January 12, 2011

Top 20 social media monitoring vendors for business

A screen grab from Sysomos.

A comparison of the major monitoring & engagement services: Radian6, Lithium, Attensity360 & 17 more

Target audience: Brands, corporations, mid-size to large businesses. See Socialbrite’s series on social media monitoring:
Guide to monitoring social media conversations
20 free, awesome social media monitoring tools
10 paid social media monitoring services for nonprofits

By J.D. Lasica and Kim Bale

The online landscape is saturated with more than 200 tools and platforms claiming to be able to help you track and assess mentions of your business or brand in social media channels. While there remains a lot of churn in the field, a number of listening platforms have evolved to help you go beyond basic monitoring into an integrated approach that helps inform multiple parts of your business: product development, customer support, public outreach, lead generation, market research and campaign measurement.

Born as a way to respond to crises and manage brand reputation, social media monitoring, or brand monitoring — which ties into social media measurement and analysis — is finally maturing into a business process that helps the bottom line.

A comparison of pricing, features & clients you rarely see on the open Web.Today we’ll turn the tables on these companies and offer some business intelligence that you rarely see available on the open Web: a comparison of social media monitoring vendors, with descriptions of their strengths, clients and pricing. Many offer end-to-end solutions, providing not just tracking capabilities but a rich set of analytics and response tools to help you grow your business and engage with individuals who influence broad swaths of the market.

Social media monitoring vendors come in all shapes and flavors. Some cater to small business with modest budgets that want to handle monitoring analysis internally. Others service global corporations that want access to expert analysts as well as a robust suite of social tools that plug into business processes. So this roundup is admittedly mixing apples and oranges. (See our discussion of social CRM below.)

To draw some distinctions, we’ve broken this package into two groupings:

• 20+ social media monitoring & engagement vendors for business (below)
10 lower-priced monitoring services for nonprofits & organizations (on our sister site, Sociabrite.org)

Monitoring should plug into your business processes

Companies that will succeed in the 21st century will be social businesses, committed to forging deep and meaningful relationships with their customers. So use the new year as a fresh impetus to create a Social Media Plan (Socialmedia.biz can help with that), begin monitoring and consider evaluating an outside vendor by signing up for a free trial.

Keep in mind: Listening to conversations and gathering data is only one phase of a multi-step process that also involves engagement, metrics and acting on what you learn. As Jeff Nolan writes, “In its most pure form, social media monitoring is both listening and responding to social channels.”

Here is our guide to the Top 20 Social Media Monitoring Vendors for Business. Have your own favorites? Please add them in the comments below! And if you have any corrections or updates to the information here, please share that as well.


Radian6/Salesforce Cloud: A proven solution for big brands

1Radian 6, purchased by Salesforce in 2011, works with brands to help them listen more intelligently to your consumers, competitors and influencers with the goal of growing your business via detailed, real-time insights. Beyond their monitoring dashboard, which tracks mentions on more than 100 million social media sites, they offer an engagement console that allows you to coordinate your internal responses to external activity by immediately updating your blog and Twitter and Facebook accounts all in one spot. Fully automated. Cost: The dashboard starts at $600/month, though registered nonprofits can apply for two free uses per year under the company’s Giving Back program. They also offer free trials to students and educators for research and project purposes. Radian6 uses a monthly subscription based pricing model, with the monthly fee varying depending on the number of topics monitored each month. Clients: Red Cross, Adobe, AAA, Cirque du Soleil, H&R Block, March of Dimes, Microsoft, Pepsi, Southwest Airlines — a wide range of clients. Owner: Independent. Also: See our interview with the CEO of Radian6.


Collective Intellect: Social media intelligence gathering

2Boulder, Colo.-based Collective Intellect, which started out by providing monitoring to financial firms, has evolved into a top-tier player in the marketplace of social media intelligence gathering. Using a combination of self-serve client dashboards and human analysis, Collective Intellect offers a robust monitoring and measurement tool suited to mid-size to large companies with its Social CRM Insights platform. It applies spam management techniques and text analysis to clean data sets, delivering customers rich intelligence.Cost: Pricing starts at $300/month and scales based on specific client needs, according to published reports. Clients: General Mills, NBC Universal, Pepsi, Walmart, Unilever, Advertising Age, CBS, Dole, MTV Networks, MillerCoors, Paramount, Verizon Wireless, Viacom, Hasbro, Siemens. Owner: Independent.


Lithium: Adjust your campaign on the fly

3Lithium monitors your search-specific mentions and sentiment in social media outlets and outputs them into easy-to-read graphs and numbers resembling the stock market. Lithium will aggregate information from a variety of platforms including blog posts and comments, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and many others, and it’ll assess emotions surrounding your brand pre-, mid- and post campaign so you can adjust your strategies accordingly. We miss ScoutLabs, which is now part of Lithium. Cost: Base plan of $249/month for five users and five searches. Free 14-day trial. Clients: Best Buy, BT, Barnes & Noble, FICO, Disney Online, Stubhub, Motorola, Coca Cola, Focus Features, Netflix. Owner: Independent. Lithium bought ScoutLabs in May 2010.

Sysomos: Manage conversations in real time

4Sysomos’s Heartbeat is a real-time monitoring and measurement tool that provides constantly updated snapshots of social media conversations delivered using a variety of user-friendly graphics. Heartbeat organizes conversations, manages workflow, facilitates collaboration and provides ways to engage with key influencers. For more, see ReadWrite review. Sysomos also offers a Media Analysis Platform. Cost: Entry-level price of $500/month. Clients: IBM, HSBC, Roche, Ketchum, Sony Ericsson, Philips, ConAgra, Edelman, Shell Oil, Nokia, Sapient, Citi, Interbrand. Owner: Marketwire.


Attensity360: Actionable insights

5Attensity360 operates on four key principles: listen, analyze, relate, act. Attensity360 will help monitor trending topics, influencers and the reach of your brand while recommending ways to join the conversation. Attensity Analyze applies text analytics to unstructured text to extract meaning and uncover trends. Attensity Respond helps automate the routing of incoming social media mentions into user-defined queues. Cost: $399/month for one license. Discounts for longer subscriptions. Free 15-day trial. Clients: Whirlpool, Vodofone, Versatel, TMobile, Oracle, Wiley. Owner: Independent. Attensity bought Biz360 in spring 2010.


Alterian SM2: Providing daily brand sentiment

6UK-based Alterian SM2 tracks mentions on blogs, forums, social networks like Facebook, microblogs like Twitter, wikis, video and photo sharing sites, Craigslist and ePinions. SM2 monitors the daily volume, demographics, location, tone and emotion of conversations surrounding a brand and aggregates results into positive and negative categories for quick review by anyone on staff. Cost: Pricing is based on volume of results and ranges from $500/month to $15,000/month. “Freemium” trial plan allows for five keyword or phrase searches and a total of 1,000 results. Alterian also provides additional custom solutions. Clients: Rosetta, MDAnderson, Pursuit, YouCast. Owner: Independent. Alterian bought Techrigy in July 2009.

crimson hexagon

Crimson Hexagon: Actionable data for your business

7Cambridge, Mass.-based Crimson Hexagon taps into billions of conversations taking place in online media and turns them into actionable data for better brand understanding and improvement. Based on a technology licensed from Harvard, its VoxTrot Opinion is able to analyze vast amounts of qualitative information and determine quantitative proportion of opinion. Cost: Pricing based on number of seats or number of searches. Clients: CNN, Hanes, AT&T, HP, Johnson & Johnson, Mashable, Microsoft, Monster, AdWeek, Thomson Reuters, Rubbermaid, Sybase, the Huffington Post, A&E, the Wall Street Journal. Owner: Independent.


Spiral16: Flexible pricing, competitive analysis

8Spiral16 takes an in-depth look at who is saying what about a brand and compares results with those of top competitors. The goal is to help you monitor the effectiveness of your social media strategy, understand the sentiment behind conversations online and mine large amounts of data. It uses impressive 3D displays and a standard dashboard. Cost: Pricing starts at $500 for five queries or Internet searches, though there is no solid pricing model and Spiral16 will work with companies to tailor plans that fit their budget. Online demo available. Clients: Toyota, Lee, Cadbury. Owner: Independent.


Webtrends: Mobile & social analytics

9Webtrends offers services geared toward monitoring, measuring, analyzing, profiling and targeting audiences for a brand. The partner-based platform allows for crowd-sourced improvements and problem solving, creating transparency of their products and services. Cost: Pricing varies depending on packages and services chosen, but Webtrends is geared to big players. Social Accelerator packages start at $15,000/year, app packages start at $1,500 to $12,000/year. Clients: CBS, NBC Universal, 20th Century Fox, AOL, Electronic Arts, Lifetime, AA, Glam, Nestle, the City of Calgary. Owner: Independent.

Spredfast: Campaign & social media management

10We weren’t sure whether to include Spredfast in this Top 20 roundup because of its versatility. it’s not only a monitoring service but a social media management, measurement and campaign tool — in other words, a full-on social media dashboard and integrated communications client (Threadsy is another). In the end, Spredfast made the cut because you can pull relevant conversations from multiple networks into your dashboard, track referrals and conversions, summon up analytics and jump straight to analysis and reports. See our recent full review. Cost: Pricing begins at $250/month for businesses. Clients: AOL, Nokia, IBM, Sierra Club. Owner: Independent start-up.

nm incite

NM Incite: Going for depth

11Global brands look to NM Incite‘s expertise across marketing, sales, product development, customer service, business strategy development and in deep verticals for monitoring and social media intelligence. This is a service geared to multinationals rather than nonprofits or mid-size companies. Cost: Five figures is typical. Clients: Toyota, ConAgra, Intel, Sony, Nokia, AOL, HBO, Barclays, Whirlpool, GE, Discovery, Coca-Cola. Owner: NM Incite is a joint venture of the Nielson Co. and McKinsey & Co. Nielsen Buzzmetrics was spun off into NM Incite as part of its launch in June 2010.


Converseon: Tech + human analysts

12New York-based social-media consulting firm Converseon, named a leader in the social media monitoring sector by Forrester Research, builds tailored dashboards for its enterprise installations and offers professional services around every step of the social business intelligence process. Converseon starts with the technology and adds human analysis, resulting in high-quality data and impressive functionality. Cost: Pricey. Cost varies according to which suite is used. Clients: Dow, Amway, Graco, other major brands. Converseon has more than 200,000 customers and 10,000 channel partners in 100 countries. Owner: Independent.


dna13: An emphasis on simplicity

13Ottawa-based dna13‘s MediaVantage will monitor all of your media coverage and present it in an easy-to-read format allowing you to respond from one platform. dna13 provides on-demand software solutions for brand and reputation management, including a PR and corporate communications software suite and a monitoring service for real-time insight into brand, reputation, competitors and industry issues. Cost: Packages start at $560/month. Initial $500 set-up fee. Clients: Wachovia, Miami Heat. Owner: CNW Group Co.

Attentio: Track global conversations

14Belgium-based Attentio tracks global conversations taking place across social media (blogs, forums, social networks, Twitter, YouTube) and online news sites. The multilingual service offers brand reputation management, campaign/product release impact, sales opportunity tracking and sentiment analysis along with a dashboard to track media in real time. Cost: Pricing starts at £500 ($775 US) per month for a one-year subscription; costs for tailored reports begin at £5,000 ($7,750) . Clients: Johnson & Johnson, Skype, Microsoft, Disney. Owner: Independent.


Visible Technologies: High-end monitoring & analysis

15In the fall 2010 Visible Technologies replaced its truCAST technology with Visible Intelligence, its new enterprise social intelligence platform and services. The new platform helps clients monitor, analyze and participate in social media conversations as well as protect their executive and corporate brands online. Visible adds analyst support to their client servicing to help you understand the landscape and determine which intelligence to act on. Arrange a demo via @Visible_Tech on Twitter. Cost: Typically $25,000 to $45,000, according to press reports. Clients: Microsoft, Vail Resorts, Xerox, Boost. Owner: Independent.


Cymfony: Enterprise-class monitoring platform

16Cymfony provides market influence analytics by scanning and interpreting the millions of voices at the intersection of social and traditional media. It offers a listening and influence platform, Maestro, that integrates distinctive technology with input from expert analysts to identify the people, issues and trends impacting a business. All the standard metrics are included: posts/conversations, tonality, influencers, share of voice and so on. Cost: Pricey but competitive with other deep monitoring and analytics firms. Clients: Fortune 2000 clients. (A lack of transparency may be telling.) Owner: A unit of Kantar Media.


Buzzcapture: Insights into market buzz

17Amsterdam-based Buzzcapture provides insight to organizations on the buzz in their market. Buzzcapture can track companies, products, product families, business lines, difficult or complex brands, topics, competitors, influencers, evangelists, critics and campaigns. All the information collected is analyzed and presented into understandable reports and entered into your dashboard. Cost: Typical price range is EU10,000 to EU70,000 ($13,000 to $91,000 US) for each research topic or group of products, with a standard license costing €30,000 ($39,000 US). Clients: TNT, Vodofone, ING, Nissan, BMW, Microsoft, AstraZeneca. Owner: Independent.


BuzzLogic: Tied to ad buy

18BuzzLogic uses its technology platform to identify and organize the conversation universe, combining both conversation topic and audience to help brands reach audiences who are passionate on everything from the latest tech craze and cloud computing to parenthood and politics. However, the social media monitoring tool is no longer available as a standalone product. It now comes as part of BuzzLogic’s ad platform, requiring a media buy to connect to unique audiences through BuzzLogic. Cost: Unknown. Clients: Starbucks, American Express, HBO, HP, Microsoft. Focus on advertisers. Owner: Independent.


Meltwater Buzz: Overseas strength

19Released in April 2009, Meltwater Buzz monitors, tracks and analyzes user-generated content on more than 200 million social media sites to help a brand understand its user sentiment and gauge competition. All data is stored in one intuitive, easy-to-use dashboard and a customer support representative is provided for the duration of the subscription. Meltwater, founded in Norway in 2001, now has 50 offices around the globe. It’s worth mentioning that they come from a traditional media tracking background, and with purchase of BuzzGain in February 2010, they added many more social media monitoring capabilities. BuzzGain is now baked into Meltwater Buzz. Cost: Standard subscription of one year for $13,000 gets you access for three to five users. Clients: Porsche Automotive North America, Vita-Mix, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Bausch & Lomb, Pabst Blue Ribbon and other corporations, nonprofits, government agencies. Owner: Meltwater Group.

Brandwatch: A focus on brand mentions

20UK-based Brandwatch trawls the Internet looking at news, blogs, forums, wikis and social networking sites and finding mentions of brands, companies, products and people. Clients define keywords (brands, topics, people names, products) and receive reports and brand summaries that they can take action on. Cost: Pricing, based on a monthly subscription, starts at about $300/month. It operates on a per keyword pricing model. Clients: Aviva, Activision, CheapFlights, The Body Shop. Owner: Independent.

Note: BuzzGain, which was originally listed at No. 19, has been absorbed into Meltwater.

Social CRM or simply monitoring services?


In this overview I sought to avoid the insidery, wonky discussion around social CRM (customer relationship management), but it’s worth a quick mention. Paul Greenberg, organizer of the first Social CRM Summit last year, explains SCRM this way:

Social CRM is a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, processes and social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment. It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.

Jacob Morgan, principal of Chess Media Group, points out that social CRM means different things to different people. While the vendors listed above offer robust social media monitoring and listening tools, they plug into their clients’ business and social CRM processes in different ways (see Chess Media’s chart above and its free Guide to Understanding Social CRM).

“Two years ago, all the vendors you mentioned called themselves social media vendors,” Morgan said. “Now that social CRM is the hot term, all of the vendors simply changed the name from social media to social CRM. Everything else is the same.”

Other paid social media monitoring solutions

There are literally dozens of social media monitoring services in the marketplace, so this roundup is meant as a guide to the top-tier vendors rather than a comprehensive list. If you’ve had success with other vendors, please mention them in the comments below.

Disclaimer: We have worked with some, but not all, of the companies above; in such cases, we’ve based our assessment on recommendations from colleagues, pricing and perceived value. Please note that many of the other monitoring vendors listed outside the Top 20 also deserve consideration, based on your company’s specific needs, costs, features and if you find a good cultural and personality fit.

Our accompanying piece in this package on Socialbrite, 10 paid monitoring services for nonprofits and organizations, offers short capsule reviews of Trackur, Thrive, eCairn, Hootsuite, BuzzStream and other monitoring services.

You may have good results with some of these additional services:

Amplified Analytics: This tool is geared chiefly toward product reviews and marketers interested in tracking reviews across multiple sites.

Appinions: “Automatically filters and aggregates thoughts, feelings and statements from traditional and social media.”

Atlassian: Australian-based software company with global reach, offers tools to track, test and collaborate on the social Web.

Bit.ly Pro: The Pro version offers custom short links like pep.si (for Pepsi) and 4sq.com (for Foursquare), a dashboard that lets you monitor the real-time aggregate traffic of your shared content across the bit.ly universe, and easy integration with tools like Tweetdeck and CoTweet.

Cision: Cision (formerly Bacon’s Information) monitors social, print, broadcast and online media outlets, then organizes the information, which a dedicated analyst delivers to a company’s in-box every day via an executive news briefing. Cision searches more than 100 million sources to assess conversations about a brand. Clients include UCLA, Gerber and R&R Partners.

CustomScoop: BuzzPerception: A veteran in the media monitoring space, CustomScoop monitors traditional and social media, calling themselves the “leading application for online news clipping.” BuzzPerception includes a phase of human filtering to generate the most relevant results for a brand. Pricing starts at $299/month. Jen Zingsheim, a representative, provides this update: “While we started out as a traditional media ‘clipping service,’ we’ve been including blog content for years and also monitor Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and more. We can tailor reporting to fit client needs, and have a robust suite of analytical tools, too — along with a free, 2-week trial to see if we fit your needs.”

Digimind: Digimind designs and develops Digimind Evolution, a Competitive Intelligence Management software platform that enables companies to deploy and to manage competitive intelligence units and projects.

Dow Jones Insight, owned by News Corporation, touts a wide array of languages and geographies, a global footprint and a less-than-stellar dashboard. Its hefty $5,000/month pricetag is based on the fact that it’s heavily based on analysts’ involvement.

Evolve24 is a competitive listening platform that specializes in reputation management. Evolve24 is a smaller player in the market with only about 20 customers but its customer base consists of large enterprise-level installations.

FindAgent: Founded in 2002, UK-based FindAgent specializes in digital media monitoring and media analysis. Focusing purely on online content, the company, owned by OpenAmplify, has developed technologies to find, analyze and manage mentions in social media and traditional media. More than 500 companies use FindAgent’s semantic text analysis technology.

iCrossing is a global digital marketing agency that combines talent and technology to help world-class brands find and connect with their customers.

Jive: Jive Software, which acquired Filtrbox in 2010, offers a host of social media monitoring options.

Moreover Technologies: Moreover and its Newsdesk 4 offer tools for media monitoring, reputation management, market and competitive intelligence and content sharing from 1.8 million sources.

MotiveQuest: At the high end of monitoring services, MotiveQuest typically charges $70,000 per project, according to published reports. CEO David Rabjohns says MotiveQuest provides a full range of services. “You don’t have to use a dashboard. Just come to us with a business problem and we will help you find relevant insights. The core of our approach is digging beneath the buzz and the sentiment to identify primal human motivations. We have identified that these most strongly affect sales and share.” Clients include Microsoft, Nike, Citi, Audi and Kraft. MotiveQuest is positioned in the Strong Performer category in a 2006 Forrester report and it has a Slideshare presentation on leveraging motivations in social media.

MutualMind: A relative newcomer, MutualMind helps marketers, agencies and PR firms track discussions, understand sentiment, identify influencers and use the resulting insights to improve positioning and marketing strategy. Pricing ranges from $500 to several thousand dollars per month.

NetBase offers social media analysis tools that help marketing and sales professionals to understand consumer opinion, emotion and behavior online.

Nimble is an LA-based start-up due to come out of private beta soon with a promising set of monitoring capabilities across multiple networks. Says Nimble’s Maria Ogneva: “We tie monitoring to the customer record. The real beauty is that you can monitor based on a keyword, respond as you need and even create a task right from the social media mention — whether it happens to be a tweet, FB message, LI message — which can be edited, calendared, delegated and commented on for team workflow that ties back to the record — the key ingredient here.”

Optify is a real time marketing applications suite that offers several features to help you track, monitor and measure the success of your social media activities.

ReputationDefender: The company offers four suites of online reputation management and privacy controls.

RepuMetrix specializes in tracking online mentions that are perceived to be harmful to a brand’s reputation. Pricing starts at $350/month for one user.

RepuTrack: RepuTrack is a reputation monitoring service that tracks and analyzes the conversation around a brand and delivers it in an actionable way.

SAS Sentiment Analysis Manager: Part of SAS Text Analytics program, the Sentiment Analysis Manager “crawls content sources, including mainstream Web sites and social media outlets, as well as internal organizational text sources [and] creates reports that describe the expressed feelings of consumers, customers and competitors in real time.”

Sentiment Metrics: United Kingdom-based company provides tools to listen to consumer conversations across more than 20 million blogs, 5 million forum posts and 30,000 online news sources, social networks and microblogs, including Twitter. Clients include Sony, Subaru and HSBC.

Trendrr: Mostly focused on the entertainment community, Trendrr lets you track the popularity and awareness of trends across a variety of channels, ranging from social networks to blog buzz and video views downloads, all in real time. You can also have Trendrr do a Social Media Audit, providing an analysis of your social media presence, dissecting volume of mentions, sentiment, links, influencers, demographics and more. Pricing: $499 and $999/month, with enterprise package beginning at $2,499/month. NBC Universal’s Oxygen TV show “Bad Girls Club” is a client. Owner: Wiredset LLC.

Look for a shakeout in the field very soon. Other monitoring services include Attensa, Beevolve, blueReport, BrandsEye, Buzzient, CustomScoop, CyberAlert, Memery’s Dialogix (from Australia), Filtrbox, Imooty, Infegy Social Radar, InfoNgen, Ingage Networks, Jungle Torch, Lexalytics, ListenLogic, Looxii, Market Sentinel, MediaMiser, MutualMind, Networked Insights, Noteca, Position2 Brand Monitor, Press Army, ReputationHQ, Scup, Silverbakk, Social Report, Sprinklr, StrategyEye, Synthesio, Trendrr, Viralheat and Whitevector.

— Maria Ogneva, who heads up social media for Nimble, provided input for this article. Updated and revised on Jan. 13, 2011.


Radian6 and the Yellow Brick Road for Brands — our interview with the CEO of Radian6 (Socialmedia.biz)

Spredfast: A tool to organize your conversations (Socialmedia.biz)

Biz360 (now Attensity360): Tracking business intelligence (Socialmedia.biz)

Top 10 social media dashboard tools (Socialbrite)

14 free tools to measure your social influence (Socialbrite)

Social media monitoring: Articles (Socialbrite)

Social media metrics: Articles (Socialbrite)

The Forrester Wave: Listening Platforms, Q3 2010 (PDF)JD Lasica, founder of Socialmedia.biz, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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133 thoughts on “Top 20 social media monitoring vendors for business

  1. In addition to the SAS Sentiment Analysis Manager mentioned in the article, SAS also offers a Social Media Analytics solution which provides greater functioanlity for brand management. SAS Social Media Analytics integrates, analyzes and enables organizations to act on intelligence gleaned from online conversations occurring across professional and consumer-generated media sites. It enables organizations to attribute online conversations to specific parts of their business, allowing an accelerated response to shifts in the marketplace.

    • Thanks very much, James. It was hard to position this article — you're right, monitoring without analytics and engagement doesn't count for much.

  2. This is a fantastic, collective list. Candidly, there are some listening tools here I'm not even familiar with.

    Is this list in order of those you feel are the “best”? Meaning, in your opinion is Radian6 the “best of the best”?

    • Hi. Yes, that's the intent, with a big caveat: Any such list is highly subjective. It all depends on the specific needs of the client: feature set, pricing, how it plugs into their current business processes, cultural fit, and so on. And as we say, we're somewhat mixing apples and oranges here. But of the 200 services out there, these were the ones that we thought offered the most value.

  3. VMS, the broadcast monitoring company, now has a social media monitoring product that allows you monitor social media alone, or pay to monitor ALL media on one platform. The social media part uses the Attensity360 engine.

  4. Hi J.D. & Kim!

    Wow, what a great list! It's resources like these that really give the community a great overview of what's available to them when they first enter social media. Thanks very much for including us :)

    All the best,
    Genevieve Coates
    Community Analyst – Radian6

    • We're big fans of Radian6, Genevieve, and included a link to our interview with Marcel at the bottom. Continued success!!

  5. Great Post. I have used Hootsuite and a few others before, but will give Radian a try. Good to see the business models for social media BI solutions are evolving.

  6. J.D. and Kim,

    Great job on the list and breakdown of the info. I would love to hear from you both on Brandtology's Social Media Monitoring Services (http://www.brandtology.com/our-difference/how-brandtology-can-help/)” target=”_blank”> http://www.brandtology.com/our-difference/how-brandtology-can-help/)” target=”_blank”>(http://www.brandtology.com/our-difference/how-brandtology-can-help/) that focus on building custom crawlers that can help monitor niche social media communities that are important for B2B clients outside popular social media sites and provide additional human-sentiment verification and reporting services spanning the entire globe. I'd be glad to share more info with you :)


  7. Wow, this list is amazingly helpful. I've been trying to do this type of vetting myself and it's a tireless effort. Something I'm really interested in, is the accuracy of sentiment analysis. The consensus seems to be that all automated tools are unreliable, while human-powered systems seem to jack up cost and time considerably.

    A follow-up post I'd love to see is once you have these tools, how do you turn their data and slick graphs into easily actionable recommendations for executives.

  8. I am interested to know which listening tool most agencies use to get snapshot reports instead of day-to-day analysis. Looking for something for overal brand and employment brand direction instead of campaign tracking right now. I've already used Radian 6, Alter

    • NM Incite is a leader in analytics around brand needs regarding social media. We have analyst that are dedicated to each vertical that provide deep insights to our clients business needs through social media research. We excel in brand insights (Pre, during and post launch), category and competitor analysis, lexicon and advertising message development and much more. We are also the leader in white space analysis, an example is finding unmet customer needs or off label product usage. Our most recent case study is with Sony around monitoring brand health called brand advocacy quotient.

    • In my opinion after using Radian6, Meltwater Buzz and Brandwatch – Brandwatch is the clear winner. The advanced operators are a gods ends (I've managed to make the results for one HUGE client 99.9% relevant) and the speed in which is evolving is astounding!

      Brandwatch being at the bottom of the list is highly misleading since this is the case.

    • Not forgotten, Linda, just not in the top 20. This is primarily a monitoring comparison; analytics are obviously important too, as we mention.

  9. Great list. These really are some awesome tools. Would be great if you could put out a list of tools which are based in Asia and handle multiple languages quite well. And if possible do a comparision as well.


  10. Great analysis, thanks for mentioning MotiveQuest. A few points of clarification for you and your readers:

    – Yes MotiveQuest is a premium option but we are full service. You don't have to use a dashboard. Just come to us with a business problem and we will help you find relevant insights. http://www.forrester.com/rb/Research/motivequest_

    – Your write up of our methodology is not correct (please let me know where you got the info). Actually the core of our approach is digging beneath the buzz and the sentiment to identify primal human motivations. We have identified that these most strongly affect sales and share. Basic details here http://www.slideshare.net/motivequest/motive-ques

    – Finally our biggest clients include companies like Microsoft, Nike, Citi, Audi and Kraft.

    I would be happy to have a live chat sometime if you like. http://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrabjohns



    • David, thanks for pointing this out. Sounds like our source material was out of date. We relied on literally scores of online sources and had to judge which ones were reliable or not. In any case, we'll update the article now accordingly. Best of luck with MotiveQuest.

  11. HI JD and Kim
    Great work to put this together and taking time to evaluate all of these tools, and thank you for mentioning Synthesio. If you'd like I'm they're community manager and would happy to give you a tour. We typically work with large brands and agencies that want an enterprise-wide customized solution, including dashboards, reports, engagement platform, crisis monitoring, etc. in 30 languages.
    I'll be in touch, and happy new year !

    Michelle @Synthesio

    • Thanks much, Michelle. We'll take a closer look at Synthesio in the coming weeks and months!

  12. Thank you for mentioning Position2 Brand Monitor – there are a ton of new features and capabilities we've added to our monitoring platform, would love to give you an updated walkthrough on our new capabilities and new customers!

    Look forward to connecting with you,
    Head – Marketing, Position2

    • Thanks for letting us know about the new additions to Position2 Brand Monitor, Zubin. Definitely worth a look by interested parties!

  13. Thanks for including CustomScoop on the list–while we started out as a traditional media 'clipping service,' we've been including blog content for years and also monitor Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and more.

    We can tailor reporting to fit client needs, and have a robust suite of analytical tools, too (along with a free, 2-week trial to see if we fit your needs).

  14. J.D. and Kim,

    Thanks so much for including Visible in your top 20 list of social media monitoring vendors. As a quick update, in the fall of last year we introduced our new enterprise, Social Intelligence platform and services – Visible Intelligence, replacing truCAST. We’d love to get you up to speed on our new offering. Feel free to contact me to arrange a demo at: @Visible_Tech or via email: [email protected].

    Best regards,

    Jennifer Rodriguez
    Director of Community Outreach
    Visisble Technologies

    • Ah, thanks, Jennifer. We'd heard so much about truCAST but hadn't heard about the update. (That's why we ask for the community to chime in … we're a fairly small team here.) I'll update the piece. I'm sure I'll see you at a conference soon!

      • Sounds good – thanks! Let me know if I can provide you with any additional info or answer any questions.


  15. JD and Kim – You guys rock. Thanks for doing all the leg work and compiling this list. We work with a lot of big brands and are always needing to know the latest about monitoring tools but there are several here that I don't know anything about. Are you going to keep this list going as things mature and change…a la @jowyang's list of strategists? That would be fantastic. Thanks again.____Richard Brasser__The Targeted Group

  16. JD and Kim-
    Great list–really informative about the wide options for monitoring solutions out there! Thanks for including Spiral16. We're really excited about our 2.0 rollout this month too–if you have any questions, let me know!

    Eric Melin

  17. Richard, that's a great question about keeping this list up to date.

    Yes, that's our initial intent. It's a fast-changing field, so perhaps we should shoot for an annual update to keep things current.

    We'd love to delegate this or bring in someone with a special expertise in monitoring/SCRM to help keep this list up to date as consolidation takes place, platforms roll out new capabilities, etc.

    If anyone's interested, drop me a line: [email protected]

  18. Great effort and thanks for putting this together! We're currently using a mix of free softwares (Hootsuite, google alerts etc.) due to the reason that the buzz in social media about our brands isn't very heavy. But hopefully that this will change and we have to switch towards a more professional solution later this year.

    By the way: Swiss based Goldbach Interactive did a similar comparison last year and came up with the same winner (Radian6 & Sysomos). http://www.goldbachinteractive.com/aktuell/fachar

  19. Hi J.D. and Kim!

    Thought I left a comment here yesterday, but it doesn't appear anywhere, so I'll try again :-)

    Just wanted to say: Great list! I was a little sad, however, to see Silverbakk take up so little space, because it is – to my knowledge – one of the few social media monitoring companies that can actually monitor in a range of minor languages – such as the Scandinavian languages Danish, Swedish and Norwegian. As such, it is absolutely vital if you want to monitor e.g. blogs outside the mainstream (i.e. US blogs).

    But your list is a great tool for Scandinavian companies that operate internationally, so I want to ask you if it would be okay for me to translate the blogpost into Danish and post it on my blog? (with full credit to you two of course and a notable link back to the original material).


    Jesper Andersen
    Copenhagen, DK

    • Hi Jesper, thanks for spotlighting Silverbakk. Don't know about that one, though this is admittedly a US-centric list.

      Yes, please go ahead and translate the blogpost into Danish and post it on your blog, we're honored!

  20. Great wrap-up of the monitoring landscape. Monitoring twitter daily you still see a lot of confusion in the space and a lot of conversation surrounding 'which tool' do I use so this could be a great resource, much more comprehensive than any of the other lists I've seen.

    Any plans on putting together a social market research vendor list? One thing I've seen is a lot of brands that don't have the resources to do the heavy lifting in monitoring and just want answers.

    Great post!

    • Hi Jesper, thanks for spotlighting Silverbakk. Don't know about that one, though this is admittedly a US-centric list.

  21. JD & Kim,

    Thanks so much for pulling this awesome, comprehensive list together and thanks for including Spredfast in your top 20! It's true that listening is only one part of our full-scale social media management system, but it's an integral aspect of Social CRM and we are honored to have made the cut. And JD, I second your idea of an annual or regularly updated list. If there's ever anything you need or want to learn about Spredfast, you can reach me directly at jordan at spredfast.com.

    All the best,

    Jordan Viator
    Director of Social Media, Spredfast

  22. This is a very good list. One of the best I've seen. While I'm biased I do think Social Radar belongs on the list. We compete most frequently with Sysomos, Crimson Hexigon, Radian6 and Visible Technologies. Sometimes we win, sometimes we loose.

    One important note is that businesses should always determine their business objectives before they start evaluating platforms. I am surprised how often I speak with people who really don't know what they're looking for. Many of these platforms are very different in regards to their focus. The best fit will more depend on your specific business objectives rather than the platform itself.

  23. This is awesome list prepared by JD & Kim. Great work.

    I would aslo like to introduce “Factualz” here..

    Factualz provides live social media dashboards with actionable insights for marketing and competitive analysis. No software to download, configuration or setup. Subscribe to Factualz over internet and access it from anywhere.

    Key capabilities:
    • Listen to all the conversation on any brand and competition – With our unique “business context aware” engine, Factualz gives you 95% relevant buzz from 16 media types, including news, blogs, videos, bookmarks, and micro blogs.
    • Comprehensively follow all the social marketing channels of your competition including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google Buzz.
    • Automatic sentiment, relevancy and reach analysis of all content with respect to brand's business context
    • Automatic tagging, trend analysis and identification of top domains to channelize your web marketing and PPC programs
    • 20+ customizable dashboards and reports to compare and benchmark with competitors
    • Profiles of all the people who interacted with the brand and their social ranking and demographic analysis with auto classification of fans and critics
    • Collaborate with your team to analyze content, add tasks and route them for closures
    • Discover new business and marketing opportunities by using customizable topic and keyword segmentation

    Key benefits:
    • Identify new business and marketing opportunities
    • Measure your social and web marketing effectiveness and ROI
    • Improve your web marketing initiatives such as PPC, targeted ads, SEO
    • Comprehensively track and understand your competitors marketing campaigns and strategy
    • Keep track of your brand’s online reputation

    For more information please visit http://www.factualz.com.

    Project Lead,

  24. Thanks for this list indeed! I'd like to refer here to a vendor in Germany (in case we have Germans or Europeans here). The solution is called Gyes-Suite http://gyessuite.wordpress.com/. The intelligent platform extracts information NOT only from CRM systems but also ERP systems (SAP, etc..). Its first reference is Siemens, which means everything indeed..

    Christine Ferrere

  25. Great list! I’m Gene from ViralHeat and I just wanted to chime in and say thanks for listing us! With ViralHeat you can track up to 40 profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Buzz, real-time web (including blogs and forums), and YouTube with complete analytics for only $89/mo. Check us out at ” target=”_blank”> ” target=”_blank”>http://www.ViralHeat.com and feel free to email me if you have any questions: [email protected]

  26. Hi,

    This is a great list of Social Media Tools. I happen to use one that is not on your list, it's called Webfluenz. It is a low cost alternative to many of the tools in the list and has similar scope, reach and analytics backing it up.

    I hope you, JD and Kim, can give it a run for its money and see if you can get it on the list as well.


  27. Great post with great information! I'll recommend this post for sure! Interesting is that both small and large companies can benefit from this post.

  28. Great list. Guess it’ll take some time to find the right social media monitoring tool that fits exactly ones personal requirements and find out for oneself the strengths and weaknesses of each program.

  29. Hi JD & Kim,

    I've seen many “roundups” of social media monitoring solutions since I am in the space, and I found this one to be the best. Thank you for putting in the work to make this for the rest of us. I am interested in learning more about the imminent “shakeout” that you described. How do you think the shakeout will take place and what can vendors do to make sure they emerge?

    Ricky Yean
    Cofounder, Crowdbooster
    @rickyyean http://crowdbooster.com/

    • Thanks, Ricky. We see an ongoing consolidation in the space. We've already seen the beginnings of this with Lithium buying ScoutLabs, Alterian buying Techrigy, Meltwater buying BuzzGain and the like.

      We expect that trend to continue, with some of the larger players snapping up some of the smaller companies that generally fall outside the top 20 list above, where value can be added so that the vendor can offer a more complete suite of services.But we also sense that the market will see a merger between at least two of the top 20 vendors in the next 18 months. Stay tuned!

      • That would be exciting to see. Thanks, JD. Despite the number of vendors in the space, I don't think customers are anywhere close to coming to grips with social media. Do you feel that way also? Innovation will continue, and consolidation will be necessary fully service the largest customers.

        • Well, certainly most people don't think of “social media,” though they're getting more comfortable with Facebook and the like. Corporations, small businesses, nonprofits — while half say they're using social media, they're really just beginning this journey of engagement with their customers and stakeholders. Look for lots of innovation in the next couple of years!

  30. I'd like to add a revolutionary new service from EvoApp

    We offer three services, Marketing Experience, Sales Experience, Customer Experience.

    Our new ERI engine is the fastest in the market, and in addition to Social Media Monitoring, offers collaboration for instant communication and sharing for emails between company and customer collaboration as well. Check it out at


    Try a free trial!

  31. Hey JD and KIm,

    Very insightful reviews! I agree simplicity is currently what needed in the who social media monitoring chaos, which is why Omllion- http://www.omllion.com uncomplicated and comprehensive dashboard which not just fetches results in realtime but also encourages collaborative working- assigning, classify, commenting, etc.

    I invite you to check out our free Demo and let us know what you think about it!


  32. Wow! Great list. I like the fact that you have included pricing wherever possible. I would probably also include http://www.agencyplatform.com somewhere in the list.

    Most of these solutions are social media monitoring and social media CRM. But what about social media platforms which combine monitoring + Analytics + premium apps/ widgets ?

  33. What a great post JD & Kim.
    Thanks for spending the time putting this incredibly comprehensive list together. This will prove a great resource to many people, internationally. You couldn't be more right in saying that listening is only part of the equation (albeit very important). It's what businesses decide to do with this information that really matters – both internally and externally. Social strategy is paramount.

    Be well,

    Dave Drury
    Director of Two Skinny Men

    • Thanks, Dave, couldn't agree more. I'm guessing there are some vendors from Australia that we've missed, so we'll circle back next time.

      • Thanks JD. There are certainly several above that are widely known down here but globally it is a fat list.

        I am interested to know more about those providers that offer true holistic solutions. Which solutions are more appropriate for what area of the business (ie:marketing versus support verses HR)?

        What is the vision for system integration of the future? We can see the benefits of each of these individual solutions, but how do they compare when integrating other business systems, data, software. The ability to import data from a wide area of resources (media monitoring, CRM, knowledge base, call centre, forum, etc) and export it in a single flexible environment that is user friendly and logical to all audiences (consumer / staff).

        And to go one step further, how accurate are the analytic tools in identifying the true success or value that social initiatives have had on the business. Example, support related vs sales and marketing. We can see spikes and troughs as an example, but where does the accuracy lie (outside of assumption)?

        It's a truly fascinating space and I'm keen on your opinion here.

        Thanks again,


  34. One very important player in the industry that was not mentioned above is Decooda.com. They take monitoring to a new level by really looking at the conversations as a whole and use several touch points rather than relying on snippets of keywords and phrases that could misconstrued the analytics. They have a great process explanation video series at http://www.youtube.com/user/DecoodaTV

  35. in the Spanish market we can find solutions and brand monitoring social feel from anpro21 and SaaS Buzzulhu. This controls the presence and perception in print, digital (blogs, forums, social networks, vertical webs ..), TV and radio.

  36. Thanks for the extensive list! Very informative.

    You should add a new company called EvoApp…

    EvoApp is a centralized portal that does volumetric and sentiment analysis for all forms of communications including, but not limited to, emails, phone calls and social media posts such as twitter, blogs, social feeds etc. You can use the social media module to look at before and after marketing campaigns and do competitive analysis, etc.

    You can use the direct communications module which archives and rates the polarity (positive to neutral to negative) of your customer’s communications to the company by tying into the email, phone, etc. This module I.D.’s problematic discussions quickly and allows you to pre-emptively rectify customer issues. EvoApp in a nutshell: an interactive, integrated communications hub for visualizing, analyzing and interacting with the entire communications heartbeat of an enterprise.

    Let me know if you have any questions or comments!

    Sergei Dolukhanov
    Director of Marketing, EvoApp

  37. I echo the sentiments expressed here – this is a great, comprehensive, and helpful post – especially as someone who is “in the market.”

    There are two things that really stand out to me here: the first is that Microsoft seems to be a customer of many of these tools. I think someone needs to reach out to their procurement group – they seem to be wasting some money :)

    The second is the sheer range in pricing. I'm curious to understand how some of these solutions cost $300/month, and some cost $15000/month, and seem to contain very similar feature sets. Can you elaborate on what the price differences typically mean? Volume of results? Archiving? Number of searches? Number of seats? I worry that some that appear to be at the low end will actually end up being very expensive, but my budget is tight.

    Many thanks –

    • Well, looks like we didn't miss out since you told us about it, thanks for the contribution, Kelvin!