Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse: Which One’s the Best?

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Choosing between Sprout Social, Buffer, and Agorapulse? On the surface, these three social media management platforms may seem like they share many of the same features and capabilities.

But when you look closer, you’ll find that some lack key features or offer them as pricey add-ons. And between the three platforms, ease of use, quality of support, and product direction are far from equal.

We analyzed over 4,500 reviews on G2 and over 2,500 reviews on Capterra, two of the largest and most trusted software review sites, to make your choice easier. Below, we’ll compare Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse side by side so you can see how they rank and select the right tool for your team.

TL;DR

Don’t have time for an in-depth read? Scan this high-level summary instead:

  • Compared to Sprout Social and Buffer, Agorapulse ranks first on both G2 (4.5) and Capterra (4.5). Agorapulse especially shines in quality of support, product direction, social analytics, and social listening. Buffer comes out slightly ahead for content creation and ease of use, but Sprout Social lags behind in most areas.
  • Sprout Social’s pricing is the highest of the three by far, making it prohibitively expensive for many businesses. Buffer has the lowest prices, but it’s missing several key features. Agorapulse is in the middle, offering affordable pricing for a complete social media management tool.
  • Agencies could get a lot of mileage out of Buffer’s relatively affordable Agency plan, but they’ll need to purchase extra tools to make up for the missing features. Technically, Sprout Social has an agency program, but it doesn’t offer special pricing or features. Agorapulse’s Custom plan is designed for agencies and has all the necessary tools.

Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse: Which Is the most reliable platform?

When you decide to invest in a software platform, you need to know whether it will be a reliable partner for your business. Will it be easy for your team and clients to use? Does it offer sufficient support? And is it rolling out new features regularly to help you stay ahead of the curve?

Social media management capability #1: Ease of use and admin

First things first, can you get your team on board easily? G2 reviewers rate Agorapulse and Buffer (9.1) first for ease of admin, while Sprout Social ranks second (8.8).

G2 comparison of Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse ease of admin

It’s no surprise that reviewers also rate Agorapulse first (8.9) for users and permissions:

G2 comparison of Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse users and permissionsG2 comparison of Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse users and permissions

With Agorapulse, creating team workspaces couldn’t be easier. Just invite your team members, assign them to manage relevant profiles, and give them appropriate permissions. You can change profiles or permissions at any time to ensure everyone has the right level of access.

Need to collaborate with clients? Agorapulse eliminates the need to bring clients into your team workspace. Instead, you can share calendars with them so they can review and approve pending posts as necessary.

So, how easy is Agorapulse to use compared to Buffer and Sprout Social? According to Capterra reviewers, Agorapulse takes first place for ease of use (4.5)—and is the highest-rated platform overall out of the three.

Capterra comparison of Sprout Social vs Buffer vs AgorapulseCapterra comparison of Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse

Social media management capability #2: Quality of support

When a feature doesn’t work correctly, a profile won’t connect properly, or posts won’t publish as scheduled, you need help right away. Depending on the social media management tool you choose, you may have to wait longer than you like.

As you can see above, Capterra reviewers rank Agorapulse first (4.7) for customer service. G2 reviewers echo this sentiment, ranking Agorapulse (9.2) far ahead of both Sprout Social and Buffer.

G2 comparison of Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse supportG2 comparison of Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse support

Why does Agorapulse’s support consistently get top ratings? We provide 24/7 support, so you don’t have to wait until the morning or until Monday to solve a problem.

We also commit to efficient response time frames so you know when you can expect to hear back from us. Even our entry-level Standard plan has a six-hour support response time frame. Our enterprise-level Custom plan has a 30-minute turnaround time.

Buffer also offers 24/7 support via email or social media. However, the platform doesn’t promise response times publicly.

In contrast, Sprout Social offers 24/5 support. If you run into an issue over the weekend, you’d have to try to resolve it yourself—or wait until Monday to hear back from support.

Sprout Social does offer a Premier Success add-on that guarantees a two-hour response time from the support team. With this option, you’d have to pay a premium price for a service Agorapulse includes with mid-tier (and up) plans.

Social media management capability #3: Business partnership

If social media is key to your organization’s growth and revenue, you need a software platform that’s committed to your business. So, which of these platforms is likely to work best with your business?

G2 reviewers rank Agorapulse first (9.1) for being a good business partner:

G2 comparison of Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse as business partnersG2 comparison of Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse as business partners

Curious how we can help your team reach major marketing goals? Read some of our customer testimonials to see what our power users love most about our social media software.

Social media management capability #4: Product direction

From new networks to new features and capabilities, social media continues to evolve quickly. You need a software platform that can help you leverage the latest trends and master new content formats.

G2 reviewers are most positive about Agorapulse’s product direction, rating our platform (9.1) ahead of Sprout Social (8.8) and a full point ahead of Buffer (8.1):

G2 comparison of Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse product directionG2 comparison of Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse product direction

From rolling out support for new platforms (e.g., Pinterest) to making major feature updates (e.g., social listening and advocacy), our product team aims to make our social media platform as useful and as valuable as possible.

This G2 reviewer succinctly sums up our positive product direction: “The Agorapulse team works hard to ensure they are constantly innovating and improving the product by staying on top of trends and user requested features.”

G2 review of Agorapulse's product directionG2 review of Agorapulse's product direction

Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse: Which has the features you need?

To handle social media marketing successfully, your team needs a few essential features. Here’s how Sprout Social, Buffer, and Agorapulse compare in terms of scheduling, engagement, listening, and reporting.

Essential social media marketing feature #1: Content creation and scheduling

For most social media managers, the ability to create, schedule, and publish content is an essential requirement. Here’s how G2 reviewers experience content features across the three platforms:

G2 comparison of Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse content toolsG2 comparison of Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse content tools

As you can see, Agorapulse and Buffer rank first (8.7) for content library features, while Sprout Social ranks a distant third (8.1). Since Sprout Social’s content library is available on Advanced plans (starting at $499 per month), this feature may not fit in the average marketing team’s budget.

Agorapulse’s content library is also available on our Advanced plan. But with a starting price of $149 per month, this plan is much more affordable for the average business or agency.

G2 reviewers rank Agorapulse and Sprout Social (both 9.1) right behind Buffer (9.2) for content calendar features. All three platforms offer:

  • Canva integrations that let you import designs directly to the publishing composer
  • Draft options that let you get ideas down quickly and return to refine them later
  • Approval workflows that allow stakeholders to sign off prior to publishing
  • AI-powered writing tools that refine your content to improve performance.

Essential social media marketing feature #2: Social media engagement

Does your team provide customer support on social media? Or do you focus on building relationships via comments and DMs? Either way, you need access to robust social media engagement tools.

There’s a big difference between how these three platforms approach engagement. G2 reviewers prefer Agorapulse’s social inbox and rate it an 8.9, which is significantly higher than either Buffer or Sprout Social (both 8.3).

G2 comparison of Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse inbox toolsG2 comparison of Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse inbox tools

Agorapulse’s social inbox automatically pulls comments and DMs so you can quickly check and respond to engagement for each profile. From the social inbox, you can bookmark items, review several in bulk, or assign items to a team member.

As this G2 reviewer shares, “Inbox is a huge factor. It saves us many hours having to go to each platform.”

G2 review of Agorapulse's inboxG2 review of Agorapulse's inbox

Sprout Social has a smart inbox, but it’s not quite as intuitive. Comments and DMs from all connected profiles appear in the same inbox, requiring an extra step to filter and find the engagement you need to review.

Compared to Agorapulse and Sprout Social, Buffer’s inbox management options are much less advanced. Buffer supports Facebook and Instagram comments only, so it isn’t a good solution for handling social media engagement.

Essential social media marketing feature #3: Social listening

With social listening, you can do more than reply to DMs and comments on your posts. Instead, you can automatically find brand mentions and relevant keywords and hashtags across social media channels. Then, you can join the conversation, assess the sentiment, and use the insights to guide your strategy.

Buffer doesn’t offer social listening at all. But between Agorapulse and Sprout Social, G2 reviewers rank Agorapulse first for most social listening features.

G2 listening ratings for Agorapulse and Sprout SocialG2 listening ratings for Agorapulse and Sprout Social

With Agorapulse’s listening tool, you can measure volume, assess engagement trends, and identify top influencers. This data can show you what generates buzz for your brand and help you refine your content and engagement strategy.

Agorapulse social listening dashboardAgorapulse social listening dashboard

Essential social media marketing feature #4: Reporting and analytics

Social media reports are essential for measuring performance and making sure you’re on track to reach marketing goals. They can also help you find top-performing posts, which you can use to guide your social media strategy.

All three platforms pull social media analytics automatically. But as G2 reviews show, the end results are pretty different.

G2 comparison of Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse social analyticsG2 comparison of Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse social analytics

G2 reviewers rank Agorapulse first (8.8) for social analytics. Sprout Social takes second (8.7), while Buffer is a distant third (7.9). As this G2 reviewer explains, Buffer’s analytics are less advanced:

G2 review of Buffer's analyticsG2 review of Buffer's analytics

Agorapulse reports cover all the basics, including audience growth, impressions across social channels, and top-performing posts. You can automate reports so they send to internal and external stakeholders weekly or monthly.

Agorapulse engagement analytics dashboardAgorapulse engagement analytics dashboard

But that’s just the beginning. With Agorapulse’s power reports, you can create custom reports for brands, channels, and campaigns. Since you can choose which metrics to add, you can build reports that meet your team’s or clients’ needs.

Agorapulse ROI analytics dashboardAgorapulse ROI analytics dashboard

And with Agorapulse’s return on investment (ROI) reports, you can see exactly how much traffic and revenue your social media efforts have generated. These reports break down ROI by profile, channel, campaign, or post—so you can see exactly what’s creating value. (If you want to see this for yourself, book a demo right now and see!)

Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse: Which has the optimal pricing model?

Ideally, you want the social media management tool with the right mix of features and pricing that works with your budget. Use the comparison below to find the plan that fits your needs and your budget.

Sprout Social’s pricing is the highest (by far)

Sprout Social has user-based pricing, so the larger your team, the more you’d need to pay. The platform’s entry-level Standard plan starts at $249 per month for the first user and $199 for each additional seat.

Sprout Social pricing tableSprout Social pricing table

If you need to manage more than five social profiles, you’d need to upgrade to the mid-tier Professional plan, which offers unlimited social profiles. This plan starts at $399 per month for the first user and $299 per month for each additional seat.

If you want access to Sprout Social’s automation tools and content library, you’d need to upgrade to the Advanced plan. Plan to pay $499 per month for the first user and $349 per month for each additional seat.

Sprout Social also has an Enterprise plan with tailored consulting and prioritized customer service. You’d need to contact the sales team for custom pricing.

As this G2 reviewer reveals, Sprout’s base-level plans don’t include all features. You’d have to pay for a premium add-on for advanced analytics or any listening features:

G2 review of Sprout Social's pricingG2 review of Sprout Social's pricing

Buffer’s pricing is the lowest (for a reason)

Unlike Sprout Social, Buffer’s plans use profile-based pricing. The more profiles you manage, the more you’d need to pay.

Buffer pricing tableBuffer pricing table

The platform’s entry-level Essentials plan supports one user for $6 per profile per month. So, if you need to manage 10 profiles, you’d pay $60 per month.

If you need to collaborate with team members or clients, you’d need to upgrade to the Team plan. This mid-tier plan allows unlimited users for $12 per profile per month. So, 10 profiles would cost $120 per month.

Buffer also has an Agency plan, which starts at $120 per month for 10 channels. You can add on extra channels for $6 each per month.

So, what’s the catch? Buffer’s pricing is the lowest of the three, but the platform has far fewer features than either Agorapulse or Sprout Social. You’d need a separate tool to manage engagement and social listening.

Agorapulse’s affordable pricing includes all essential tools

All Agorapulse plans include a single user and 10 social profiles. You can easily customize any plan to meet your needs. You can add more users by multiplying the base price, and you can add more social profiles for $10 per month.

Agorapulse pricing tableAgorapulse pricing table

If you’re a solo social media manager, you can publish content, manage engagement, and create reports with the Standard plan for $69 per month ($49 with annual billing). If you need team workflows, social listening, and advanced publishing tools, the Professional plan may be a better fit for $99 per month ($79 with annual billing).

And, if you want shared calendars, a content library, automated inbox features, and advanced ROI reports, the Advanced plan is your best bet. It starts at $149 per month for the first user ($119 with annual billing).

Designed for agencies and large teams, the Custom plan supports unlimited profiles and unlimited shared calendars. It also comes with a dedicated account manager to help your team succeed.

If you’d like to test drive it first, sign up now for a free trial.

Compared to Sprout Social and Buffer, Agorapulse Is Best for Agencies

When you manage social media at the agency level, you need a plan that meets your unique needs. In other words, you need support for more profiles, client access options, and white label reports, to name a few.

Agorapulse’s Advanced plan works for smaller agencies, while our Custom plan has unlimited social profiles for larger agencies. Both plans include agency-focused features like:

  • Shared calendars so clients can review and approve content.
  • Approval workflows that can include internal and external stakeholders.
  • Power reports so you can create and automate customized white label reports.
  • Social listening so you can help clients monitor their brand reputation.
  • Automated inbox features so you can manage engagement more efficiently.
  • Bulk publishing so you can schedule content across profiles quickly.
  • Advanced social ROI reports so you can show clients the value of your work.

In comparison, Buffer’s Agency plan is certainly scalable for small or large agencies. But because it lacks a true social inbox and any social listening tools, your agency would need additional tools to cover all the bases.

Sprout Social’s Advanced plan could meet some agencies’ needs. But with a starting price of $499 per month, it would get expensive quickly for large teams. Sprout Social does have an agency partner program with agency-specific pricing, but it requires an unspecified minimum investment in the platform.
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Wrapping Up Our Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse Comparison

It’s easy to see why G2 and Capterra reviewers rank Agorapulse ahead of both Buffer and Sprout Social. With our full slate of social media management features and our customizable plans, Agorapulse is ideal for small businesses, mid-size teams, and large agencies alike.

Ready to join over 30,000 social media managers who already use our platform to grow their brands on social media? Sign up for a free trial (no credit card required) trial and test our social media solution for 30 days at no cost.

Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse: Which Is Best for Your Team?Sprout Social vs Buffer vs Agorapulse: Which Is Best for Your Team?

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