PRNewswire Enters Social Media Monitoring Space - Social Media Explorer
PRNewswire Enters Social Media Monitoring Space
PRNewswire Enters Social Media Monitoring Space
by
Jason Falls
Jason Falls

The social media monitoring space keeps getting more and more crowded as early startup success stories like Radian6 and K.D. Paine and Partners have been joined by both newcomer startups and established PR-related companies who have broadened their offerings. The latest to throw its hat into the ring is PRNewswire with its Social Media Metrics tool set. Like the other monitoring services, the product promises to allow you to listen to conversations about your organization, target the most influential social media sources for outreach, engage and analyze the buzz and ultimately report it all in a neat package for the executives.

I took a test drive of the new offering and have to say, it’s one of the better debuts I’ve seen in a while, rivaling Scout Labs, which I thought was impressive in its bar-raising splash back in February. PRNewswire has taken the best ideas from the other services, including a bit of the work flow management piece that sets Radian6 apart, and built a nice tool at a competitive price point.

According to Annette Falvo, the product demo specialist I met with, the tool looks at 20 million “active” blogs and weeds out those that haven’t been updated recently. The indexing includes about five million forums, publicly available sections of MySpace and Facebook, Twitter and 30,000 online news sites. In essence, it covers the same general stuff everyone else does.

The reports and tools are generally the same as well, with the requisite pretty charts and graphs for the C-level folks who tend to not care or understand the different between a visit and a pageview. It does include automated sentiment and tone scoring at what they claim is an 80% accuracy level. And like other tools, you can manually change a sentiment score should you feel the natural language processors didn’t quite get the gist of the post.

The differentiators seem to be a version of the work flow management tool that Radian6 has that most others don’t. But PRNewswire’s version does not track a conversation history between you and the respective media members or bloggers you’ve reached out to. Radian6’s tool does and a new offering from BuzzStream actually offers that type of contact management system which could be useful when used along side other monitoring tools.

PRNewswire’s offering does include a “Top Mentions” display which shows meme-type activity around a given story or topic that I found intriguing. Think of it as the ability to track syndication of releases or spin-offs of influential blogger posts that get picked up by others. It also has the ability to see sentiment scores broken down day-by-day; regional demographics; gender differentiation so long as the source provides that information (pretty useful to see how women react to your brand as opposed to men); age filters and comparison tracking of keywords and sentiment around the keywords, a multiplier I haven’t quite seen yet.

The reporting functionality allows you to select the specific charts you want to use for a specific search term and date range, add notes to said charts like captions, then complies them all into a nifty PDF for distribution or publishing.

Like most other monitoring services, it has email alerts, but PRNewswire allows you to break those down by sentiment so you only get emailed the bad if that’s all you want. The service is set up to monitor several different languages already, a feature that is often an afterthought and in subsequent versions of other monitoring packages.

Perhaps the most convenient feature of PRNewswire’s offering: You can manually add a website for the tool to index if it’s not showing up in your results without having to call customer service or get technical support. You can also block an entire website from the dashboard to eliminate results from your own site or other communities not relevant to your metrics.

The pricing model for PRNewswire’s product is set around number of users and search strings. One user with up to three search strings runs $450 per month with a price break for annual commitments. Prices escalate from there. The only real problem I see with the pricing is that you would have to add search strings, thus cost, to do a good job of monitoring your competitors, assuming you have more than two.

Overall, it’s a very useful tool with some neat features. It’s not as powerful as Radian6, priced higher than Scout Labs, which delivers almost as much value for more than a few dollars less, but certainly offers enough pieces of what everyone else has to be a legitimate contender for some marketshare in the space.

Learn more about the Social Media Monitoring offering from PRNewswire from their social media release found here. You can also see the previous social media monitoring and measurement tools we’ve discussed and reviewed here on Social Media Explorer:

If you’ve used it, jump in the comments and let us know what you like and dislike. If you haven’t, then send me a message on Twitter with your guess as to which competitor jumps in the comments to “join the conversation” about their product first. Heh.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at JasonFalls.com.
  • There service is good….but too pricey for most small businesses.

  • There service is good….but too pricey for most small businesses.

  • Chaz_R

    I am right now researching social media monitoring systems. I work for a global digital agency. My company and our clients have used a variety of social monitoring tools, free and paid. Radian6 certainty rose to the top with our clients initially. But as we and our clients looked at the data through more sophisticated eyes we understood that there was so much missing. We recently have been working with Wool Labs and their WebDig product. One of our clients was impressed enough to drop the two other paid services that they had been using and go with WebDig because it obviously had such rich data although not a lot of the design wrapper. Does anyone know of another system similar to WebDig that doesn't just feed API's or scan narrow slivers of UGC or is Wool Labs the Dark Horse in this space?

    • AmberNaslund

      Chaz,

      I'd be more than happy to talk with you anytime about any data inconsistencies you may have experienced. We don't hear that often, so I'd be happy to work with our support and technical teams to see if we can't get to the bottom of any issues you were having. My email is below.

      (Pardon and thanks, Jason, for letting me sneak in for a minute)

      Cheers,
      Amber Naslund
      Director of Community, Radian6
      amber.naslund@radian6.com

  • huangqin
  • It's absolutely my pleasure. Thanks again

  • Certainly, CH has a different approach which could change the game if the market responds to it. I still think a lot of brands want that “river” of news so they can pin point specific conversations and sore spots to address. But measurement goes well beyond that to the forest, rather than the trees. In the end, you may need a monitoring service for the daily action items, and a separate measurement service to quantify it all.

    Thanks for the perspective, Mike. Good luck with CH's continued build/launch/etc. Keep us updated!

  • Thanks for the thoughts, Chris. Good to hear.

  • Thank you for coming by to participate, Leon. Good work you've done. We appreciate it.

  • Thanks for the input, Ruby. I understand the worry with Radian6's model and have had those concerns myself. If that's their major flaw, I'm still impressed with what they have. But everyone has their sore spots on what's right for them and not. Thanks for sharing.

  • Fair point, Leon. Thanks for clarifying.

  • @miketrap

    I think you raise an excellent point here. Alot of the current systems are concentrating just on monitoring and listing to what has been said. One thing we have been concentrating on is the analytics side. Understanding not just who is mentioning you , but WHY they are mentioning you. Moving along from this allowing the analysis of actual topics rather than brands and breaking these down.

    This is certainly an area we are concentrating on, expect to see alot more in the PR Newswire SMM / SentimentMetrics platform.

  • @miketrap

    I think you raise an excellent point here. Alot of the current systems are concentrating just on monitoring and listing to what has been said. One thing we have been concentrating on is the analytics side. Understanding not just who is mentioning you , but WHY they are mentioning you. Moving along from this allowing the analysis of actual topics rather than brands and breaking these down.

    This is certainly an area we are concentrating on, expect to see alot more in the PR Newswire SMM / SentimentMetrics platform.

  • @Fancy_Lad
    Thanks for your thoughtfull review of the demo. I am not sure who provided you the demo, but actually follower number isn't the only measure of a twitter users authority. (Please bear in mind the product demo staff are getting upto speed as quickly as possible and doing a great job).

    The influencers also considers how often they are discussing the search term in question. I do agree that some of the other twitter factors would be useful. I guess if you speak to any of our clients one thing they will say is the speed that new features are released. We definately have your comments on our roadmap and we really appreciate you taking the time to comment here

    Thanks again

    Leon Chaddock

  • We participated in a PR Newswire's Social Media Metrics demo last week. While it seemed very similar to Radian6 and the lower price was attractive, we felt the analysis of data was shallow compared to Radian6. Not the type of data they offer but the numbers BEHIND the data. For instance, when analyzing the influence of a Twitter user and their tweets, Social Media Metrics measures the number of followers of the Twitter account to generate the influence score and that's it. The bigger the Twitter following, the bigger the influence score. Knowing what I know about Twitter and the numbers game, I suspect that's not a very good gauge of Twitter influence on its own. (But perhaps I'm wrong and if so please slap my hand!) I'd think that retweets, replies and direct messages stemming from the tweet should also be factored into calculating a Twitter's influence rating. That has us concerned about PR Newswire's Social Media Metrics as the analysis of the data is actually more important to us than the monitoring. While we're concerned regarding the strength of the data, PR Newswire's Social Media Metrics isn't off our list of contenders yet but we're not sure it's the solution for us at this point. Reading some of the posts below I feel it's possible the representative that walked us through the demo wasn't well versed regarding how the service analyzes the data; I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for more reviews like yours to help us come to a well-informed decision.

  • Fancy_Lad

    We participated in a PR Newswire's Social Media Metrics demo last week. While it seemed very similar to Radian6 and the lower price was attractive, we felt the analysis of data was shallow compared to Radian6. Not the type of data they offer but the numbers BEHIND the data. For instance, when analyzing the influence of a Twitter user and their tweets, Social Media Metrics measures the number of followers of the Twitter account to generate the influence score and that's it. The bigger the Twitter following, the bigger the influence score. Knowing what I know about Twitter and the numbers game, I suspect that's not a very good gauge of Twitter influence on its own. (But perhaps I'm wrong and if so please slap my hand!) I'd think that retweets, replies and direct messages stemming from the tweet should also be factored into calculating a Twitter's influence rating. That has us concerned about PR Newswire's Social Media Metrics as the analysis of the data is actually more important to us than the monitoring. While we're concerned regarding the strength of the data, PR Newswire's Social Media Metrics isn't off our list of contenders yet but we're not sure it's the solution for us at this point. Reading some of the posts below I feel it's possible the representative that walked us through the demo wasn't well versed regarding how the service analyzes the data; I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for more reviews like yours to help us come to a well-informed decision.

    • @Fancy_Lad
      Thanks for your thoughtfull review of the demo. I am not sure who provided you the demo, but actually follower number isn't the only measure of a twitter users authority. (Please bear in mind the product demo staff are getting upto speed as quickly as possible and doing a great job).

      The influencers also considers how often they are discussing the search term in question. I do agree that some of the other twitter factors would be useful. I guess if you speak to any of our clients one thing they will say is the speed that new features are released. We definately have your comments on our roadmap and we really appreciate you taking the time to comment here

      Thanks again

      Leon Chaddock

  • Nice piece, Jason, as usual. 'ViralHeat' also launched a new tool this week, down to a $10/month price point, though for less functionality than PRN seems to deliver.

    I think the distinction between “monitoring” and “measurement” in the comments below merits it's own post. The plain truth is that not everyone wants a “river of news.” To clients more interested in the pattern than the dots, a “river of news” – no matter how beautifully presented – is a bug and not a feature. It doesn't surprise me to see more and more folks entering that space, since the technical barriers to entry are so low. I also agree that Radian6 and ScoutLabs are the teams to beat right now, at the high and low ends of the “monitoring” market (Techrigy is also doing some interesting things now.)

    In the end, though, I beleive “monitoring” will be seen as a commodity, and the real battle will be for the high ground of “measurement.” With all due respect to the people-based players you name below in that market, Crimson Hexagon sits alone there in terms of a technology-based platform.

  • Nice piece, Jason, as usual. 'ViralHeat' also launched a new tool this week, down to a $10/month price point, though for less functionality than PRN seems to deliver.

    I think the distinction between “monitoring” and “measurement” in the comments below merits it's own post. The plain truth is that not everyone wants a “river of news.” To clients more interested in the pattern than the dots, a “river of news” – no matter how beautifully presented – is a bug and not a feature. It doesn't surprise me to see more and more folks entering that space, since the technical barriers to entry are so low. I also agree that Radian6 and ScoutLabs are the teams to beat right now, at the high and low ends of the “monitoring” market (Techrigy is also doing some interesting things now.)

    In the end, though, I beleive “monitoring” will be seen as a commodity, and the real battle will be for the high ground of “measurement.” With all due respect to the people-based players you name below in that market, Crimson Hexagon sits alone there in terms of a technology-based platform.

    • Certainly, CH has a different approach which could change the game if the market responds to it. I still think a lot of brands want that “river” of news so they can pin point specific conversations and sore spots to address. But measurement goes well beyond that to the forest, rather than the trees. In the end, you may need a monitoring service for the daily action items, and a separate measurement service to quantify it all.

      Thanks for the perspective, Mike. Good luck with CH's continued build/launch/etc. Keep us updated!

  • I've been using sentiment metrics for a while now and I have to say that I'm really happy with it – extremely simple to use, very robust and the pricing is much easier to get to grips with compared to radian. great product.

  • I've been using sentiment metrics for a while now and I have to say that I'm really happy with it – extremely simple to use, very robust and the pricing is much easier to get to grips with compared to radian. great product.

    • Thanks for the thoughts, Chris. Good to hear.

  • PTF – similar experience to me: i tried out various tools around a year ago (inc. Radian6) and had most confidence in the Sentiment Metrics tool and their results. I guess it felt like R6 made a good show of reporting, but that SM had fewer gaps.

    I have since used R6 again, which reinforced that I’m better off with SM. I guess to an extent it's about becoming familiar with a particular interface, and to me, the R6 interface is pretty awkward and over the top, but plenty of people that i know and trust are really comfortable with it. That said, I've let a few people use SM when they have had troubles with other suppliers and all of them have since switched to SM.

    I also agree with the issues with volume limits on R6 – I’m not sure if I’m getting the whole of the story with a limit in place, and I can’t say to clients ‘I’m not sure how much this will cost’.

  • PTF

    Jason,
    that is exactly my point in terms of one of my problems with Radian6 … I don't want to have to worry(at all) my queries will cost me even more than the basic plan limits. I want/need the flexibility to do as extensive an analysis as I need without upcharging concerns.

  • Hi Jason,
    Actually the contact management history is logged and displayed in the actions screen, the issue can then be reassigned to other users in the system. These users are then notifed via email and can login and add notes/re assign/ close the issue etc. I agree there is more work to be done on this area however. It's possible this area wasn't demoed to you

    Thanks

    Leon

  • Jason,
    Thanks for your thoughtful review of the system and highlighting some of the platforms features.

    @Chuck In terms of the demographic data, sure it is not possible to retrieve that for everyone but, I would certainly see this as a useful feature. Let me know if you want to run a trial with your own search terms to see for yourself.

    @PTF Thanks for pointing out one of our differentiators, price. Many of the agencies and brands that use our system have thousands of mentions a day and don't want to be charged based on the volume of mentions.

    Thanks again all

    Leon Chaddock
    @leonchaddock

  • Jason,
    Thanks for your thoughtful review of the system and highlighting some of the platforms features.

    @Chuck In terms of the demographic data, sure it is not possible to retrieve that for everyone but, I would certainly see this as a useful feature. Let me know if you want to run a trial with your own search terms to see for yourself.

    @PTF Thanks for pointing out one of our differentiators, price. Many of the agencies and brands that use our system have thousands of mentions a day and don't want to be charged based on the volume of mentions.

    Thanks again all

    Leon Chaddock
    @leonchaddock

    • Thank you for coming by to participate, Leon. Good work you've done. We appreciate it.

  • Hey there Jason, Chuck & Stuart: thanks for the kind words about Radian6. Stuart I would love to better understand your thoughts on the C-level and client reporting so please feel free to ping me at david (at) radian6.com anytime. I'll also ping you on Twitter since you have all of your contact info on your comment.

    @PTF-guestpost I would love to better understand your feedback on Radian6. Please feel free to email me at the address above as well.

    Thanks Jason for keeping social media monitoring a hot topic. Lovin' it.

    @davidalston
    Radian6

  • Hey there Jason, Chuck & Stuart: thanks for the kind words about Radian6. Stuart I would love to better understand your thoughts on the C-level and client reporting so please feel free to ping me at david (at) radian6.com anytime. I'll also ping you on Twitter since you have all of your contact info on your comment.

    @PTF-guestpost I would love to better understand your feedback on Radian6. Please feel free to email me at the address above as well.

    Thanks Jason for keeping social media monitoring a hot topic. Lovin' it.

    @davidalston
    Radian6

  • Fair points, PTF. I agree that setting up Radian6 is probably the most difficult and challenging part of using their tool. Too broad a keyword and you're suddenly over budget for the year, much less the month. (Exaggerating a bit, but still.) Radian6 has always been good to notify folks when they are crossing a cost barrier, though, so you can correct the setup quickly without penalty.

    The outreach management is far superior in Radian6 however, though I would agree many don't even know the function is there. Radian6's differentiator is they keep the history of the contact as part of the tool whereas PR Newswire just has the ability to quickly email, etc., from the tool. No contact management history is archived there. (Look for this to be a next generation functionality add, though.)

    Thanks for the thoughts. Good ones, for certain.

  • I think it can be a stand alone service, but I'm sure it's just expanding their areas of service to their core customers. If they pick up a few others along the way, cool. I agree Radian6 is probably the dominant in the market right now, but without competition, they too could become complacent with what they offer. This is good for everyone.

  • PTF

    Jason: I have a very different take on this. After using Radian6 for some time I switched to SentimentMetrics (the company behind PRNewswire tracking) because I found them to much more robust in the analytics versus just the reporting. In additon, there are no volume limits for Sentimentmetrics. I was always second-guessing the return levels with Radian6. I do not want to worry about what queries to use. If you are basing power on the outreach management capabiltites I found them to be alike, however I doubt most users ever use them regularly.

  • PTF

    Jason: I have a very different take on this. After using Radian6 for some time I switched to SentimentMetrics (the company behind PRNewswire tracking) because I found them to much more robust in the analytics versus just the reporting. In additon, there are no volume limits for Sentimentmetrics. I was always second-guessing the return levels with Radian6. I do not want to worry about what queries to use. If you are basing power on the outreach management capabiltites I found them to be alike, however I doubt most users ever use them regularly.

    • Fair points, PTF. I agree that setting up Radian6 is probably the most difficult and challenging part of using their tool. Too broad a keyword and you're suddenly over budget for the year, much less the month. (Exaggerating a bit, but still.) Radian6 has always been good to notify folks when they are crossing a cost barrier, though, so you can correct the setup quickly without penalty.

      The outreach management is far superior in Radian6 however, though I would agree many don't even know the function is there. Radian6's differentiator is they keep the history of the contact as part of the tool whereas PR Newswire just has the ability to quickly email, etc., from the tool. No contact management history is archived there. (Look for this to be a next generation functionality add, though.)

      Thanks for the thoughts. Good ones, for certain.

      • Hi Jason,
        Actually the contact management history is logged and displayed in the actions screen, the issue can then be reassigned to other users in the system. These users are then notifed via email and can login and add notes/re assign/ close the issue etc. I agree there is more work to be done on this area however. It's possible this area wasn't demoed to you

        Thanks

        Leon

        • Fair point, Leon. Thanks for clarifying.

      • PTF

        Jason,
        that is exactly my point in terms of one of my problems with Radian6 … I don't want to have to worry(at all) my queries will cost me even more than the basic plan limits. I want/need the flexibility to do as extensive an analysis as I need without upcharging concerns.

    • PTF – similar experience to me: i tried out various tools around a year ago (inc. Radian6) and had most confidence in the Sentiment Metrics tool and their results. I guess it felt like R6 made a good show of reporting, but that SM had fewer gaps.

      I have since used R6 again, which reinforced that I’m better off with SM. I guess to an extent it's about becoming familiar with a particular interface, and to me, the R6 interface is pretty awkward and over the top, but plenty of people that i know and trust are really comfortable with it. That said, I've let a few people use SM when they have had troubles with other suppliers and all of them have since switched to SM.

      I also agree with the issues with volume limits on R6 – I’m not sure if I’m getting the whole of the story with a limit in place, and I can’t say to clients ‘I’m not sure how much this will cost’.

      • Thanks for the input, Ruby. I understand the worry with Radian6's model and have had those concerns myself. If that's their major flaw, I'm still impressed with what they have. But everyone has their sore spots on what's right for them and not. Thanks for sharing.

  • Gotcha. So it's an augmented service rather then a separate venture internally?

    I'm cool with that as long as it doesn't distract them from their bread and butter. Pretty sure Radian6 is going to completely dominate the field as soon as they add more useful output reporting for C-levels and clients.

  • They're just trying to offer more peripheral services to attract more customers to their main offerings. Kind of like Cision partnering with Radian6 to provide the service as well. As far as low end, I'd say they're priced to compete with the middle ground … Radian6, etc. 450+ per month is middle range. Scout labs has a nice 99/month offering at the lower end of the paid perspective. The “measurement” firms (Nielsen, Cymfony, etc.) are high end, in my book, but you can also divide the two categories in to “monitoring” and “measurement.”

  • Thanks Chuck. It's always good to hear from others who try the tools. My perspective isn't always dead on for everyone. Thanks for chiming in with your thoughts as well. I agree that it's hard to compete with Radian6, but PR Newswire is certainly pushing at the door with this. They're version 2.0 will be a big indicator of how serious they are about competing.

  • You're welcome. And thanks for the reverse confusion. David gets called Jason a lot and he deserves more credit for his posts. Glad to share it this time. Heh.

  • Really? Seems fairly weird for them to be expanding into this space. Their press release system is great and very useful to a large amount of start ups. Are they trying to be the low end monitoring software?

  • Really? Seems fairly weird for them to be expanding into this space. Their press release system is great and very useful to a large amount of start ups. Are they trying to be the low end monitoring software?

    • They're just trying to offer more peripheral services to attract more customers to their main offerings. Kind of like Cision partnering with Radian6 to provide the service as well. As far as low end, I'd say they're priced to compete with the middle ground … Radian6, etc. 450+ per month is middle range. Scout labs has a nice 99/month offering at the lower end of the paid perspective. The “measurement” firms (Nielsen, Cymfony, etc.) are high end, in my book, but you can also divide the two categories in to “monitoring” and “measurement.”

      • Gotcha. So it's an augmented service rather then a separate venture internally?

        I'm cool with that as long as it doesn't distract them from their bread and butter. Pretty sure Radian6 is going to completely dominate the field as soon as they add more useful output reporting for C-levels and clients.

        • I think it can be a stand alone service, but I'm sure it's just expanding their areas of service to their core customers. If they pick up a few others along the way, cool. I agree Radian6 is probably the dominant in the market right now, but without competition, they too could become complacent with what they offer. This is good for everyone.

  • Jason – Thank you for doing this comparison. I always enjoy these. Our firm has been using Radian6 for several months and have been blown away by the product. More importantly, our clients have been satisfied with what we've derived from using the tool.

    We also have a very close relationship with PR Newswire locally so I recently had a demonstration of the PRN social media monitoring tool. I have to tell you I came away pretty unimpressed. Perhaps it was because it wasn't as powerful as R6 (as you note), but I think it had more to do with the dashboard itself. I found the interface so similar that I had a hard time figuring out why I would make a switch. The demographic data they provide is nice, but I would argue it is at best incomplete. Sure, that stuff could be noteworthy if you are targeting a specific demographic. But, more than a few sites don't have the demographics broken down. I'd be worried that I am getting an incomplete picture.

    Long story short, Radian6 is still the leader in this space in my opinion.

  • Jason – Thank you for doing this comparison. I always enjoy these. Our firm has been using Radian6 for several months and have been blown away by the product. More importantly, our clients have been satisfied with what we've derived from using the tool.

    We also have a very close relationship with PR Newswire locally so I recently had a demonstration of the PRN social media monitoring tool. I have to tell you I came away pretty unimpressed. Perhaps it was because it wasn't as powerful as R6 (as you note), but I think it had more to do with the dashboard itself. I found the interface so similar that I had a hard time figuring out why I would make a switch. The demographic data they provide is nice, but I would argue it is at best incomplete. Sure, that stuff could be noteworthy if you are targeting a specific demographic. But, more than a few sites don't have the demographics broken down. I'd be worried that I am getting an incomplete picture.

    Long story short, Radian6 is still the leader in this space in my opinion.

    • Thanks Chuck. It's always good to hear from others who try the tools. My perspective isn't always dead on for everyone. Thanks for chiming in with your thoughts as well. I agree that it's hard to compete with Radian6, but PR Newswire is certainly pushing at the door with this. They're version 2.0 will be a big indicator of how serious they are about competing.

  • Hey David,
    Nice obervation, must say you have got bullz eye on this matter. Social media is really become most important part of internet and no one avoid it. Nice stats and video. Thanks

    Regards,
    866.568.6377

  • Hey David,
    Nice obervation, must say you have got bullz eye on this matter. Social media is really become most important part of internet and no one avoid it. Nice stats and video. Thanks

    Regards,
    866.568.6377

    • You're welcome. And thanks for the reverse confusion. David gets called Jason a lot and he deserves more credit for his posts. Glad to share it this time. Heh.