves very quickly. Being a nimble, smaller organization allows us to change. On top of that, we emphasize our ease of use as an analytics product, and our level of support and service, as we live and breathe social”.

When asked how they differentiate themselves from pure-play enterprise social vendors like Sprinklr and Spredfast, Dee Anna expressed, “Look at the adoption of Hootsuite. We have 9 million users. That ability to scale gives customers great comfort. We have customers in highly regulated industries. We provide peace of mind about security and scale. We are also focused on education to ensure our customers are getting ROI – we have been able to educate 60,000 professionals.”


One of the areas they are spending their $165m is international expansion. “We’re very focused on being able to support global customers. Our dashboard is available in 16 languages, and we offer support in six. Our European headquarters is in London and we have a development center (through the acquisition of Ubervu) in Bucharest. We have 100 employees in Europe. We have launched in Asia Pacific. Our Singapore office is both for sales and support. We integrate with 25 social networks including Bebo and the major Chinese and Russian networks.

Closing Thoughts

Hootsuite has leveraged the freemium model very effectively to build a massive client base and significant brand recognition. That model has also allowed it to penetrate the enterprise rapidly, albeit mostly in small pockets or departmental implementations. However, to be a true enterprise contender, the platform will need to evolve significantly. The $165m in funding is a huge war chest to both fund organic development and further acquisitions. The company is also using its funds to add enterprise DNA. They hired a new CTO who was formerly VP Product & Technology at Groupon and VP Technology at Expedia. They also hired a VP of Community who was formerly Cisco’s Senior Director of Social and Digital Marketing.

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