Top 10 social media analytics tools: The VentureBeat index

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Consumers and businesses alike have something to learn from just about all of your social media interactions. How many people did your post reach? What sort of links do your followers like best? Does anything you do online even matter?

tweet birds twitterFortunately, the rise of social media has been accompanied by the creation of tools to that analyze the impact of most of your social media activities. For anyone serious about building their online presence (say “personal brand” one more time) or help grow their businesses’ reach online, social media analytics tools are essential.

As part of VentureBeat’s new research initiative, we’re building a top 10 list of the best social media analytics tools on the Web. Here is a list of our initial choices, in alphabetical order. But just as we did with our recent call for the top online health services, we’re also calling for your participation.

Fill out this survey to tell us if you agree with our choices or if you think we should consider other companies.

We also welcome your feedback if you’re familiar with any of these tools. The goal is to create a comprehensive list of social media analytics tools that actually deliver on their promises. Everyone who participates in creating the research by filling out the surveys will get a copy of the final results, and we’ll continue to update our rankings of these companies over time.

This is just the beginning.

33Across

What if you could combine social media analytics with your marketing efforts?

33Across’s SocialDNA Targeting technology does just that — it helps brands get a more complete picture of their online audience by analyzing how they interact with the brand’s social media interactions. That’s good for both companies and their customers: 33Across helps companies figure out the best places to focus their marketing efforts, which leads to more relevant ads for consumers.

All that data also tells 33Across that most of our social media sharing is largely driven by ego.

If you’ve used 33Across, share your thoughts.

Brandwatch

dog listeningFor international corporations with international reach, Brandwatch may be the ideal analytics solution for you, thanks to its support for 25 languages.

Like most other analytics suites, Brandwatch monitors all of the conversations across various social networks. The company claims that its algorithm cuts through social spam to help find the conversations that really matter. (It’s known for having some of the best data gathering and parsing tools — social media management company Hootsuite partners with Brandwatch to enable its customer to benefit from Brandwatch’s 70-million-plus data data sources.)

What do you think of Brandwatch’s tools?

Google Analytics

While it’s far from sexy, it is free.

Google Analytics has become a great resource for social media analytics on your website. Last year Google added social reports to analytics, which you can use to determine the conversion value of visitors from social sites as well as see how visitors from different social sites behave on your site. It also has an “Activity Stream” that shows in real time how people are talking about your site on social networks.

Hootsuite

hootsuite busOne of the most popular social media analytics tools — and for good reason — Hootsuite offers a single online dashboard to manage your social media accounts. This includes Twitter, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, and more.

But in addition to helping you schedule posts and manage your social media content, Hootsuite also digs into what your social media activity means with its own set of analytics tools. The company also recently partnered up with Brandwatch to extend the reach of its analytics, bringing it more in line with what enterprise customers would expect.

(Have you used Hootsuite? Let us know whether you liked it, loved it, or hated it.)

Buffer

Buffer started out as, well, a buffer. For those who tweet or share a lot, Buffer helped them space out their social media posts, and also optimize the time of their publishing to maximize engagement and response.

Now, the company offers plans for agencies, business, and enterprise, with detailed analytics about what is working and what isn’t, so you’ll have actual data to back up your sneaking suspicion that that posting to Twitter at midnight in the geography you’re targeting is a bad idea. Or that sharing to Facebook when everyone’s at work isn’t as effective as you might like. Buffer offers analytics on all the standard social media channels — plus App.net, the renegade we’re-not-Facebook social network.

LocalResponse

Another helpful play for marketers, LocalResponse lets companies read the intent in social chatter with the goal of delivering highly targeted ads.

The company also recently launched a dashboard for brands to keep track of the data its technology collects. Unlike other solutions, LocalResponse is able to extract meaning from natural language posts, which gives brands another way to target their marketing without relying on manual check-ins.

(Have you used LocalResponse? Share your thoughts here.)

Moz Analytics

Twitter analyticsFormerly SEOMoz, Moz Analytics gives you a single dashboard to view your social stats alongside other marketing efforts. As a bonus, the company can also show you how your social media standing affects your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.

Moz’s technology visualizes the data it collects, offers insights into how you measure up to the competition, and gives you recommendations to improve your overall marketing efforts.

Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud

In just a few years, and through some strategic acquisitions, Salesforce has lined up one of the most compelling social media analytics solutions with its Marketing Cloud.

Salesforce relies on Radian6’s technology for listening to social media chatter, Buddy Media’s tech for broadcasting your posts across the web, and Social.com’s solution for advertising wisely on social media. It’ll likely cost you more than most of the others on this list, but few services feature the thoroughness of Salesforce’s offering.

We want to know what you think about Salesforce’s marketing cloud.

SproutSocial

Like Hootsuite, SproutSocial manages all of your social media accounts from its dashboard, enabling you to easily schedule tweets and Facebook posts to keep your social pulse alive.

The company’s social analytics offers a variety of reports, which makes it appealing to people all across your entire business, not just the marketing department. SproutSocial also packs in some additional features like customer relationship management (CRM) and helpdesk functionality (which can be a good way to organize any complaints from social media followers). Both of those are usually add-ons in any other social media analytics solution.

Topsy

Want a look at the wider social web? With its real-time search, Topsy has cemented itself as a go-to solution for figuring out what’s happening right now across a wide swath of social media sites. Topsy also offers social analytics for just about any term (it’s not a bad way to figure out your competitors’ reach, for example).

Best of all, Topsy is perhaps the best way to figure out what was happening on Twitter at a particular moment. As a certified Twitter partner, Topsy has access to all of the tweets tweeted since Twitter’s founding in 2006. It’s the closest thing we have yet to a historical archive for Twitter.

Share and share alike

Have you used any of these tools or their competitors? We’re hoping to collect your individual thoughts in our social media survey, and then deliver all the collective wisdom right back to you. Thanks for participating in the survey!


VB's working with marketing expert Scott Brinker to understand the new digital marketing organization. Help us out by answering a few questions, and we'll help you out with the data.
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