TrustRadius
Free High Precision News Alerting and News/Social Media Viewer
https://www.trustradius.com/sales-intelligenceOwlerUnspecified8.321101
Michael Levy profile photo
Updated June 27, 2015

Free High Precision News Alerting and News/Social Media Viewer

Score 8 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Owler

Owler provides daily email alerts of companies I track as part of my consulting business. The system also provides an easy way of tracking broader information around companies including blogs, video posts, press releases, and three sales trigger categories (fundings, exec changes, and M&A). In early 2015, they rolled out special alerts for Funding, Exec Changes, and M&A events. They also just launched a set of 12 competitive comparison reports that are sent on a staggered basis quarterly (they were just announced these reports so they are not part of this review).
  • 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.

Using Owler

1 - Competitive Intelligence and Market Research.
None Required. This is a cloud based company alerting and research app designed for the end user.
  • Company Tracking
  • Company Research
  • Looking up Funding History
  • Quick Company Profile Lookup via Mobile
  • Event Tracking (M&A, Exec Change, Funding)
  • Quick way to lookup funding information
  • Tracking blogs and video posts
  • 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)
Not really an applicable question as this is a free service, but if they charged $100 / year (GageIn's price) I would still license the service.

Evaluating Owler and Competitors

  • Price
  • Product Features
Free high, precision news alerts. If you are using Google Alerts, Owler is a much better option. it also nicely complements paid sales intelligence services.
This is a free service that complements full service sales intelligence services such as InsideView, Avention, and Hoover's. Users can register and setup a handful of companies for alerting in ten minutes. From that simple test, they can determine whether to add additional companies and install the iPhone app.

Owler Implementation

Focus on setting up companies that have limited news coverage first. Public companies are well covered and it is easy to track them. Furthermore, the surfeit of news around public companies can crowd out smaller companies with less news. It is smaller companies where you are most likely to see a benefit in their tracking of news, blogs, press releases, and videos.
Change management was minimal
  • 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

Owler Training

The product is straightforward to use so there is little need for training.

Owler should add inline tips, a three minute setup demo, and a two minute features demo.

Configuring Owler

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).

No - there is no facility to customize the interface
No - the product does not support adding custom code

Owler Support

Problems have been closed quickly and professionally.
ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
None
Yes - I reported an issue through their feedback and it was closed within one business day. They have also responded to feedback concerning their overall design and content.
I identified a technical issue with the display size of graphical elements and commented about it on social media. The head of their Product Management pinged me within a few hours and asked for screenshots, operating system, browser version, etc.. The problem was resolved within a day or two and has not recurred.

Using Owler

The product has only been out of beta for a few months so there are a number of rough edges in the usability and workflow. Some features are underpowered (e.g. grouping, advanced search).
ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Consistent
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
Familiar
None
  • 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
Yes - 

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.

Owler Reliability

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.

The news precision, which is the most important feature for me, is very accurate. They have editors review the news to ensure it is properly tagged by company and event type.

Integrating Owler

They have an API and SFDC in development, but are basically only available as web browser tools.
  • Salesforce.com
They are planning on adding an AppExchange App.
An API is in development

Relationship with Owler

This is a free service, so there isn't a sales process. However, I reviewed them for FreePint, a UK information services trade publication, and they provided a demo and quick turnaround on all my questions. I have twice submitted bugs and they were resolved quickly and professionally (the bugs were reported before I indicated an interest in reviewing the service).