Hootsuite: ‘We’re Seeing This Massive Shift Toward Imagery And Video’

OwlyFor Hootsuite, it used to be all about text links on Twitter.

Not so, anymore. The early Twitter client on Tuesday revealed native support for Instagram. So now, users can promote content on Instagram as well as across previously supported platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google pages.

It also introduced recently link-to-buy functionality within Hootsuite Campaigns, a marketing suite it built organically and through acquisition, spurred by a $60 million investment last fall.

“As we’ve gone down this path with the Instagram integration, you will see much more rich media support,” said Jimmy Duvall, VP of product at Hootsuite. “One of the things we’re definitely seeing is this massive shift toward imagery and video, which is why we prioritized Instagram.”

As social networks move to support video and commerce natively in their platforms, Hootsuite needed to diversify its formats.

Duvall, who joined Hootsuite from eBay last winter, said historically, Instagram’s lack of third-party publishing APIs meant manual content uploads and lengthy credentialing processes. 

But Instagram is opening its platform. On Tuesday, it opened up Ads API access to Facebook Marketing Partners Salesforce, Brand Networks, 4C, Kenshoo, Unified, Ampush, Nanigans, SocialCode, Laundry Service and MediaVest, making it easier to promote paid posts.

“Instagram has a good guiding principle around quality of content, which is why they really haven’t put out a public publishing API,” Duvall added.

According to an Instagram spokesperson, it has three APIs: Ads, which supports direct posts of paid content; an Instagram API, which doesn’t support direct publishing of organic media yet and a mobile sharing API, OS-level support for the Instagram mobile app on Android and iOS, though publishing is still performed manually through Instagram.

Jason Beckerman, chief product officer of social marketing and analytics platform Unified, noted the prevalence of video and imagery on platforms like Instagram hasn’t affected business operations, though it’s diversified his company’s revenue mix.

Budgets have expanded from basic text links to mobile app install ads and video formats.

“All of the videos our customers are marketing at this point are native to the core platform like Facebook and Instagram,” he added. “It allows us to obtain better targeting and much better analytics for view times, knowing who is watching what videos.”

Despite this adaptability, social marketing platforms still face an uphill climb to ensure development compatibilities.

Although Hootsuite supports native video, Duvall noted it is “still working out the publisher component” since there are variances in each platform in video measurability. Twitter, for instance, counts a video as viewed if it’s 100% in-view for at least three seconds whereas Facebook is talking 10 seconds.

“You will see us maturing our solutions for businesses focused on social marketing, analytics and social support,” Duvall said. He described Hootsuite’s constantly-evolving relationship with the platform companies.

“They have a large consumer base,” he said, “but don’t always get the interaction with the enterprise customer base that we do, so we learn from each other.”

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