HootSuite Buys UberVU To Expand Analytics On Its Social Media Management Platform

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HootSuite — a platform for enterprises to manage their presence on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram and many more — is ramping up its product offering with more big data. Today it announced that it has acquired London-based uberVu, a social analytics platform. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but we’re trying to find out. but we have now heard that it was between $15 million and $20 million.

It’s the first acquisition by HootSuite after raising a $165 million round last year. At the time, HootSuite’s CEO Ryan Holmes said part of the funding would be going towards M&A to grow its product base.

UberVU, founded in London in 2008 but now HQ’d in Boston, got its first leg up via Seedcamp. It’s raised a very modest $586,000.

The acquisition will give HootSuite two key things. The first is an expanded product offering. Adding analytics, HootSuite will be able to provide more data to its customers about the social interactions it’s making with consumers.

This will help HootSuite offer more premium, paid services in the longer run — today the company operates a freemium model with basic services free to use, and like all companies built on that basis, the idea is always to figure out how to upsell users to the next level of (paid, premium) service. Right now, about 95% of HootSuite’s 8 million users are using the free product.

The second area is in terms of customers and customer relationships. There are already over 200 enterprise customers using uberVU, says HootSuite, including 3M, NBC, Heinz, Fujitsu, SC Johnson, Getty Images, indiegogo, L’Occitane and others. HootSuite says that its current client base includes 75% of Fortune 1000 companies.

The acquisition underscores a consolidation trend in the world of social media services for enterprises. That has included the likes of Salesforce and Oracle acquiring companies like Buddy Media and Vitrue, but also many smaller players coming together or exiting to larger companies. Part of the reason is because of the margins on these services — consolidation simply makes financial sense — but there is also the issue of usability and offering budget-constrained marketing departments “one-stop” shops for different services. This is part of what HootSuite also wants to tap into:

“We’ve seen that single-purpose social media monitoring tools frustrate users by making it difficult to put data to use and turn insight into action,” writes Ryan Holmes in a blog post. “By bringing uberVU on board, HootSuite is adding powerful analytics capabilities to our battle-tested engagement platform. This is a direct response to feedback from HootSuite customers and has accelerated our existing analytics plan.”

In a sense, it’s also part of the longer-term strategy of HootSuite, which has over the years built up a platform that aggregates interactions across dozens of different social media sites — well beyond its first (and probably still most popular) social media platform, Twitter. Interestingly, Twitter itself has also made a move into analytics, although Twitter’s have tended to focus more on analytics related to marketing and advertising on the platform.

HootSuite also touts the technology that it is buying behind the big data play:

“uberVU represents the next generation of analytics solutions, and brings with it a world class product team,” said Holmes in a statement.. “This acquisition brings together uberVU’s best-in-class analytics with HootSuite’s social engagement solution, getting us one step closer to our vision of a simple, scalable, and secure platform for a rapidly evolving social media landscape.”

UberVU will continue to offer its service as a standalone product, now with HootSuite branding. Eventually it will be integrated into the bigger platfrom.

“By joining HootSuite we are realizing our vision to bring analytics to the front and center of the social business,” says Mark Pascarella, CEO of uberVU. “This acquisition is a testament to the strength of our platform, and we are thrilled to be part of HootSuite’s exciting story.”

It’s also interesting and fitting that the acquisition has been made in the UK. Last year, the company told me that its UK operation, its first big move outside of North America (the company is based in Vancouver, Canada and has an extensive business presence in the U.S.) was one of the fastest-growing parts of its business.