Which social listening platforms lead the pack?

How do you make the right choice amongst the social listening platforms? A new report helps you decide.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

It can be difficult to choose a social listening vendor and compare how each stacks up against the other. Many offer similar solutions, pulling data from the same social sites. So, how does an enterprise assess which listening platform has the edge on the others before making a commitment?

Cambridge Mass.-based research and advisory firm Forrester has released its social listening platforms report. The Forrester Wave social listening platforms Q3 2018 report documents the 10 most significant providers and how they compare to each other.

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It conducted research to choose its vendors based on product fit, customer success, and client demand. It identified and reviewed the most significant social listening platforms, across 40-criteria.

It then asked vendors to produce its product, customer, and pricing strategy, demo its product, and it called three of its client's customers.

Forrester assessed 10 vendors in the assessment: Brandwatch, Crimson Hexagon, Digimind, Linkfluence, NetBase, Sprinklr, Synthesio, Sysomos, Talkwalker, and Zignal Labs.

The challenge for enterprises is that all social listening platforms are very similar, so it is difficult to distinguish major differences between each platform.

Each vendor provided end-to-end social listening technology focusing on self-service, has a proven track record of revenue in social listening technology, and has over 100 enterprise companies as clients.

All social listening platforms rely on the same social data sources and APIs, and all offer the same products such as search, audience analysis, API, and a dashboard. Each vendor also is keen to incorporate machine learning and AI solutions to their offerings.

It identified three leaders: Sprinklr, NetBase, and Synthesio. It said that Sprinklr "delivers a core listening product that feeds into six clouds spanning 40 social-centric modules, such as publishing, customer care, and advertising.'

Netbase 'combines social data with non-social customer data through NetBase instant search, NetBase Pro, NetBase enterprise, and voice-of-the-customer products.

Synthesio "offers a platform that solidly checks the boxes for key functional requirements, with flashdash for instant search, Profiler for audience analysis, Page Karma for benchmarks, and Bunkr for presentations."

Crimson Hexagon, Digimind, Talkwalker, Sysomos, and Brandwatch were named as strong performers, and Linkfluence, and Zignal Labs were named as contenders.

Forrester recommended that organisations carry out further diligence before making any decisions.

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Different organisations will have different criteria so different vendors may be more suitable at different times of the enterprise lifecycle. Self service models might suit some businesses, where others need a fully managed service.

Getting decisions right are vital for organisational success -- and the right tools to analyse the social data stream will help organisations to gain that competitive edge.

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