Empowering the end user and those considering a career in digital media

Social Media Monitoring: Meltwater Buzz vs Radian6

with 9 comments

Ask anyone with experience trying to build a brand’s social media presence and they will tell you, the key to success is measurement and evaluation. There are free tools on the market that can help you with this but increasingly, none quite cut the mustard compared to the paid for offerings.

The most well known three are Radian6, Meltwater Buzz and Brandwatch. As far as I can see, Brandwatch (which I’m also currently trialling) seems to present a slightly differing offering so, in this post, I’ll be comparing Radian6 to Meltwater Buzz – based on testing from an end user perspective.

Meltwater Buzz describes itself as a social media monitoring tool that ‘allows our clients to monitor blogs, social networks, Twitter, forums and other social media sites to get a complete picture of what is being said about your organization, your products, and your competitors.’

Where as Radian6, ‘gives you a complete platform to listen, measure and engage with your customers across the entire social web.’

Hmm… so far, so similar.

To ensure I understood each of the product offerings properly, I set up a telephone testing session with both companies.

Both responded swiftly through email, Twitter AND telephone. From a customer services perspective they are both superb – perhaps even a little overzealous.

On the initial calls, both answered some of my more testing questions in detail and with honesty. Neither claimed to offer a solution to the machine’s inability to distinguish between the positive and negative sentiment of all posts. Both attempted to solve a trying new business issue I’ve been battling, searching for particularly obscure references to a particularly niche company.

Once I started looking at each off the options, it was initially hard to distinguish between the two. Both allow you to monitor your client’s social media presence in depth, tracking by key words, creating reports and responding to individuals. Both allow you to rate posts in order of importance and track your responses over time. Both look cool and are blue. Both offer the core monitoring tools you would expect, plus some more thrown in for good measure.

I wont go in to the nitty gritty of the individual features here – both companies will happily schedule an hours demonstration – so you would be far better to see for yourself.

But, what are the key differences?

For me, it depends on the size of the client you’re working with. Meltwater Buzz focuses on beautiful graphs, making sense of trends and counting the big numbers. Where as Radian6 seems to be more about the individual responses – tracking individuals in the social media sphere and ensuring influencers are acknowledged and responded to.

If your client is a household name, Meltwater Buzz may be for you. It does what it says on the tin and gives a great view of buzz across the web. However, if you’re working with a smaller brand where every individual counts, Radian6 could help weed out the supporters AND cynics to ensure your message gets where it needs to go.

All going to plan, I’ll be putting both to the test monitoring actual campaigns over the coming months.

It would be great to get feedback from longstanding users who might have a view on my first impressions.


Written by sociauxanswers

January 11, 2010 at 8:18 pm

9 Responses

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  1. Nice to see a balanced review resulting from pitting the two providers head to head. I must confess, I’ve been working for 4 years in this space and had never heard of Meltwater Buzz. I agree with the conclusion that when selecting a social media insight service, it very much depends on your specific needs.

    For a more extensive overview a good starting point is Social Target. Principal Nathan Gilliatt has possibly seen and used the greatest number of paid-for social media monitoring services out there:
    With regards to paid for versus free tools or which paid for service to go for, you should take the following into consideration. This is taken from my comments on a post on the excellent E-Consultancy portal about whether “buzz monitoring” (a limiting term, in my opinion) can replace traditional forms of customer intelligence/market research:
    “The problem is in the terminology. “Monitoring” can mean listening – getting a massive list of verbatims trawled from myriad social media and trying to distill some sense from it (like “herding cats” is the expression I’ve heard) or even getting some superficial automated analysis that may will give the questions (“our customer service sucks – why?”) but not the answers (call centre waiting times, inflexible contracts, rude staff etc.).

    For analysis of social media insight to complement other forms of market research it needs to focus on the most visible references (hence the media need to be analysed – traffic, links, interactivity, frequency of update, originality of content) and these references broken down into opinion topics (e.g. customer service) and sub-topics (call centres, other touchpoints, contracts, cancellation policy etc) with sentiment applied at these levels. Add to that defining each opinion by the opinion type (is it a suggestion, question, recommendation, complaint?), the opinion holder (former, current, potential, competition customer etc), product/service line ,language and have access to the big picture (with multiple filtering possibilities) via an online viewer and you have a powerful insight tool.

    Does this mean you can drop the surveys or focus groups? Maybe not, you might want to follow up salient issues with some of the opinion holders. They might respond better to these targetted enquiries than they do to catch-all, 10 page exams that I’ve seen.

    Social media insight providers need to work on integrating this with other CRM data and/or market research data to win over potential clients across the business functions.”

    Jonathan Moody

    January 12, 2010 at 11:02 am

  2. Hi Beth

    I am pleased to see a post after our initial demonstration of Radian6 yesterday. I look forward to more feedback when your trial starts and I will follow all comments and thoughts from your readers with interest.


    Tom List (@tomlist6c)
    6Consulting, Radian6 UK partner


    January 12, 2010 at 11:33 am

  3. Beth,

    You should check out Sysomos, which offers two social media services: Heartbeat (monitoring/measurement) and MAP (in-depth analytics, reporting). With the ability to provide on-the-fly translations into multiple languages, we’ve attracted a lot of European customers.

    cheers, Mark

    Mark Evans
    Director of Commmunications

    Mark Evans

    January 12, 2010 at 1:24 pm

  4. Beth,

    Thanks for your review of Meltwater Buzz. We’ve been in mainstream online media monitoring for several years, but as a relatively new player (7 months) in the Social Media space, it’s great to hear positive feedback on the product.

    Automated Sentiment is probably the Holy Grail of SM linguistic processing right now. Whilst most of our clients are pretty pleased with our automated sentiment tool’s, there is always room for improvement – sarcasm and irony being major areas where automated tools struggle.

    We appreciate your feedback, and look forward to putting these initial observations to the test in the coming months

    Best of luck
    Mike Anderson
    Managing Director
    Meltwater Buzz ¦ London

    Mike Anderson

    January 14, 2010 at 3:51 pm

  5. Hi Beth,

    Great to see bloggers breaking down the various social media monitoring systems that are available to help sort out our unique differences.

    I would love to give you a demonstration of Synthesio if you would be free – we set up customized dashboards and assist our clients through the entire monitoring process (of both traditional and social media), monitor in 30 languages, and emphasize a manual sorting of the data for pertinence and sentiment.

    If you’d like, my e-mail is michelle(.)chmielewski@synthesio(.)fr

    Hope to talk with you soon!

    @Synthesio / @MiChmski


    January 19, 2010 at 2:38 pm

  6. If you wanted the same functionality but not through a reseller then why not look at the original software provider:

    Same functionality but without the reseller fees on top and there’s a Freemium account that allows 5 profiles and 1,000 search results for free! Ideal if you’re a small company!

    Power to the people!

    February 16, 2010 at 1:14 pm

  7. Infegy’s enterprise customers are taking it a step further using Social Radar for social web analytics. Social Radar is used by major brands and their agencies. Please let me know if you’d like a demo – alison at


    March 25, 2010 at 6:14 pm

  8. Beth!

    I figured I’d chime in as well. Would love to also walk you through Biz360 monitoring and engagement platform. Please ping me offline to make arrangements.

    – Maria Ogneva
    @biz360 @themaria

    Maria Ogneva

    March 25, 2010 at 8:20 pm

  9. Beth,

    Seems all the social media monitoring vendors are coming out the woodwork. Nice summary by the way!

    Wanted to also give you a heads up about SinoBuzz. This is an English/Chinese language platform that allows for companies not just monitoring the usual Facebook/twitter etc streams but to also get access to the Chinese social media landscape and track Sina micro-blogs, Renren, Kaixin001 and other very specific Chinese social media sites.

    Thanks again for the interesting comparison.


    Twitter: or

    Dr Mathew McDougall

    May 12, 2010 at 1:07 pm

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