This post was originally published by Goldbach Interactive in early July 2012. Many thanks to Dominic Stöcklin for allowing us to publish it on this blog.
Social Media Monitoring Tool Report 2012
Social media monitoring is becoming more important than ever before. The tool market has grown exponentially in the last two years and now includes well over two hundred tools. Faced with such a selection, it can be overwhelming to know which tool is best suited to a company’s needs. For this reason, as well as to present the strengths of each tool provider, Goldbach Interactive publishes a yearly report on social media monitoring. In this year’s report, we have created an infographic displaying the most crucial key figures.
Comparing tools in different categories
This year eighteen of the two hundred aforementioned tools are particularly convincing. We were able to compare fifteen of these directly with each other based on the criteria listed below. The remaining three follow a full-service approach and are thus not directly comparable with the others since they tailor the solution specifically to the individual needs of a single client
Categories Data coverage/ worldwide presence (quality of source coverage, historical data, clients in multiple countries)
• Setup (services and support, entering search terms)
• Engagement (social profiles, conversation history, workflow, alert functions)
• Reporting (e-mail reports, individual dashboards)
• Additional functions (sentiment, filtering possibilities, mobile access)
• Design (usability, optics)
• Price-performance ratio
International source coverage and simple setup
Where data coverage and worldwide presence are concerned, Brandwatch, Visible Intelligence and SM2 are the tools of choice. The latter offers historical data back to 2007 and a significant worldwide presence (i.e. a solid international client base). Visible Intelligence features a rich range of source coverage and allows access to its entire data set for more than a year.
Meltwater Buzz, Brandwatch and Sysomos Heartbeat are the leading tools for the setup category. Meltwater Buzz has a solid and straightforward setup interface, while at the same time offering a substantial support system. Brandwatch is not only quickly installed, but also impresses us with its fascinating functions for entering search terms (e.g. the command to search for plural). Sysomos Heartbeat stands out as one of the best options because of its extensive setup possibilities and a dual data filtering system (first giving the web a once-over, than filtering the results).
Convincing in Dialogue, Reporting and Design
As for engagement, Radian6 is by far the front-runner with its own engagement console. Engagor is nevertheless impressive with a clearly laid out workflow system of “inbox”, “outbox” and “follow-up” tabs. Moreover, the assigned tasks are already pictured on the dashboard. UberVU offers a great deal of interactive options with the users as well as good workflow functionalities with a tagging system.
Radian6 is again in the lead with reporting, though uberVU, Sysomos Heartbeat and Engagor are all hot on its heels. Radian6’s presentation of data via diverse dashboards leaves nothing to be desired. UberVU and Engagor are also very good in reporting and deliver versatile and individualised solutions. Sysomos Heartbeat once again convinces us of its quality through its multiple alert settings.
Further functions that we researched were sentiment analysis, filtering possibilities, and the adjustment of mobile terminal devices. Yet again we see Radian6 in first place – closely followed by Sysomos Heartbeat, Meltwater Buzz and Brandwatch. Radian6 offers countless data presentation and filtering possibilities. Brandwatch provides sentiment analyses in twenty languages while Sysomos Heartbeat offers the opportunity to create an individual filter and save it on the dashboard.
With regard to design, Engagor and uberVU are particularly impressive due to their intuitive management, user friendliness and remarkable celerity. Sysomos Heartbeat sets itself apart with a tidy interface and clearly laid out data. Brandwatch wins us over by its diverse adjustment techniques that are available for the presentation of data on each tab of the tool.
A Good Price-Performance Relationship
ComMonitor (Netbreeze) and Viralheat offer the best price-performance ratios. Understandably, these particular tools have fewer functions than more expensive ones. However, for the respective cost they offer very good solutions. Sysomos Heartbeat features a large number of search terms, making it one of the best price-performance ratios in a higher price range.
Certain tool providers granted us the opportunity to appraise their functions more fully and afforded us a demo account with its own searches/queries. In this way, we were able to directly compare the tools and analyse the collected data. Sysomos Heartbeat and Radian6 trumped the other tools. They also had the largest number of results for German, French and English searches. Even when filtering by country (Germany England, Japan, Thailand, China), both of these tools faired much better, i.e. produced better results, than the rest of the providers.
In addition to the fifteen tools that we analysed via various categories, there are some convincing full-service tools on the market. These solutions set store by setup, customer needs and support. When one is faced with exceptionally complex demands, these are the tools that best fit the bill. The unique nature of the tools does of course mean that there also will be a bigger bill.
Of the three tools mentioned here, Synthesio is the one that impressed us the most. It offers the most interesting possibilities through its personal support system and categorisation of collected data. Cogia Intellectis a keeper because of its independently programmed search algorithms. Gridmaster shows its strength in the quality of the findings.
From this report we gain two insights: one for the companies or organisations that would like to implement a monitoring tool and the other for Goldbach Interactive as a social media competence centre.
Before a company or organisation decides on a monitoring tool, it is of utmost importance to ascertain whether or not the tool provider already has a client base in the respective country or at least within the corresponding language area. This is a reliable index for sufficient source coverage. When choosing the tools themselves, the requirements, capabilities and various functions should be taken into consideration. The categories we have presented here can be weighted in order to identify the most meaningful tools in each of the categories. After the choice has been made, one only has to thoroughly test the chosen tool.
The lesson Goldbach Interactive takes with from this report is that the social media monitoring market is currently offering a greater diversity of tools than ever before. The fact that the tools reflect varying strengths across the board prevents us from declaring a clear ranking of tools. This point not withstanding, some tools dominate regardless of which category we look at: Radian6, Sysomos Heartbeat, Brandwatch, Engagor or Meltwater Buzz. “Monitoring tool” is becoming a bit of a misnomer for most providers, since they are offering more and more functions that go above and beyond monitoring alone. The tools are developing in the direction of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and are thereby partially facilitating the integration of existing CRM systems. Furthermore, these tool providers are offering ever better engagement and deliver increasingly diverse insights via reporting and analytic functions. It is worth noting, however, that not a single tool manages all functions perfectly.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions, queries or suggestions regarding the report – or even leave a comment on our blog!
We would like to sincerely thank the tool providers for their collaboration on this project.
The following infograhic lists the eighteen best tools in alphabetical order and highlights the varying qualities of the direct comparisons. Do you want to embed our infographic on your website or blog? Just copy the following code!
Though we were not able to work in detail with SoDash because of some missing data, we will take a closer look at it at a later date. Adobe Social is also of interest and will be paid due attention following its next release.