Today marks the publication of Econsultancy’s 2012 Online Reputation and Buzz Monitoring Buyer’s Guide, containing profiles of 15 leading vendors and advice for companies trying to choose a tool and to get the most from the technology.

The report follows separate research we published in November which shows that an increasing number of companies are paying for reputation monitoring software.  

According to the State of Social Report, published in association with LBi and bigmouthmedia, the proportion of companies using paid-for technology for reputation monitoring increased from 16% in 2010 to 25% in 2011, including 17% who also use free tools for social listening. 

While freely available software (including simple keyword alerts and searches) can be extremely useful, more companies are investing in paid-for social listening technology. This is because requirements are becoming more sophisticated and the output from tools is now more deeply engrained within businesses and across a range of business functions including marketing, sales and customer service. 

The State of Social Report also found that 64% of companies are now beyond the ‘experimental stage’ of social media marketing, up from 54% in 2010. 

In the context of reputation monitoring tools, this means more companies are focused on measuring value and optimising their social media activity. Companies know there is a wealth of data available to them via various superficial social metrics (such as numbers of fans, followers and friends), but the challenge now lies in making sense of the data and deriving key performance indicators (KPIs) that make sense in the context of the business. There is more of a focus on measuring the right social media metrics

According to John Song, Executive Vice-President of Alterian, one of the vendors profiled in the report: 

We’re seeing more sophistication in the marketplace on the part of buyers. Customers are realising that social media monitoring can go well beyond describing ‘what is happening’ and ‘why it’s happening’ to provide deep insights into customer behaviour; budgets are growing because of this.”

What is covered in our new buyer’s guide?

The 181-page report describes the most important trends affecting this market, with sections covering the following areas:

  • Increased investment in online reputation monitoring tools
  • Social analytics come into focus as industry matures
  • Customer service becomes public through social media
  • Quest to integrate different types of data 
  • Lack of social media governance holds back companies

The report also contains detailed tips and advice for those seeking a vendor, including questions to ask potential suppliers. There is also an outline for establishing social listening measurement within your organisation.  

Which vendors are profiled in the report? 

The following vendors are profiled in the buyer’s guide: Alterian, ASOMO, AT internet, Attentio, BrandsEye, Brandwatch, Cymfony, Infegy (Social Radar), Market Sentinel, Meltwater Group, Onalytica, Radian6, Sentiment Metrics, Sysomos and Visible Technologies.