Content intelligence insights: a look at the most popular social media tools

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What are the most popular social media tools? If you think of social media software, you’ll probably have a bunch of names in mind. And with a quick Google search, you’ll find countless of blog posts – showing that a lot of people have an opinion on that topic.

But what about the data?

Most of these companies are not disclosing any numbers in terms of market and user adoption. But one thing we can analyze by leveraging content intelligence is the performance of their marketing strategies. We found particularly interesting to do this analysis because we’re talking about marketing software vendors here – so people who know more than a thing or two about marketing with surely some interesting lessons to learn.

So let’s take a look at how some of the top players in that market compare from a content marketing performance standpoint.

To achieve this, we used and looked at both the performance of their own content (i.e. content published on their own domains) and the performance of their earned content (i.e. content published on somebody else’s domain and mentioning their brand) over the past 3 months. Here are the companies we included:

Owned content performance

To be able to compare each vendor’s own content on a similar basis, we look at:

  • their content volume: how many content pieces they’ve published,
  • their content impact: how many times their content has been shared across social media.

Ideally, a good content marketing ROI should be to get as much impact as possible (return) for as little content as possible (investment).

Here are the overall results:

Social media tools - content intelligence benchmark

We’ve also used Hawkeye’s semantic analysis capabilities to drill down on the topics these companies covered in their content marketing:

Social media tools - content intelligence topics

Obviously, the generic social media topic is the most addressed and has the highest impact. But other topics such as Apps / Tools and Instagram have been clear battlefields for these content brands. Some topics seem to be owned by only one or two brands though as for instance customer service with Sprinklr, with a number of posts on how to use social media for customer service.

Earned content performance

The first step to measure earned content is to be able to filter content that mentioned any of these brands. But being mentioned in an obscure article (or on the vendor’s own blog) is not the same as being mentioned in a top media site or an influential blog so we computed for each of them:

  • The volume of content (number of pieces of content) that mentioned that tool’s brand name (excluding their own web domain),
  • The total shares these pieces of content generated.

And to make sure we’re not selecting content that’s off-topic, we selected only articles that mention “social media tools”, “social media software”, etc… as Hawkeye’s semantic engine allows us to filter by topic. We ran the analysis over the last 3 months.

We can now see how many of them mentioned each and every tool above and then how popular they are by looking at the total number of shares they received on social networks.

Here are the results:

Click on the image to zoom in



  1. Buffer and HootSuite are the clear leaders. Both brands are the most mentioned in the content that mentions the social media software topic. Content that mentions Buffer has a greater impact though: 54% of the total shares for 32% of the mentions in volume. 
  2. Even though it’s a sizable company, enterprise platform Sprinklr have much lower brand awareness – probably because their product is not accessible as a free trial or freemium version. The topics they cover suggest their own content is more focused on their audience of enterprise marketers but here again, not with the same impact as their closest competitor.  
  3. HootSuite’s freemium strategy seems to pay off in terms of brand awareness. Even though both vendors compete in the enterprise space, Hootsuite’s getting 14x more mentioned than Sprinklr for 10x more impact. HootSuite’s probably also getting much better amplification for its own content by leveraging its large user base as a newsletter distribution list. 
  4. While not quite at the level of the two leaders in terms of brand awareness, Sprout Social raises above the pack – probably thanks to a free trial option and a large small and midsize company base. Sprout’s owned content is on par with Buffer’s but through a higher volume so most likely also a higher cost for the company.
  5. AgoraPulse, while a niche player, shows a remarkable performance given the size of the company and the fact it was bootstrapped and didn’t raise any VC money (unlike most other vendors in this report).
  6. While a significant player in the CRM space and even though it offers a free version and a product targeting SMB’s, Zoho is trailing behind in terms of brand awareness and influencer marketing, being mentioned in content that represents only 1% of the total shares for the category.

If we missed out anything or if you have any questions, let us know in the comments. If you like this type of analysis, we’ll run them on some other markets and publish the results on this blog. And if you’re interested in analyzing your own market and competitors and have even more insights that what we summarized here, don’t hesitate to get a demo of Hawkeye, our content intelligence solution.

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About the Author

Guillaume Decugis
Co-Founder & CEO @Scoopit. Entrepreneur (Musiwave, Goojet). Engineer-turned-marketer. Skier. Rock singer.
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