HootSuite announced yesterday that it now has almost eight million users, over 1,000 enterprise customers, 150 percent year-over-year growth, and a new partnership with social analytics expert Brandwatch.
That’s all good. Where’s tomorrow’s growth coming from?
Based on a conversation with HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes yesterday, user growth is likely to come from the death of the social media allstar in companies — and the work Hootsuite is putting into social media advertising.
“Social is now across the organization,” Holmes told me. “As we see the market evolve we see that teams are growing 300 percent a year … and social tools are getting more broadly adopted across organizations. It’s not just marketing anymore, it’s sales, public relations, human relations, everywhere.”
In other words, the social enterprise.
Social is now part of customer service and hiring as well as marketing and communications. And as the membrane that defines in and out of an enterprise stretches and weakens, more and more individuals inside a corporation need access to social data and tools — all of which means more seats for HootSuite Pro versions.
That’s why, of course, the company has pursued its App Directory initiative, which enables integrations with backoffice suites such as Zendesk as well as front-end tools like those that help marketing teams reach out on YouTube or Pinterest.
But there’s another potential revenue source as well — social media advertising.
“We’re excited by advertising,” Holmes said. “We have done some initial work with our partners at Twitter and Facebook on social media advertising, and we’re looking to expand our platform footprint.”
Back in February, HootSuite was one of the first five companies that Twitter announced as initial partners in its new Ads API launch. That enabled HootSuite to sell Twitter ad products — promoted accounts and promoted tweets — right inside the HootSuite social media engagement and management tool. Today, Twitter does the same for both Facebook and LinkedIn, and other partners are likely coming.
At the time of the announcement, Holmes told me that HootSuite did not intend to monetize the ad-buying experience inside its tools, viewing it instead as a value-add to its enterprise customers. However, that is changing over time, and likely some fraction of the millions of dollars that HootSuite users will pour into social ads will find its way into HootSuite’s pockets.
That’s one step down the road to further integration into marketing automation, Holmes said.
“People are trying to understand more before they automate,” he told me. “Ultimately, down the road, we can get to automation. Right now we help people schedule advertising across multiple channels.”