Native vs. third-party tools: Which is the most popular publishing tool for brands?


Veena Ramakrishnan

July 24, 2019 6 min read

Updated on August 8, 2019

280 characters are all that brands need to have real-time conversations with their customers. With over 320 million active users and 500 million tweets published every day, Twitter is a great platform for brands to engage with their customers.

Brands leverage publishing tools to perform better on social. Publishing tools help you manage multiple social profiles from a single platform, schedule posts in advance, track your social performance, and much more.

They also have publishing workflows to take content through approval levels (ie. your boss or your client) before being shared on social media – helping you avoid any “oops!” moments. You can even preview how the content will look before it gets published. In addition to that, it helps you save time and makes it hassle-free to plan and schedule posts.

Given that there are hundreds of publishing tools out there, we were curious about which social media publishing tools were the most popular. We did a little bit of digging using Unmetric to see what the tweet source was for major B2B and B2C brands. Did they prefer third-party tools over native tools or is it the other way around or is it a bit of both?

About this report

This report was put together using Unmetric Analyze. It listens to over 100,000 brands to help our clients create more engaging content, get more certainty around their social strategy, and automate their reporting.

Twitter web client runs the show

Of the 300 major brands we analyzed, 94% used the Twitter web client in the last 6 months to publish their tweets. This was followed by Twitter for iPhone and Twitter ads composer, at 67% and 58% respectively.

Tweet source

By doing a little more digging we found that some brands tweeted more via the Twitter web client than any other source. For instance, Sephora had the highest number of tweets published via the Twitter web client. Sephora, which tweeted 382 times in the last six months, used the Twitter web client to publish 91% of their tweets, with the remaining 9% tweeted via third-party tools.

Twitter for iPhone came in second as the most popular tweet source. Although just 3% (4.5K) of the total tweets (155K) were published via this native source, 202 brands used it to publish tweets. The tweet types published via Twitter for iPhone were a mix of proactive tweets, retweets, and replies, so it’s not like it’s being used for one tweet type.

We also discovered that of the 300 brands, 23% used more than one third-party publishing tool to publish tweets. Brands like CVS, Pizza Hut, and Target use three different third-party tools to publish tweets and even then, they tweeted more via the Twitter web client and Twitter for iPhone.

Despite Twitter’s native publishing tools having limited features to offer, a large number of brands used them to publish tweets. While there aren’t definitive reasons as to why brands prefer using native tools, perhaps the ease of functionality and cost factors may have something to do with this – sometimes you just gotta tweet and to hell with all those corporate processes and workflows.

Twitter’s native tools may have clinched the title as the popular publishing platform, but the volume of tweets published via the native tools when compared to the third-party tools painted a different story.

Only 30% of the total tweets were published using native tools while 70% were published via third-party tools. This makes native tools the most popular while third party tools are the most preferred.

Publishing tools that topped the chart:

While the Twitter web client stole the show as the most popular tweet source, some third-party tools topped the chart as the most preferred publishing tools. Here are five publishing tools with features that have more to offer than what is perceived.

1. Hootsuite Inc.

Hootsuite is an extensive platform for all your social media needs. The solutions offered are comprehensive and essential to manage your social footprint. Hootsuite offers an array of features to help you manage and publish compelling social content. The tool allows you to schedule your tweets at optimal times to help give your social presence a boost. In addition to that, you can even bulk publish social messages across all social networks and easily connect with content storage solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive, and more.


Its cross-channel integration makes it easy to manage all social accounts in one place. Some of its significant features that simplify social media management include scheduling, monitoring, and content curation. Hootsuite Analytics provides you with digestible insights that allow you to amplify your audience reach.

Pricing: $29 – $129 per month
G2Crowd Rating: 4.1

2. Salesforce Social Studio

Salesforce Social Studio is a social media management suite that allows you to listen to real-time conversations about your brand. By analyzing conversations, brands can curate content that best resonates with their audience. The publishing feature allows you to draft, share, schedule, approve content, and securely manage your company’s social presence across different social networks.

Salesforce Studio

Their custom-built dashboards allow you to get insights on trending topics and gather market intelligence. The tool also helps to curate your content and manage it across all social channels.

Pricing: $400 per month
G2Crowd Rating: 3.5

3. Buffer

Buffer offers all the basic requirements a brand needs to manage their social accounts. Buffer Publish makes scheduling social posts a breeze! You can schedule your posts and track their performance within the platform to fine-tune your social strategy. Their built-in own channel analytics is a bonus for brands to keep track of their content performance. Buffer Publish currently supports Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Buffer app

Pricing: $15 – $199 per month
G2Crowd Rating: 4.3

4. Percolate

Percolate is a one-stop platform for all your content marketing needs. Percolate has an excellent content production workflow that helps manage and visualize your content lifecycle. Using the tool’s “Kanban boards” you can manage content at different stages of its lifecycle, assign it within your team, and publish and schedule the content across different social networks.


Pricing: N/A
G2Crowd Rating: 3.5

5. Clarabridge

Clarabridge is a comprehensive customer engagement platform that delivers solutions built to enhance the customer experience. The tool is more about providing customer service than a publishing platform like Hootsuite. The tool’s social media analytics provides in-depth insights on mentions of your brand on social. Clarabridge helps understand your global audience by listening to what they are saying about you and how you can and should react to them. In addition to the publishing feature, the tool also monitors your campaign performance.


Pricing: N/A
G2Crowd Rating: 4.2


While both native and third-party tools help you to publish tweets, the ease of use and performance factors help you decide the most preferred tweet source. Publishing tools have more to offer than native tools especially for brands that manage multiple social accounts. The five tools we’ve mentioned in this article offer more than that to help you perform better and achieve your social goals.

But how do you know what to publish?

That’s where Unmetric comes in. It helps you ideate new ideas, measure the performance of your content, and benchmark it against your competitors so that you can improve your social strategy.

See how Unmetric Analyze can help with your social and engagement strategy.


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