Guide to brand monitoring + TOOLS [2021 update]
This post was updated on December 7, 2020.
Brand monitoring is the process of tracking publicly available brand mentions about your brand, service, or product. The data collected by a brand monitoring tool can have a positive effect on your business. Web monitoring can help you protect your reputation, measure the results of marketing campaigns, increase your brand awareness, and much more.
Brand reputation is the most important asset your company has. Especially in the age of the Internet, when anybody can talk about your company online.
The number of channels and Internet users makes it hard to follow every mention of your brand. Notably, if it happens outside your earned social media accounts. Spotting and analysing mentions about your brand is a job for a brand monitoring tool.
To spare you some time, I’ve selected the creme de la creme — top 10 brand monitoring tools!
- 1. Brand24
- 2. Google Alerts
- 3. Brandwatch
- 4. Hootsuite
- 5. BuzzSumo
- 6. Social Mention
- 7. Native social networks and analytics
- 8. Ahrefs
- 9. TweetDeck
- 10. Keyhole
If you already have your web monitoring tool of choice, I invite you to the second part of our blog post. We sum up all the benefits of tracking mentions about your company!
- What is brand monitoring?
- Why is brand monitoring important?
- How to set up a brand monitoring project?
What a plot twist, we’ve made our list!
According to HubSpot, Brand24 is one of the most robust brand monitoring tools.
Brand24 collects publicly available data from various sources, for example:
- social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Twitch)
- blogs, forums, and review sites
- news sites
- all other publicly available mentions on the web
Brand24 is the perfect mix between social listening and overall brand tracking.
Brand24 will give you plenty of information about your brand, how it is perceived online, and where and what people are saying about your brand. User-friendly dashboard makes the navigation a piece of cake.
To start project, simply enter your brand name in the project creation wizard and click create. From that moment on, the process of monitoring brand, hashtags, and more starts!
Moreover, Brand24 will give you some hefty brand monitoring data, such as:
- the volume of mentions
- the sentiment analysis of mentions
- type and number of interactions
- estimated social media reach
- most active locations where your keyword is used on Twitter
- the context of a discussion for your project
- list of most influential authors for your industry niche
But that’s not all! Brand24 also offers two comparison modes.
You can compare two separate projects in the Comparison tab.
That’s useful if you want to compare your brand reputation to your competitors. Or if you have two services, products, or marketing campaign and you want to see which one achieved the desired KPIs.
But you can also see how social media KPIs of a specific project change over time. You’ll find these pieces of information in the Summary tab.
You can measure changes in:
- the total number of results
- social media reach
- the total number of interactions
- the number of results with positive and negative sentiment
- the type of social media interactions
- sentiment around your brand
You can generate a customised PDF report to display the results of your project.
As a bonus, you get a list of trending hashtags that is based on social mentions collected for your project. Use the social listening data to boost your online presence.
2. Google Alerts
Some free brand monitoring tools will perfectly suit your business needs, especially if you are beginning your business journey.
Google Alerts is a much simpler brand monitoring tool, which has its advantages and disadvantages.
For starters, Google Alerts is a free tool.
It’s also easy to use. Enter the keyword you want to monitor across the web into the search bar and enter your email address. That’s all!
Every time someone uses your keyword online, you’ll receive an email.
GA aggregates online mentions containing your predefined keyword.
The simplicity can be a blessing, but can also be a curse.
You won’t receive any advanced analytics sections, nor will you be able to set up dedicated notifications or generate reports.
Google Alerts does not monitor social media, but it is a free brand monitoring tool. Would you like to know what are the differences between Google Alerts and Brand24? Take a look at article “Google Alerts alternative” where you’ll find more details.
Brandwatch is on the other side of the spectrum of brand monitoring tools — it offers extensive data analytics and business intelligence.
It is, however, one of the most expensive brand monitoring tools on the market.
Let’s start with positives.
Brandwatch offers historical data and powerful algorithms based on machine learning.
The algorithms will slice and dice data for you to provide:
- the most accurate and insightful information about your audience
- segment the data into relevant categories that will help you build the perfect customer persona.
Moreover, Brandwatch offers a reporting platform featuring live data reports and real-time displays.
Monitoring of social media is covered within all the plans. You can use the social listening results to boost your online presence and discover important industry trends.
Brandwatch is a brand monitoring tool dedicated to large companies and enterprises. The pricing is available upon request.
Hootsuite is best known as a social media management tool. With the help of HootSuite, you can schedule your social media posts.
But you can also use Hootsuite as a brand monitoring tool and gather all the mentions about your brand online.
Set up the social media streams that monitor conversations and predefined keywords.
Hootsuite is still a social media management tool. It means it will only collect mentions from social media channels, such as Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube.
Hootsuite starts at $19 per month.
BuzzSumo is another tool not commonly associated with brand monitoring.
However, it offers brand monitoring services.
The brand monitoring tool provides many features that can help you spot all the relevant mentions, for example:
- keywords and brand alerts
- domain alerts — receive a notification any time new content is published on a given domain
- author alerts — track all content posted by a certain author
- link alerts — get notified any time there’s a new backlink to your website (excellent for SEO purposes)
- personalised dashboard
- real-time notifications
- filters to receive precisely the results you need
BuzzSumo starts at $99 per month.
6. Social Mention
Social Mention is a free brand monitoring monitoring tool.
Does the interface look familiar?
I bet it does!
It looks very similar to the Google search engine.
Enter the keyword you want to track in the search bar. Then you can define the source you’d like to look into. You can choose from blogs, microblogs, bookmarks, images, videos, and questions. Unfortunately, it does not offer social media monitoring.
Social Mention provides some analytics you could use to boost your business, for example:
- sentiment analysis
- top keywords
- top users
- top hashtags
The main drawback to Social Mention is that it does not offer data from social media platforms. Therefore, the results and analytics are limited, and not always 100% accurate.
7. Native social media networks and analytics
Sometimes the easiest solution is the best!
Many social media platforms offer built-in analytics platforms and notifications systems.
It’s by far one of the cheapest ways to monitor your brand mentions, at least, in terms of money.
To get the data you need from native analytics tools, you need to spend a vast amount of time inside the panel, manually analysing the mentions. That’s the right solution for individuals or small brands, but will be ineffective for SME and big corporations.
Someone may link to your website, without mentioning the name of the brand you monitor.
Just what I did a minute ago with Ahrefs.
Ahrefs is an SEO tool that offers limited brand monitoring. As a brand monitoring tool, Ahrefs will let you follow the backlinks to your website. That’s why, Ahrefs is your software of choice when it comes to link building efforts.
Apart from looking for the best keywords and your website’s overall position in Google, you can track backlinks to your site.
The link monitoring tool starts at $99 per month.
Do you want to focus solely on Twitter? Social media monitoring of Twitter is a piece of cake!
Then take a look at TweetDeck.
With TweetDeck, you can create a Twitter dashboard that perfectly suits your needs.
The tool allows you to carefully follow hashtags during events or live storms and effectively take part in the conversation.
TweetDeck is a free brand monitoring tool.
Keyhole will give insights into your brand online performance.
The brand monitoring tool gives you a quick rundown of the most important social metrics, for example:
- total impressions
- total engagement
- total link clicks
Keyhole monitors the performance of predefined keywords, URLs, hashtags, and @ brand mentions.
Keyhole offers real-time monitoring and reporting. You can use the brand monitoring tool to track your company’s performance or to compare your results against your competitors.
Keyhole starts at $179 a month.
What is brand monitoring?
Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of web monitoring, let’s make sure we are all on the same side.
People are talking about your company all over the Internet. To make fully informed decisions about your company, you need to track your brand closely.
The process of brand monitoring will help you adjust your PR and marketing strategies, get to know your industry better, work with the right set of influencers, and get to know your audience.
Listening tools should be an indispensable part of your business stack.
That’s a bold statement, so let’s hear some reasons as to why!
Why is brand monitoring important?
Monitoring online mentions is essential part of brand owners job.
Brand monitoring will help you measure many different public relations and sales KPIs. The results can provide valuable insights.
Brand and social media monitoring will help you with:
- boosting your sales by promoting your business via cooperation with various influencers
- measuring the results of your hashtag marketing campaign to determine the success of your efforts
- monitoring your competitors to know what’s going on in your industry
- bringing your customer experience to the next level by spotting and reacting to negative comments
- analysing the sentiment around certain products, campaigns, or services
- getting to know your audience better by listening to what they say about your brand
- conducting market research and identifying the newest trends in your industry
Of course, there’s a simple solution. You can manually search for all the online brand mentions across the web. Imagine what fun it must be to search for the name of your company on various blogs, forums, social media sites, and all other places people are talking about you.
Manually monitoring your brand name manually is extremely time-consuming. New channels emerge every day which makes it hard to keep up.
It’s also easy to miss crucial mention. A piece of negative content can slip through your fingers and potentially lead to a crisis.
That’s where brand monitoring comes in handy!
Brand monitoring tools provide you with much more than a collection of mentions containing your predefined keyword.
A robust analytics section that can immensely help your business. Social listening tools will help you get to the most important online mentions and discover industry trends.
What are the benefits of brand monitoring? Let’s find out!
Evaluating PR effectiveness
Brand monitoring is especially useful when it comes to measuring the results of PR campaigns.
Brand monitoring measures:
- the reach of your branded or campaign-specific hashtag
- the social media reach of your posts
- the non-social media reach of your content
- how often your keyword is mentioned on different social media channels
- how people feel about your messaging
- what context are the keywords used in.
By keeping a close eye on all those metrics, you can easily assess the results of your public relations efforts.
Presenting hard numbers will help you defend the results of your work. You will know how your work contribute to overall business success and will know which areas need improvement.
Monitoring mentions about your brand can also help manage your online reputation.
People talk, and they often talk behind your back — on platforms you’re not active. Your job is to find all the comments and react appropriately.
That way you can spot crises before they escalate and protect your brand reputation.
Key component of successful crisis management is speedy reaction to all negative posts.
Media monitoring tools allow you to set up notifications for the most important mentions.
You can receive traditional notifications in three ways:
- Slack integration. Every time there’s new mention you’ll automatically receive a message on the chosen Slack channel
- Storm alerts. When there’s an unexpected rise in the volume of mentions, we’ll email you.
- In-app notifications. We offer an app both for Android and iOS devices.
Once you’re in the know of mentions regarding your brand, products, or service, you have to act.
The question remains — how?
How to react to positive mentions?
Let’s start with the nice things! Responding to positive mentions is the cherry on top of all your hard work!
It’s always good to acknowledge that someone said something nice about you.
Responding to positive remarks with an emoji or a simple “thank you” won’t take long, but will build a favourable brand reputation.
How to react to negative mentions?
The worst thing you can do with customer complaints is not to answer them at all. Ignoring customers’ complaints can damage your brand reputation, decrease revenue, and increase churn.
Does it sound scary? It should!
Contrary to what many business owners think, receiving a negative mention is not an end of the world.
You could even turn the tables around and make the unhappy client your brand ambassador!
The trick is to react quickly and efficiently.
Your customers will leave two types of complaints. They could mention a real problem you could solve. That’s the best type of complaint. Just take a look here:
The customer indicates what the problem is. By proactively working to resolve the issue, you can show your customers that you care about their well-being.
There are, however, different types of complaints. For example, here:
You can’t really do anything about this problem, as the issue is about how the customer feels about your products.
You can’t solve the problem, but you can certainly make the customer feel better!
Sometimes, just acknowledging their problem could help you manage your brand reputation and prevent the crisis from escalating.
The worst thing you can do is leave your customer hanging without any answer. Ignoring your customers could damage your brand reputation. Repairing the damage could be time-consuming.
Brand monitoring is not only about tracking the mentions concerning your brand.
You can also closely monitor your competition!
Monitoring your competitors will give some valuable insights, for example:
- Learning from their mistakes. Your competitors might have tested some solutions that didn’t work for them. You can adjust the strategy to your needs!
- Benefiting from their errors. Monitoring the mentions around your competitors can help you spot opportunities to take over the conversations and promote your product.
- Establishing in which direction your competitors are planning to develop their business. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you should follow in their footsteps, but it will give you a general idea of where your business niche is progressing. You will be able to get one step ahead, by identifying emerging industry trends.
How do you technically track the mentions concerning your brand competitors?
Exactly the way you monitor mentions concerning your brand!
Create a project, but instead of including keywords related to your brand, put in everything that’s associated with your competitors — the name of their product, hashtags, review sites, etc.
Then you can easily compare your results to your competitors.
You can use the results of brand monitoring to choose the right influencers for your next campaign.
Influencers will endorse your product and make sure your potential clients get the whole picture of your product or service. The key to a successful campaign is to find the right influencers.
Monitoring the web for conversations your audience have about your industry will help you find the right people.
Besides the list of the most influential public profiles, brand monitoring software will provide analytics metrics, for example, the share of voice and influence. Analyse the metrics and choose people your audience identifies with.
Your customer will not only leave online reviews, but they will also leave some interesting insights into product development.
People will talk about what they’re missing from your offer, what they want to improve, and which features might be completely useless.
That’s a goldmine of business development knowledge!
Customers’ ideas might not always be viable from a business point of view, as your customers don’t have a holistic view of your business.
Nevertheless, the ideas are worth exploring.
Let’s illustrate that with an example.
Imagine your products are pristine, there’s absolutely nothing to complain about. But the delivery company has misplaced the orders way too many times for it to be a coincidence.
Brand monitoring will indicate an issue with your overall business performance. That may include one of your subsidiaries, for example, a shipping company.
How to set up a brand monitoring project?
It’s a four-step process in our new project creation wizard. That sounds like a lot, but you’ll be done with it in no time!
Firstly, in the project creation wizard insert all the terms you’d like to monitor. Think about keywords such as:
- the name of your company
- the name of your product
- your branded hashtag
- your campaign-specific hashtag
- the name of C-suite managers or other highly-recognisable employees
After you click “Create” the tool will start collecting all publicly available mentions. Brand monitoring tools, in general, don’t provide historical data.
No matter which brand monitoring tool you opt for, it will give you a much better grip on what is said about your brand.
Considering the fact, that the majority of conversations about your brand, product, or service happens online you need to be aware of the online chatter.
Monitoring brand across different online platforms will help you stay on top of things.