Bonus Materials: “How to Choose a Social Media Management Solution” ebook

Wrestling to decide between Hootsuite and Sprout Social? You’re not alone.

Hootsuite and Sprout Social are among the most compared social media management tools. More than 1,600 social media managers like you compare these companies on Google every single month.

To help you in your quest to find the best social media management solution for your specific needs, we’ve written this “Hootsuite vs Sprout” article.

We’ve analyzed more than 5,000 reviews on the most trusted and largest review site on the planet, G2.com.

Agorapulse is the closest alternative to Hootsuite and Sprout Social. And because we have superior G2 user ratings on most items, we’ve taken the liberty to add our 627 reviews in the mix when relevant.

If Agorapulse doesn’t rank the highest in these categories, you have our promise that we’ll provide that clear, honest information to you.

TL;DR

No time to read the whole piece?

Here’s a very high-level summary:

 

  1. Hootsuite’s the clear loser in overall comparison. In regards to ease of use, support, and product direction, the 5K-plus reviews on G2 rank Hootsuite lower than Sprout. (And there’s a clear winner that’s not who you may think!)
  2. Sprout Social is only slightly ahead of Hootsuite in feature-by-feature comparisons. On G2, Hootsuite is consistently last in ranking for publishing, monitoring, and reporting. Sprout fares slightly better—but only by 0.2 points on average.
  3. Both Hootsuite and Sprout Social’s hidden pricing will shock you. Hootsuite’s pricing plan is sketchy by showing only annual pricing on its pricing page, by providing misleading information about its Business plan pricing, and by forcing growing companies to jump from its Team plan to its hefty-priced Business plan starting at $7,200 or heftier-priced Enterprise plan (which starts at $18,000 per year).
  4. Agencies will struggle to find value with both Hootsuite and Sprout Social based on the tools’ costs per user/profile and advanced features. You’ll be paying tons to Hootsuite and Sprout Social if you’re an agency needing more than 3 users and/or 20 social profiles. You have to choose the Business plan and pay per year; there is no month-to-month option.

Ready to dig into the stone-cold facts to help you choose between Hootsuite and Sprout Social?

Let’s go.

1. Hootsuite is the clear loser in the overall comparison

In regards to ease of use, admin, and set-up; quality of support; and product direction, Sprout Social is consistently ranked above Hootsuite. Agorapulse is consistently above Sprout Social.

We’re going to dive into the details.

1.1 Ease of use, admin, and setup

ease of use, setup and admin ratings of agorapulse, sprout social, and hootsuite

In ease of use, Sprout ranks 8.9, which is merely 0.6 above Hootsuite’s 8.3.

At Agorapulse, we rank far ahead of both at 9.1 (an important fact if ease of use is crucial to your everyday experience).

But how do Hootsuite and Sprout Social compare in terms of ease of setup?

Again, Sprout Social, at 8.8, edges out over Hootsuite at 8.3 by a mere .0.5.

Agorapulse once more rates far ahead at a significantly higher 9.2 ranking from reviewers.

The difference between Hootsuite and Sprout Social is also just 0.5 in terms of ease of admin. At 8.9, Sprout Social barely outranks Hootsuite’s 8.4. (Agorapulse sprints far ahead in ease of admin by ranking 9.1 from G2 reviewers.)

1.2 Quality of support

Social media never sleeps, even when a big social network has issues, a social media management crisis erupts, or human errors happen.

So, in comparing Hootsuite and Sprout Social, you need to look at their quality of support. After all, things happen—and you want to know that you’re backed by the best support when using your social media management solution.

If you choose Hootsuite, however, you’re choosing a tool with one of the worst support ratings on G2.

Hootsuite’s quality of support ranks a dismal 7.8 from its 1,971 reviewers, far below Sprout Social’s respectable 8.8.

At 9.3, Agorapulse has the proven No. 1 customer support in the business—and it’s ranked the best customer support not just on G2 but also Capterra and TrustRadius.

quality of support rankings on agorapulse, sprout social, and hootsuite

1.3 Product direction

If you want a social media management solution that is constantly innovating, then factor in product direction in your decision-making between Hootsuite and Sprout Social.

product direction ranking

At 7.3, Hootsuite is incredibly below Sprout Social (at a decent 8.8) in product direction. It’s among the worst scores in the entire industry.

Here again, Agorapulse’s ranking of 9.3 is far ahead of what its closest competitors rank.

If these rankings on G2 don’t completely convince you, look at the rankings on the highly trusted Capterra review site, which is owned by Gartner. The numbers there just reinforce the fact that Hootsuite ranks last in these categories and that Agorapulse is always at #1.

Capterra social media marketing products

Now, who would be the winner in the Hootsuite and Sprout comparison of features?

2. Sprout Social is only slightly ahead in a feature-by-feature comparison

Hootsuite and Sprout Social are very similar with most features, so we’ll take a look at the main features that get compared in the decision-making process.

Globally, the main features that users compare are for publishing, monitoring/listening, and reporting.

2.1 Publishing

Both Hootsuite and Sprout Social do a decent job at helping you publish content to your different social media channels.

In terms of scheduling content, Sprout Social and Hootsuite tie at a 9.1, with Agorapulse outranking both with its 9.3.

The margin seems very close between Hootsuite and Sprout Social once again for publishing automation (Sprout at 8.7 and Hootsuite at 8.6).

Overall, Sprout Social has a small advantage over Hootsuite. Sprout Social averages a score of 8.82 for its publishing features; Hootsuite hovers behind it at an average 8.67.

publishing ratings

At 9.17, Agorapulse exceeds the ranking of both Hootsuite and Sprout Social. This score confirms Agorapulse’s position as a solid challenger to the two most heavily funded players in the field.

Find out why teams love managing their social with Agorapulse.

2.2 Monitoring

Monitoring is an everyday (and crucial) component of any social media team. You need to know what’s being said about you by your customers, both existing and potential, as well as your competition. And monitoring also lets you know when you should jump into conversations about your area of expertise.

So, how do Hootsuite and Sprout Social rank in providing this feature on their social media management solution?

Once again, Sprout Social has a small advantage over Hootsuite with an average rating of 7.9. (That’s a minuscule 0.2 point difference.)

social media monitoring ratings

For monitoring, Agorapulse is far ahead of the competition at an average rating of 8.5.

2.3 Reporting

A huge part of a social media manager’s tasks is to regularly report on KPIs and other meaningful metrics.

You need to do competitor analysis, follower analysis, content engagement analysis, influencer identification, paid campaign tracking, attribution, report customizability, and report exporting.

So, how do Hootsuite and Sprout Social compare?

You can spot the same pattern as with other feature comparisons between the two companies: Sprout is a little ahead of Hootsuite (at 7.75) with an average of 7.97 points.

Agorapulse has a much higher rating with an average of 8.4.

reports and dashboards

If you need paid campaign tracking, Agorapulse won’t be your best choice in this category, however. (We promised you we’d be honest about the comparisons!)

We offer a free tool called AdsReport, but it is not as comprehensive as the paid reporting tools offered by Hootsuite and Sprout Social.

However, be aware this type of reporting is an add-on on Hootsuite and 50% more per user on Sprout Social. If you want this reporting, you have to pay for $18K/yr (annual option only) for Hootsuite’s Enterprise plan with the Impact add-on and $149/month (per user) on Sprout Social.

3. The hidden prices of Hootsuite and Sprout will startle you

Now, let’s talk about a significant factor in anyone searching for a new social media management tool: pricing. (For many agencies, pricing can be a deal-breaker.)

3.1 Hootsuite’s true pricing revealed

Hootsuite’s pricing is unclear and confusing between its monthly cost and annual cost. All plans on its pricing page, for example, have a small asterisk denoting that “Prices based on annual billing.”

To uncover the real monthly price of your chosen plan, you first must create an account. You’ll then see that your monthly plan price is 30% higher than what Hootsuite shares publicly on its pricing pages.

Even trickier for agencies is the difference between the Team plan (which is touted as a plan for agencies) and the Business plan.

Many active businesses and agencies manage more than 20 social profiles or need more than three users. That need, however, exceeds the limits of Hootsuite’s Team plan.

Hootsuite users are forced to commit to the Business plan, which means they have to commit to an annual plan and $7,200 upfront. (There is no month-by-month option once you upgrade from the Hootsuite Team plan.) It’s a huge push from one plan to another one.

You can read more about Hootsuite’s Hidden Pricing Revealed to get its pricing details.

3.2 Sprout’s expensive “per user” pricing plan

Sprout Social’s pricing page does offer a monthly option for all its plans. However, the price listed is only “per user.”

If you have a growing team, you’ll have to quickly start doing some serious math.

You’ll be racking up a very expensive monthly bill for yourself once you start adding on what’s crucial to agencies: more fans/followers, deeper reporting, etc.

Sprout Social’s Advanced Listening add-on starts at $999 per month, and its reporting Advanced add-on starts at $249 per month.

You also have to fork over some serious cash if you want 1:1 onboarding or premium customer support on weekdays during CST (Chicago, USA) business hours. You’ll have to add on the “Premier Success Plan” or subscribe to the Enterprise plan (which doesn’t have a price on its page but is assumed to be more than the $249 Advanced Plan).

premier success plan

To get more details about pricing specific to Sprout Social, read Sprout Social’s Hidden Pricing Revealed.

At Agorapulse, we believe in clear, honest pricing, so you’ll find exactly the information you need on our pricing page for our different plans. The Enterprise plan does require that you contact us (as is standard practice in our space) but only because your specific needs will affect the plan pricing.

But, unlike the research for Hootsuite and Sprout Social pricing, you don’t have to get lost in a maze to get upfront prices nor be forced to break out the calculator and do mental gymnastics to understand a tricky “per user” plan. You get straight-up pricing information from Agorapulse.

Want to do your own research? Then spend some time plugging in numbers and needs into Ian Anderson Gray’s pricing tool. He’s a well-known UK marketing consultant who has gone through the entire sales process and shares this vital information needed to figure out the real price of social media tools. (He updates the tool at least twice a year to give readers the latest stats.)

4. Agencies will find themselves nickel-and-dimed to astronomical price tags with Hootsuite and Sprout Social’s “per user/profile” and advanced feature pricing

If you’re an agency, you’re going to be paying a ton of money for Hootsuite and Sprout Social plans.

For example:

plans

This confusing pricing is particularly jarring for agencies.

You’re going to be penalized for any success under those “per user” plans and forced into different tiers as your team grows.

So, when deciding on a social media management solution, you want one from a business that works with you, not against you.

At Agorapulse, we understand and love agencies so much that our plans are priced for growing teams and equip agencies with what they need to thrive.

Agencies can easily build eye-pleasing client reports that provide in-depth details and also overviews of clients’ social content, engagement, and growth. Our shared calendars offer a streamlined content-approval workflow (unlike Sprout’s static “shared calendar”).

We rate far higher than Sprout Social and Hootsuite from thousands of real users on the top review sites. Also, we’ve made sure that most businesses and agencies can benefit from our superior product by making our pricing fair and transparent.

We even offer a free Agency Love program, which is full of discounts and perks for agencies.

You can dig into those details on our Agencies page.

Get started on saving time and energy on your own social media management! Check out our free trial of Agorapulse to help you schedule, track, and measure all your social media efforts.

Hootsuite vs. Sprout Social: Which Should You Pick for Your Social Media Management Needs?