The Real Story Behind Sprout Social’s Newest Acquisition — And What It Means for the Future of Social Insights

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Sprout Social announced earlier this month that it was acquiring Tagger Media, one of the most well-known influencer marketing and social intelligence platforms on the market. The $140 million deal positions Sprout to become a leader in influencer marketing management — but that’s not the part of the story most people are talking about.

The deeper story coming out of Sprout’s new acquisition has to do with the expanding role that influencer marketing has over the broader social media marketing space, and the role that it could someday play in brands’ social strategies. 

Sprout’s acquisition of Tagger is the latest in a string of moves made by social media management firms to shore up their influencer management capabilities. Given the size of Sprout Social, and its position within the social marketing space, this new acquisition could be seen as a tipping point, and social media management platforms that don’t offer influencer management capabilities could be on the outs.

“Industry analysts have estimated that nearly 50% of CMOs are growing their spending on influencer marketing in 2023, representing the third fastest area of budget growth,” says Sprout Social Chief Marketing Officer Jamie Gilpin. “We envision a world where brands can elevate business insights with deep listening tools, streamline workflows by unifying influencer marketing and social media management, and measure the full ROI influencer, paid and organic social and marketing campaigns.”

Tagger Media offers a unified solution that gives agencies and brand marketers a way to quantify the impact of influencer campaigns through ROI and trends reports. The company works with some of the largest brands and has received mountains of industry accolades and recognition over the past few years.

Sprout Social hit the scene in 2010, at a time when social media was becoming a cornerstone of business marketing. Co-founders Aaron Rankin, Peter Soung, Justyn Howard, and Gil Lara recognized the need for a comprehensive platform that could simplify and amplify the way brands managed their online presence.

Thirteen years later, Sprout Social has had many notable acquisitions, including the social analytics firm Simply Measured and Repustate, a sentiment analysis and natural language processing company. This latest acquisition of Tagger Media marks another big step in the evolution of social media management, positioning Sprout to deliver the next generation of social insights to both brands and agencies.

“By bringing Tagger’s influencer marketing software together with Sprout’s suite of solutions, brands can tap into robust insights and analytics to develop more effective influencer campaigns, discover influencers who authentically align with their brand values and audience, and track performance and measure conversion to more accurately report ROI,” says Gilpin.

Gilpin describes the acquisition as a strategic one, but heavily influenced by Tagger’s existing team and the inherent similarities between the two companies’ platforms.

“We approached this acquisition with a strategic focus on finding the right product, the right partner and the right team. We knew quickly that Tagger would make for an incredible fit with Sprout,” Gilpin says. “The Tagger team is a smart, customer-first group that built software with the same elegance and usability as Sprout.”

For now, Sprout and Tagger will remain two separate products. However, Gilpin doesn’t rule anything out, and says the two teams will identify the most beneficial areas of alignment between the two products going forward.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.
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