Hootsuite Buys Facebook Ads Manager AdEspresso, Rolls Out Self-Serve Platform

mattsHootsuite aims to prove it’s not just your average social media management dashboard.

The company – which was founded in 2008, the heyday of companies seeking to tame the social fire hose – revealed Tuesday it had acquired AdEspresso, a Facebook and Instagram ads platform, for an undisclosed amount.

Hootsuite will roll out an enterprise ad platform called Hootsuite Ads to help marketers create, distribute and measure their ad campaigns across multiple social platforms. AdEspresso by Hootsuite will operate as its self-serve platform.

The company employs nearly 1,000 employees and was valued in 2014 at more than $1 billion following a $60 million funding round. It mainly competes with other enterprise social marketing platforms such as Sprinklr and big marketing clouds.

But with organic reach waning – and longtime partners like Facebook eyeing newer multiscreen formats, such as mid-roll video ads – many social marketing platforms were forced to adapt. 

“Strategically, we were seeing organic reach for brands declining and this move away from vanity metrics like likes, comments and follows to real business metrics,” said Matt Switzer, SVP of strategy and corporate development for Hootsuite. “Social was growing up in a lot of these brand organizations and becoming a bigger part of the marketing mix.”

Hootsuite has found customers like eHarmony are looking for social solutions that not only drive DR metrics, such as website conversions, but also improve brand awareness and loyalty.

Hence Hootsuite’s ongoing investment in technology that takes it further than the text link and basics of earned media. Hootsuite, which essentially grew up as a Twitter client, made a number of investments since its last financing round to build out its platform’s capabilities.

“We made an acquisition and launched Enhance, an image editing and content offering tool for mobile,” Switzer said. “We acquired a business called UberVU that formed the basis of our insights and intelligence offering. We also made some pretty big strides in building up our analytics offering.”

Although Hootsuite is primarily priced as a licensed SaaS platform, it does have a services group that works alongside a brand or its agency if they need custom development work or complete third-party integrations.

Hootsuite says it’s cash-flow positive, “one of a very small fraction of unicorns to do that,” Switzer claimed.

But will Hootsuite remain independent, considering most of its competitors are part of cloud stacks?

“For now, we’re well served as an independent, standalone company, but if there was an opportunity where it made sense for that to change,” he added, “I don’t think we’d be blind to it.”

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