UPDATE 08/16/2014: The Radian6 acquisition by Salesforce has propelled the listening offering into a mighty contender with a Salesforce Marketing Cloud coupling it with publishing (Buddy Media), email (Exact target), Ad buys (Social.com) and just this week the acquisition of RelateIQ, a big data player puts it ahead of the pack.
Another project oriented noteworthy listening insights contender out of Boston is Crimson Hexagon.
While enterprise marketing software, search, email and web analytics are fairly mature, the listening platforms for social media are beginning to take shape, to gather and provide insights from conversations. The brand and reputation management sentiment has not yet translated into meaningful trend shaping insights for marketers. The metrics surround themselves around mentions, reach and discussion volume.
There are some players in the listening platforms space which the recent paper by Forester has identified as making some movement in narrowing the insights gap. Among those listed in the report were Nielsen Buzz Metrics and TNS Cymfony which offer the best balance between technology, insight, delivery, and strategy. Nielsen got top honors for strong analytical and insight capability which TNS Cymfony appeared to excel in data collection and media coverage.
Some of the other players in the report were Biz 360, DowJones Insight, JDPA, Visible Technologies and Radian6. Visible Technologies is identified to best positioned to extend its capabilities into CRM systems.
As the natural language processing algorithms improve for the platforms we will hopefully see some metrics which present insight value. Currently, the measurement and results for Social Media are growing in maturity but still vague. Seemingly, more effort has been made into making pretty dashboards than meaningful metrics. Long way to go. It shall be exciting to watch as maturity sets in – they certainly are the toughest analytics yet, to conquer.