Assessing free social media metrics tools

After the Social Media Analytics panel got cancelled at the Web 2.0 Expo yesterday, I decided to do a little panel discussion of my own on the various tools out there. Luckily, my pal Dave Smith over at Mediasmith did a presentation at iMedia Breakthrough a few weeks ago on "The Surprising Power of Social Media Metrics." I'm using that as a starting point for an outline along with a few options we've used along the way in this post.

First, the free stuff:

Twitter Search - OK, so this is pretty basic, but it is a useful tool for measuring conversation about your brand. I just ran a search and saw 19 posts in the last 24 hours about my client Alibaba.com. Certainly indicates that we should be thinking about their Twitter strategy.

TweetGrid - Calls itself a Twitter Search dashboard that updates in real time. You can basically monitor several keywords and they all show up in boxes and update dynamically. Useful, I guess if you have all day to sit around staring at an ugly dashboard, but the UX is gross. Not for me.

Twist - This is a nice site because it gives you a chart for 7 or 30 days of conversational activity on Twitter for a keyword. Great to paste into a report. The problem is that it measures in intervals of 100 tweets, so if there's not a ton of conversation going on, your chart looks like a flat line. They have potentially cool drag and drop functionality that let's you zoom in, but it was buggy when I checked it out.

Twilert - This is a great tool for marketers who want to have an effective Twitter conversational marketing strategy. They have advanced search features (all/any/none of these words, by hashtag, sender, receiver, geography, and ATTITUDE) , so you can get alerts of all the people having conversation about a given topic and respond to them. Something every social community manager could use for Twitter.

SamePoint - This is a great tool for monitoring conversations. Rather than just one social tool like Twitter, you can look at all social media or set filters. A quick search on Alibaba.com again gave me one column with results from across the social web (blogs, Wikipedia, LinkedIn, Digg, Facebook...) and a second column showed Tweets. They also have a search plug-in for browsers that are OpenSearch compliant. No reporting, unfortunately, but awesome for real-time monitoring.

SocialMention - I like this even better than SamePoint. The level of filtering isn't as great, but it's a nicer UI. They don't offer much in the way of reporting, but do have a "social rank" score and some top level summary of sources of mentions (i.e. 50 from blogsearch.google.com, 20 from technorati.com, 20 from wikio, etc.). What I really like is that they have an open API, the ability to look at trending keywords and you can export a spreadsheet. Bookmarking this one!

Google Alerts - Like everything Google does, it's simple, basic and works great. News and blog posts about specific keywords delivered to your Inbox. Been using this for years. Don't plan on stopping.

PostRank - P"ostRank measures engagement by analyzing the types and frequency of an audience's interaction with online content. " This is a tool that basically tracks the re-sharing based on any original feed. It's great for getting granular on who is sharing what and how (i.e. who Dugg, commented or Twittered about your blog post). They are launching an Analytics tool, but it's still under wraps. Nice UI on this site. Have high hopes for the Analytics tool.

Google Insights for Search - This is a great tool for measuring search volume and I think a very valid way of measuring interest over time and by region. It also allows you to see related searches to dig into those. Great charts to show how many are searching for a term and where. I would say that if I wanted a true measure of brand awareness—or actually brand interest—this is an ideal tool.

Technorati Chart - Technorati allows you to search for blogs on a specific keyword, but what I really think is neat from an analytics perspective is their chart tool that allows you to compare how conversations in the blogosphere measure up across terms. Not exactly robust analytics, but a useful tool that I'll definitely use in the future to make a point.

BlogPulse - These guys have a number of tools for monitoring conversation. First, they have Trend Results, which basically produces the exact same chart as Technorati. It also has a Conversation Tracker tool, but the results were crap. When I searched for 'adam kleinberg' on social mention, I got 10 pages of results. On BlogPulse, just a handful and none of them were any of the dozens of blog posts and articles I've written. Doesn't bode well in my book. Plus, these free tools just seem to be a come-on to upgrade to Nielsen Online's BrandPulse product.

Trendpedia - Again, this is just a repeat of the Technorati compare chart. I'm totally underwhelmed, however. Of the three, I'd go with Technorati because I trust their information.

Trendrr - At first glance, this seems like a more powerful tool than either of the above, because you can specify data sources and customize the reporting you get to a much more robust level. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a confusing interface. After fighting with the log-in panel for five minutes, I gave up. But I might come back. Maybe. We'll see.

Facebook Lexicon - You guessed it. Tracks conversations on Facebook. On Facebook Walls, specifically. Decent enough tool to stick a chart in a report, but not mind-blowing insights by any means either.

That's an assessment of some of the free tools out there. More to come...

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the information on the free tools and the value of them. With limited time it is always helpful to have a list someone else has taken the time to compile. Not only does a compiled list help to save time by not having to do the research it is saved me time having to try the various sites. I can now make an assessment of those I might consider and those that would not be worth the time to invest effort in.
    Besides the information that was provided I enjoyed your writing style. I initially started to scan your article but was drawn in by your style and commentary. It is always nice to be able to get information and enjoy the format that information comes in.


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