Top 6 alternatives to Google Alerts
Do you want to know what people say about your business and products online? Track an important topic or a competitor? Track a hashtag, a marketing campaign, or just any keyword on the web and in social media? You can use Google Alerts. Well… can you?
Google Alerts is probably the most popular media monitoring tool out there.
It’s free of any charge, comes from Google, and is, due to its simplicity, super easy to use. At the same time, it might be a downside as the tool doesn’t provide any form of data analysis.
However, the most important question of all is: does it do the job? Apparently, looking at comments and discussions among users, it doesn’t – it gives a headache for a number of reasons.
People move away from Google Alerts for various reasons, for example:
- Too late or no results
- Limited sources
- Filters doesn’t work
- Loads of spam
- Lack of customer care and educational resources from Google
- Sometimes it doesn’t find content which is already on Google
There’s more reasons you can find online.
The malfunctions of Google Alerts are a considerable disappointment for those in business and marketing who need reliability and analytics. Advanced media monitoring tools crawl more online sources, provide better results and loads of in-depth data analysis.
If they brought you here and you’re looking for a Google Alerts alternative, here’s all about solid substitutes.
Scroll down to see how to set up Google Alerts.
The best 6 Google Alerts’ alternatives
- Sprout Social
- Critical Mention
Brand24 is one of the top alternatives to Google Alerts. We will compare these two tool on a few levels that are common to all web and media monitoring tools:
- Project set-up
- Data coverage
- Volume of mentions
- Data export
- Data analysis
For the sake of the comparison, on April 22, I set up a project monitoring one keyword both in Google Alerts and Brand24: Tesla.
99.9% of web and social media monitoring tools are paid.
Maintaining and developing such a tool comes at a cost of data maintenance wich gets expensive. Every single mention from every single project users have takes space in the cloud. It generates costs.
This 00.1% is Google Alerts – it’s completely free.
Google Alerts comes free of any cost.
Just like every other web and media monitoring tool, apart from Google Alerts, Brand24 is a paid tool. It works in SaaS (software as a service) model which is a monthly subscription service. It comes in three pricing plans:
- Personal Plus – $49
- Professional Premium – $99
- Professional Business $149
- Professional Max – $249
Project set-up options
Project set-up is important as it influences the quality of data your media monitoring tool provide.
The more options during project set-up, the more precise results you’ll get.
Project set-up options:
- Email address
Project set-up options:
- Required keywords
- Excluded keywords
- Email notifications
One great feature that Google Alerts misses here is required and excluded keywords.
It comes super useful if you need really precise results, or when you monitor a common word that at the same is a proper word. Just imagine that you want to collect mentions about a beer brand called Brooklyn without excluded / required keywords.
It’s where a media monitoring tool looks for mentions of your keywords.
While collecting mentions from websites is relatively easy, collecting data from social media platforms is more of a delicate matter because of privacy restrictions in the aftermath of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal.
After data leakage, Facebook, seeing its users fleeing from the platform, decided to take up privacy issues as their main priority. To show the world they improve their data security standards, they blocked thousands of apps and tools that might have been gathering Facebook data in any way – both illegally and legally.
Facebook, which also owns Instagram, has now strict protocols and authentication processes to ensure that external apps such as web and social media monitoring tools collect only publicly available data.
Facebook reviews each media monitoring tool to ensure everything done in accordance with their standards and best practices.
Here are the sources both tools monitor.
- Discussion forums
- Discussion forums
- News sites
The number of sources Google Alerts covers is smaller not only in comparison to Brand24 but also its other alternatives, for example, Awario, Talkwalker, or Brandwatch.
Frequency of alerts
This is all about your notifications: how often you get them and how timely they are.
In both cases, as-it-happens and real-time are a bit far-fetched – there’s no media monitoring tool out there that collects mentions in real time no matter what the price tag is, even though they say so.
There’s always a slight delay because of technical limitations.
- At most once a day
- At most once a week
- Every hour
- Every 6 hours
- Every 12 hours
- Once a day
- Every week
- Every month
Google Alerts has less delivery times.
In the case of Brand24, you can additionally adjust notifications using filters. Your email notification can be filtered according to even more specific keywords, sentiment, influencer score, sources, and other criteria depending on your choice.
The look of notifications
Both in Google Alerts and Brand24 you can access collected mentions inside tools in a mentions feed, or via email notifications.
Email notifications in Google Alerts
Notifications from Google Alert contain only mentions.
Email notifications in Brand24
Notifications in Brand24 contain not only mentions, but also brief data summary: volume, reach, positive mentions, negative mentions, and the number of followers.
Volume of mentions
Over one day, tools collected the following numbers of mentions:
- Google Alerts: 89
- Brand24: 8926 results
There’s a dramatic difference between Google Alerts and Brand24. It’s not only because the smaller number of source both tools monitor, but also because of technicalities.
Little results from Google Alerts was one of the most common complaint about the tool.
- Google Alerts: Not available
- Brand24: .xlsx, PDF Reports, infographics
Without a shadow of doubt Brand24, as a Google Alerts alternative, can do more.
When it comes to data export, Brand24 gives you a couple of options. You can export your data as an Excel file, as a PDF with your company logo or as an infographic.
The Excel file contains an entire range of data regarding mentions. It lists every single mention and describes it via various parameters, such as title, source, timing, content, estimated social media reach and more.
A PDF report consists of a couple of pages filled with data, such as discussion intensity chart, the most popular social media authors and so on so forth. Also, you can customize the report visually by choosing a color of your choice and uploading your company logo.
An infographic provides you with the summary of the most important bits of data.
- Google Alerts: Not available
- Brand24: Available
Brand24 provides sentiment analysis of mentions. There’s a possibility to filter positive, negative and neutral mentions. Then can be displayed on a chart, too.
- Google Alerts: Not available
- Brand24: Source, mentions, reach, share of voice, influence score
Brand24 gives the opportunity to filter authors and sources data using numerous filters such as Source, Mentions, Reach, Voice share, Influence and Influencer Score. Combined, they can help you with identifying influencers.
There’s more inside!
Google Alerts: Not available
In Brand24 you can set up a project monitoring your competition and receive real-time mentions to track your competitors’ marketing efforts, product launches and upgrades, pain-points, customer reviews and so on.
Also, Brand24 allows conducting a project comparison so that you can get an idea of how your online presence compares to your competitors.
Google Alerts: Not available
Campaign monitoring in Brand24 is as easy as pie. It also includes hashtag monitoring. You can analyze your marketing efforts and learn about its social media reach, the number of conversations, sentiment and more.
Viral Content Tracking
Google Alerts: Only the best results
Brand24: Storm Alerts
Both Google Alerts and Brand24 provide the opportunity to receive the most influential and buzzing mentions. However, in Brand24 this option is more advanced than in Google Alerts as you can more thoroughly adjust filters. This feature is called Storm Alerts. Basically, these alerts notify you about sudden changes in volume buzz.
Google Alerts: Afrikaans, English, Arabic, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Esperanto, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, French, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Spanish, Indonesian, Icelandic, Japanese, Catalan, Korean, Lithuanian, Latvian, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Armenian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Swahili, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese, Italian.
Brand24: Czech, Danish, German, English, Spanish, Finnish, French, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Swedish, Turkish, Vietnamese.
Brandwatch is an enterprise-level media monitoring tool. It definitely can be one of the best alternatives to Google Alerts, but it is one of the most expensive tools on the market.
Brandwatch monitors a lot more sources than Google alerts, since it covers major social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or Twitch, apart from blogs and news sites, forums, and review sites.
Brandwatch offers features such as:
- image analysis
- powerful demographic data to learn more about your audience
- API access
- industry trends
Brandwatch, in comparison to Google Alerts, delivers you analytics and ready to implement insights that could boost your business online presence, help you make more informed decisions, and, ultimately, increase your market share.
Brandwatch does not offer a free trial period, and there is no information about its pricing on the official website.
One of the sources says Brandwatch starts at $1,000 per month for 10,000 mentions.
Here is an article about Brandwatch alternatives.
Talkwalker offers you two types of alternatives to Google Alerts. A pricier version and a free product – Talkwalker Alerts.
Talkwalker Alerts works just like Google Alerts and also is free, so it definitely is an alternative to Google’s solution.
Talkwalker offers a paid version of the solution as well, that is focused on advanced real-time social monitoring. It gathers data from social networks and other online sources and combines them with market data. This social media monitoring software covers multiple social networks to give you the most comprehensive data possible, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The main product consists of social listening and analytics suite, influencer marketing platform, and AI engine. You can use Talkwalker for various purposes and it surely delivers a lot more insights and analytics than Google Alerts.
You can check out this article on Talkwalker alternatives.
Talkwalker offers a couple of pricing plans. The Basic one aimed at smaller brands or owned media-focused companies costs $9,600 yearly. The prices of the two remaining plans, Corporate and Enterprise are discussed on request.
4. Sprout Social
Sprout Social is one of the most popular social media tools among marketers and PR professionals. It is mostly a social media management tool but offers social media monitoring as well. Sprout Social covers Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Thus, it can be an alternative to Google Alerts.
It lets you uncover audience insights from online conversations. These aspects might help you in many areas of your business.
However, this Listening feature is available for an additional fee.
If you need to find out more about Sprout Social, you may want to read this article.
Sprout Social’s Listening feature starts at $999 per month.
Meltwater is an all-in-one solution. Its main aim is media monitoring and Social Media Listening, but it also offers Social Media Management, PR Analytics, and Influencer Engagement tools.
It can be a good alternative to Google Alerts, but it is definitely considered as one of the priciest monitoring solutions.
An additional plus is that Meltwater delivers mentions from print, TV, and radio to their clients, and equally monitors many online platforms such as social media channels or online news and podcasts.
Meltwater does not provide any public information about the pricing.
Some researchers cite that it may start at 4000$/year and others that at 6000$/year. Any of these assumptions have been confirmed though.
Want to read about Meltwater alternatives?
6. Critical Mention
Critical Mention is an old-school media monitoring tool, so there are probably more advanced and modern solutions, but still, it can be an alternative to Google Alerts.
Critical Mention stands out because it not only monitors online sources, but it covers offline media as well. The platform gives users the possibility to discover mentions from TV, radio and online media, such news websites and social media.
Critical Mention offers real-time monitoring and analytics.
You find more information about Critical Mention inside our article about its alternatives.
Critical Mention price is not widely shared and known.
Anyways, it is being said that the Critical Mention price typically runs $4,000-$10,000 per year.
How to set up Google Alerts?
If you decided that you want to stick to Google Alerts after all, here’s a short guide how to set a Google Alert:
- Go to Google Alerts.
- In the box enter a topic you want to be alerted about.
- Click “Show options” to change alert settings.
- Click “Create Alert” to get e-mail notifications.
Quick and easy. But if you already know everything there is to know about setting up Google Alerts, I highly recommend trying alternatives mentioned above. They give you much more insights and personalisation options.