Very powerful tool; not the best for novice users
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May 01, 2019

Very powerful tool; not the best for novice users

Score 6 out of 10
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Overall Satisfaction with Brandwatch

For modern PR, having a pulse on social conversation is a must. We use it to monitor conversation on topics, brands, competitors, and to identify trends and audiences that can inform both strategic planning and rapid-response. In practice, the analytics team does most of the work in the platform, but there are some generalists who are comfortable doing basic to intermediate tasks.
  • Slices and dices data by different keyword sets and visualizes it however you need it
  • Doesn't limit the number of queries
  • Allows for highly customized dashboards
  • Makes it easy to limit access based on user logins
  • Very steep learning curve- good luck training casual users on the difference between a query, a rule, a category etc
  • Lack of access to FULL historic data is a serious drawback- populating that data takes a minimum of 24 hours and incurs additional costs
  • Volume limits mean you may have to build your query to exclude mentions that may be useful in getting the full context of the situation
  • I haven't mapped this to ROI but we couldn't offer a whole suite of services without it. Especially in modern PR, a platform like this is a must- it's table stakes at this point that you can do social media monitoring for your clients
20 - In the PR firms I've seen it used at, there's typically a team of experts who do the tricky stuff like setting up complex queries and dashboards and then you have generalists who can pull information from an existing dashboard. Ideally you'd want everyone fluent in the platform, but it's a steep learning curve.
This is kind of a moot point now that they're in the process of merging, but Brandwatch is better at segmenting data, and Crimson Hexagon is better at finding the meaning/story/context in the data and doing it quickly. Both are useful functions and once they're completely merged they have the potential to be a super platform.

Talkwalker is buggy and I'd rather spend my budget on a better platform. If it was half the price it'd be a decent option for an operation with a low budget.
Brandwatch craps out sometimes. Pages freeze, data doesn't populate for hours. It's fine if you're not in a hurry but something to keep in mind if you're working in real-time. It's not as bad as Talkwalker but it's impacted timely delivery of work for me, and one of the first things I teach when introducing the platform is the process for closing out and re-logging in to see if it unfreezes.
This is a very difficult platform to introduce, especially if you want novice users to use it. The Boolean has a bunch of operators that could be less complicated and there's a ton of levels of complexity with the queries, rules, categories etc. Then you add in Audiences, and that's another level to figure out. I wouldn't recommend it to organizations that don't have a ton of bandwidth to devote to training and supporting new users. Inevitably the analytics team will figure it out, then everyone else will rely on them. If that's not how you want your analysts used, you need to implement/lead with this reality in mind.
Brandwatch is great for ongoing monitoring using defined categories. It's brilliant at segmenting and displaying data how you need it, especially when you know what data you need and how you need to see it. It's not the best when you don't quite know what you're looking for, and when time matters - there aren't many good tools for quickly applying filters or using AI to identify patterns, though that's getting better as they continue to merge Crimson Hexagon technology, so I'd continue to watch this space.