Free High Precision News Alerting and News/Social Media Viewer
Overall Satisfaction with Owler
- High Precision News Alerts
- Social Media Viewing (Blogs & Video Uploads) and Filtering
- Funding Data
- Special Alerts for M&A, Executive Changes, and Funding Events
- They should broaden the social media viewing to include Twitter and LinkedIn
- Only offer three event triggers
- Company profiles should be built out with more depth
- Lack of executive data
- Add alerting on a broader set of content categories particularly social media
- Improved company tracking via alerts
- Quick review of company blogs, press releases, and video uploads
- Free service with a quick setup. Thus, the cost is simply your setup time and time spent reviewing alerts. As the alerts have high precision, there is an almost immediate return on investment.
Owler is a free service so its primary direct competitors would be Google Alerts (it has much higher precision and a unified daily alert), and the freemium InsideView which supports three alerts.
I view it as a complement to fully featured subscription sales intelligence services (e.g. InsideView, Avention, and Hoover's) as it has a few features not available in the other services (e.g. multi-platform social media and news viewing, polls, and funding data) and provides strong precision in their news alerts which captures a few items missed by the other services.
This is a free service, so it should be compared to free and low cost alerting (e.g. Google Alerts) and PE/VC funding profile (e.g. Crunchbase) services. Owler is well suited for competitive intelligence professionals, named account reps, and marketing professionals tracking company news (web mined company mentions and press releases) and social media (blogs, Video, YouTube). The alerts are high precision and tag for three key events (M&A, Funding, Exec Changes). It is the alerting and social media tools which are the key strength of the service.
The company claims two million profiles, but only has 60,000 with full address information. Content includes competitors, user polls, and funding / M&A data. Owler should be viewed as a free complement to other online company research tools, but it lacks the depth to replace subscription services. Missing content includes long business descriptions; financials and discrete sizing data; family tree linkage, and executive profiles (only the CEO is covered)
While they offer list building functionality, it is quite thin and non-downloadable. As such, I would not recommend Owler for sales and marketing prospecting at this point.
A unique feature is a set of company polls about the direction of the company and CEO performance. Unfortunately, the response rates are often too low to be statistically meaningful.
- Company Tracking
- Company Research
- Looking up Funding History
- Quick Company Profile Lookup via Mobile
- Event Tracking (M&A, Exec Change, Funding)
- Broader social media tracking once they include LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook
- Setting up shared alerts (e.g. competitor lists) for co-workers
- Current awareness from within SFDC
- Context based alerts based upon my calendar (SFDC and InsideView are working on such features)
Evaluating Owler and Competitors
- Product Features
- They do not display much company data in their pick lists when searching for companies. This can make it difficult to select the appropriate company when names are generic or there are multiple locations.
- The list grouping feature has an awkward design and is under featured (this functionality was just added prior to this review)
- Limited online help tools as they just exited beta
The grouping function is clunky and needs additional development.
There is no way to rate companies in importance. I might have a meeting with a key client later in the week and want to temporarily set them to alert on everything. Likewise, there could be other clients with heavy news where I might want to throttle the news delivered (either broadly or block specific categories).
There is no way to limit the company news to specific topics (e.g. alert on Microsoft Dynamics but not all MSFT news) or exclude other topics (e.g. omit Microsoft articles related to XBOX)
The service is not available on Android devices or within any CRMs.
Setup the web version first for ten companies and let them run for a week. Avoid public companies with heavy news coverage unless you are a named account rep only serving a few firms. The brilliance of this service is it brings in blogs, press releases, and videos so alerting on companies with limited news coverage using Owler may be more important than being deluged with news on public companies which are available through many outlets.
Once you have gotten a feel for the service, add additional companies, adjust your filters, and install the Owler App (which uses the companies selected from the web tool).
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
Like to use
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
- Viewing and Filtering Company News
- Setting up Alerts
- Discover Dashboard -- Recent M&A, Funding, and Exec Change Events
- Manage Companies -- a feature for grouping companies into categories.
- Advanced Search -- List Building with few screening variables and no downloading
Owler is pulling its mobile app at the end of June. They will continue support it, but it will not longer be available to new users and will become a legacy offering for current users. The app worked well.
They are recommending users access via the mobile browser. I have not tested Safari browser access.
I have yet to see the platform down or running slowly, but there have been multiple instances recently (Q2 2015) when the user links to a news story and Owler gives an Oops message. Users simply click on the story a second time and the story is displayed. This is a nuisance bug.
I also have a sense that the system is not processing alerts as quickly as before, but I haven't tracked this closely, so I could be wrong about it.