This is a guest post by Yoav Dembak, CEO and co-founder of Colabo, a self-service marketing analytics tool.
Google Alerts has long had the reputation of being a simple, user-friendly email alert service for news stories and general web mentions, extracted from a customized search query. As one of Google’s oldest tools, the product has been held to a high standard of reliability and accuracy.
Recently, Google has taken the turn for the worst, killing off Google Reader, a valuable RSS tool for a variety of users. Many fear that, given Google Alerts’ recent issues, it will soon be added to the quickly growing list of “Google Graveyarders.”
For professional users who are looking to keep track of a product or competitor, Google Alerts’ service has never been ideal. Too often, alerts are missing important data or not being sent in real time. The results are dry in their presentation, making it hard to see across multiple sources. Lastly, the complex syntax and Boolean operators can be challenging for users, leaving them with unwanted results or missing relevant information.
With Google Alerts’ recent performance issues, the door is open for a new hot market. Many companies have taken advantage of the problems and have created solutions to improve where Google went wrong. Ranging from entry- to enterprise-level tools, there are now solutions for any professional to receive the most reliable results in real time. Here are seven options for various needs and budgets:
Entry level replacements
These tools replicate Google Alerts’ interface and functionality but also include a few more social sources, such as Twitter and Tumblr.
1. For similar interface and functionality — Talkwalker advertises itself as “the best free and easy alternative to Google Alerts.” If you like the functionality of the Google Alerts search query, this is the product for you. Receive alerts in real time from the web via email or in an RSS feed reader.
2. For simple social monitoring — Social Mention is a free and reputable product in the social search engine arena, tracking alerts across the web and social media channels. Additionally, Social Mention provides sentiment analysis on social media mentions and hashtag tracking as part of its service.
These tools offer a configuration of data sources, such as proprietary sources, specific media outlets, and Google Analytics. In addition, they have a better UI, analytics, and custom reports suited for the professional user.
1. Social and traditional media monitoring — Mention is a high-end version of Google Alerts with the addition of select social sources. Mention offers a free version with limited capabilities and an unlimited version starting at $19.99 a month and provides real-time alerts via email and push notifications to your cellular device. Alerts are flagged by importance of mentions according to the latest source interactions by influence and authority.
2. Tracking TV and media campaign alerts — Trendrr lets you harness the power of social media to see how a TV ad or a show is received by the audience. The service starts at $499 a month.
3. Customizing sources and adding proprietary sources — My own company, Colabo provides unlimited data sources and self-service analytics. Additionally, you can add searches from internal databases, such as your CRM or paid services like Hoovers. And you can add notifications for key terms and receive them in real time. Colabo starts at $90 a month with a limited free trial.
These tools usually offer their own proprietary news sources per industry and often can be combined with a service offering that filters the news for you.
1. Proprietary news source per industry with a financial focus — Bloomberg’s recently launched platform, Bloomberg Professional, provides a different scope of information. Starting in the thousand-dollar range, financial professionals are able to receive alerts from any device in real-time that include news and analytics.
2. PR management — Meltwater News is a full solution aimed at PR and marketing professionals for both inbound and outbound coverage. The product covers news features, online media monitoring, and delivers breaking news about your brand from more than 190,000 news publications, including some social sources like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and blogs in the form of daily alerts. A subscription starts around $6,000 a year.
Yoav Dembak is the CEO and co-founder of Colabo, a self-service marketing analytics tool. Prior to Colabo, Yoav was an executive at VMware in charge of Product Marketing for the data center management product suite. Yoav was the CEO of B-hive and before that he held various marketing and sales roles at Breach Security, Gilian Technologies, and Gilat Satellite Networks.
Alert icon via Pavel Ignatov/Shutterstock