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10 Best Social Listening Platforms (According to Forrester)
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10 Best Social Listening Platforms (According to Forrester)

A close look at some of the best social listening tools available

There are some things you need to carefully consider when choosing something as important as which social listening tool you use for monitoring your brand

First of all, you should consider what kind of data you need and whether the platforms you are looking at will give that to you. For example, are you only looking for brand mentions or do you want to see how many impressions and engagement these brand mentions have received? Secondly, you should consider the kind of information the tools are capable of analysing. Some tools only analyse text, however, as we’ve mentioned here before, social listening tools should provide a visual analysis if you are expecting to get a full picture (pun intended) of where and how your brand is being represented. Finally, you should consider the customer experience you’re likely to receive; something we often don’t think about until it’s too late! 

Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Fear not! We have done some of the groundwork for you as we take a look at ten of the best platforms according to the Q4 2020 Forrester Wave on Social Listening tools.

Social Listening Tool: Brandwatch
Credit: Brandwatch

1. Brandwatch 

Brandwatch is more than just a social listening tool, it is a consumer intelligence platform. 

It’s ever-evolving AI analyst, Iris, takes the labour out of social media monitoring by automatically bringing insights to the surface, saving its users a great deal of time. This, combined with auto-segmentation and the ability to analyse images gives Brandwatch a sizeable edge on many of its competitors. Considering that more and more of the content social media users post is visual-only, this image analysis is a big deal! 

With Brandwatch, you are not just being given a feed with mentions of your brand to trawl through yourself, you are presented with helpful and insightful data that can help you craft your next big campaign, and even your brand messaging going forward. At the click of a button, you can have all the data you need to fully understand how people are not just talking about your brand, but how they are displaying it too. 

Best for: 

Brand Managers

Market Researchers

2. NetBase Quid

Consumer and Market intelligence platform NetBase Quid offers a variety of products, including a Social Listening tool. With historical and real-time social media analysis, their AI-driven platform gives insights into any topic or brand you wish to track. 

Like Brandwatch, using NetBase Quid’s social tool takes the leg work out of gathering social data, whether for brand management or market research, meaning users can focus on the tasks that really matter. In an instant, this platform can uncover consumer insights, help to identify consumer trends and help the user to understand brand perception. 

Best for: 

Market Researchers

Marketing Professionals

Social Listening Tools: Sprinklr
Credit: Sprinklr

3. Sprinklr

Although Sprinklr is billed as a Customer Experience platform on their homepage that offers a multitude of programs for marketers and customer success managers alike, among their most powerful products is “Modern Engagement”. This social listening tool is one of the most comprehensive available, giving users the ability to track 35 channels. 

From one platform, you can monitor influencers, manage 1-to-1 relationships on social in person or using AI, analyse content trends, gather user-generated content featuring the brands you manage and so much more; as if all that wasn’t enough. On top of these features, Sprinklr users can create customized reporting dashboards, create presentation decks and monitor brand mentions and performance on social media. It’s a social media manager’s dream! 

Best for: 

Marketing Professionals 

Customer Engagement Managers

4. Talkwalker

Another leader on the Forrester Wave, Talkwalker is widely celebrated, and awarded, as one of the most comprehensive social listening tools available. With its AI engine that not only analyses text but also images and video, the level of insights that users can get is incredible. 

Talkwalker claims to save its users 40% of their time by automatically creating and distributing reports, which will be music to any communication professional’s ears! 

Best for: 

PR and Communications Professionals

Digital Marketing professionals

Digimind tools screenshot
Credit: Digimind

5. Digimind

Digimind is a social listening and market intelligence platform that enables users to understand and manage their brand reputation, identify influencers in their industry, gain consumer intelligence and much more. Through their AI-Powered social listening tool users are able to monitor, analyse and engage with social media posts that mention or reference the brands they manage. It also allows users to monitor the performance of their own content on various platforms, meaning you have a one-stop-location for all your social media management needs. 

Not enough to sell it to you? Digimind also integrates with Zoho, Qualtrics, Salesforce and Pardot, so you can track your campaign performance right down to which leads it is generating. We don’t need to tell you how powerful that kind of integration can be when it comes to campaign intelligence. 

Best for: 

Brand Managers

Social Media Managers

6. Synthesio

Synthesio is, strictly speaking, a consumer intelligence and market research platform. An important part of their package is their social listening tool. Their social intelligence suite includes clean data which enables decision making, the ability to track and analyze brand sentiment on social media and trend detection. It truly is an intelligent tool, empowered by AI technology for smart and fast insights.

Best for: 

Market Researchers

Digital Marketers

Linkfluence screenshot
Credit: Linkfluence

7. Linkfluence

Linkfluence has the full package when it comes to social listening, thanks to its use of machine learning and AI. Their Radarly and Search tools helps users monitor and manage their brand reputation online, track brand equity, spot trends, discover relevant influencers and report on campaign performance. They also offer 

This platform has all you need for monitoring social media and understanding brand perception. 

Best For: 

Social Media Managers 

Digital Marketing Managers

8. Meltwater

Meltwater is a well-regarded media monitoring and social listening tool that helps users monitor and understand consumers, enabling them to gather the data necessary to craft effective campaigns. 

According to Meltwater, this platform solves problems faced by PR, communications and marketing professionals and data scientists working for brands, all powered by AI and Machine Learning. Combining social listening with social media monitoring, this is quite a powerful tool. Users can schedule social media, analyze brand sentiment on 20 different social channels and benchmark competitors. It’s one of the slickest looking platforms with a very intuitive user experience. 

Best for: 

PR and Communications professionals

Brand Data Analysts

9.  Zignal Labs

Zignal is a slightly more complex system which might be better suited for data analysts and scientists, rather than comms and marketing managers. Providing data suited to the financial industry, sports, pharma and more, this platform delivers the kind of intelligence that can give a holistic understanding of a brand’s ideal customer, how their campaigns are performing and what their target audiences are talking about. 

While it’s not strictly a social listening tool, its social media analysis solutions are quite impressive. If a user opts for their enterprise solution, they will have access to a platform that uses AI and Machine learning to mine social and broadcast media for signals relating to their brand and industry. It gives an excellent overview, scoring sentiment, consolidating media data, gauging news-making efforts and delivering simple but insightful reports.

Best for: 

Brand Data Analysts

10.  ListenFirst

ListenFirst was ranked as a contender by Forrester with good reason. This social media analytics platform is a great tool for brand and marketing managers who want to get simple insights into how their brands are being received and represented online. It provides useful insights, such as sentiment analysis as well as audience, campaign and influencer insights. While it may not be as comprehensive as some as the other platforms listed here, but it’s an excellent addition to any marketing management suite. 

Best for: 

Social Media Managers

Other social listening tools

If you haven’t got the budget for a comprehensive social listening tool these alternative platforms can be almost as useful. While they don’t analyse images and have very limited features, they are free and will give you the bare minimum until you’re at a place where you’re budget allows for one of the ten social listening tools listed above. 

If this list of top social listening platforms tells us anything, it’s that machine learning and AI, especially Visual-AI are the key things to look out for when choosing your social listening tool. With AI and machine learning, these social listening tools have the intuitive ability to mine channels for trends, influencer impact, mentions and so much more. What’s more is, these platforms gather and report the data so you, the user, don’t have to trawl through posts yourself, saving you hours and reducing the risk of missing important data. When it comes to renewing your media monitoring tool this year, be sure to check that it utilises AI and machine learning so that you are truly getting your budget’s worth. 

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