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Which Social Media Intelligence Vendor Is Right for You?

November 13, 2014 | By Jacques Begin

In this post, we provide recommendations and insights on what to consider when selecting a social media intelligence vendor. Find out more.
Social media intelligence (SMI) solutions allow organizations to monitor social channels and conversations, respond to social signals and synthesize social data points into meaningful trends and analysis based on the user's needs.

SiriusDecisions’ recently published SiriusView: Social Media Intelligence evaluates and scores six vendors serving the social intelligence needs of today’s b-to-b marketing professionals.  Selecting the right SMI tool is critical to accessing, integrating and analyzing social data. In this post, we provide a snapshot of when you should consider each vendor. 

 Oracle Oracle – Social Engagement and Monitoring (SE&M) Cloud: Large enterprises that are currently Oracle customers can benefit from the Social Engagement and Monitoring Cloud’s (SE&M) native integration (current and planned) with Oracle Marketing Cloud, Oracle Commerce Cloud and Oracle Sales Cloud. The solution is robust and capable of operating in globally dispersed organizations that require monitoring in multiple languages. SE&M’s current customer base is 85 percent b-to-c, and 75 percent have annual revenue of $500 million or more. Small organizations with less complex SMI needs or no need for language differentiation may be better served by other, less expensive platforms.

 Salesforce Salesforce.com – Radian6: Existing Salesforce Marketing Cloud customers (Professional edition and above) have access to Social Studio and may find its use appealing, even if they have another SMI tool in place. SiriusDecisions clients have noted Radian 6’s strengths in brand monitoring, its expansion in natural language processing, and positive interactions related to Salesforce.com support of the tool. However, clients have expressed concern over ease of use and setup, sentiment analysis and pricing (e.g. search limitations). The tool may not be well suited for smaller enterprises with less sophisticated social media needs.

 SDL SDL – SM2: SM2 monitors and analyzes in more languages than most other vendors, but it monitors fewer social properties than its competitors (thousands compared to millions). It provides a large portfolio of services and support and a robust analytics offering that is suitable for large enterprises with dedicated social focus on the buyer’s journey. The complexity and price of the solution may preclude smaller companies from receiving value. In addition, enterprises that emphasize multilingual customer support might consider other vendors, as support and the SM2 user interface are currently available only in English.

 Sysomos Sysomos – Media Analysis Platform/Heartbeat: Sysomos Media Analysis Platform can be thought of as a library (a wealth of information and an unlimited ability to explore), whereas Heartbeat is like a single book that provides specific information. SiriusDecisions’ marketing customers have commented that Sysomos products are user-friendly and intuitive. However, enterprises that are looking for unlimited search and querying or a larger suite of capabilities contained within one integrated product may consider other vendors.

 Visible Visible Technologies – Visible Intelligence: Visible Intelligence is a robust SMI tool that serves the needs of large enterprises and their agencies with sophisticated social media teams. Continued investment in research and development drives a regular cadence of new features and functionality. Smaller enterprises or those without dedicated and experienced social media teams may find the tool’s functionality excessive for their immediate needs. Although multilingual user interfaces and customer support are on Visible’s product roadmap for 2015, enterprises with immediate needs for this capability may benefit from looking at competing products. 

 Vocus Vocus: While standalone social media monitoring and intelligence tools are plentiful, Vocus is one of the few platforms to offer an aggregated view across traditional media and social media channels. Its addition of marketing automation platform (MAP) functionality is attractive to new and existing customers with basic MAP requirements and a clearly defined focus on PR monitoring. Enterprises looking for a standalone SMI solution or those with heavy integration needs into existing MAP or SFA systems may not receive the full value of Vocus’ suite options and may be better served by other vendors.

Note: Vocus and Cision, both of which were acquired by GTCR in May 2014, acquired Visible Technologies in September 2014. The new entity is known simply as Cision. At the time of the SiriusView’s publication, Visible Intelligence is still being offered as a separate solution from Vocus’ Social Media product. Therefore, both solutions are covered in the report.

These descriptions provide a quick snapshot of the companies we covered; additional analysis is contained in the complete SiriusView. When considering these vendors, as with any company, we recommend securing customer references as part of due diligence before trial or purchase.


Jacques Begin

Jacques is a Research Director in the Technology and Services practice at SiriusDecisions. He brings over 15 years of technology research, application and implementation expertise and insight to SiriusDecisions. He has proven success in account management, research and analysis, content development and delivery and communications and collaboration. Follow Jacques on Twitter @JacquesBegin22.

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