NEWS13 November 2009

Social media studies find pros and cons for buzz trackers

Data analytics North America Trends

US— Social media savvy businesses have been quick to tap new communications channels to monitor what people are saying about their brands, according to a survey. But now for the bad news – most aren’t paying for the tools they use to track mentions of their companies.

The Business Social Media Benchmarking Study pegged brand monitoring as one of the top social media activities firms are engaged in, with 60% of 1,600 respondents doing so – second only to the 70% who maintain company-related accounts or profiles on sites such as Facebook or Twitter.

Just over 50% of respondents said they also track what’s being said about their competitors, but when asked to list what tools they use for monitoring online conversations, most report relying on free Google searches. Other search engines followed behind, while the percentages using paid-for tools such as Nielsen BuzzMetrics, Radian6 or Converseon were in the low single digits.

It is important to note that many of the companies participating in the survey were small enterprises, with 60% of respondents employing fewer than 10 people.

Vendors of paid-for tools might take more comfort from a separate study by the Aberdeen Group, where just under half of respondents were from companies of more than 100 employees. In that survey, 50% of participants said they were increasing their investment level in social media monitoring initiatives despite cutbacks made elsewhere in marketing and research activities as a result of the recession.

Both reports are available free online, though registration may be required to access them. Click here for the survey and here for the Aberdeen Group study.