Brand24 Premium, which starts at $99 per month, is a well-designed social media analytics platform with a comprehensive social listening and influencer identification tool set for small to midsize businesses (SMBs) looking to monitor brand and reach across their social audience and customer base. Brand24 offers a clean dashboard with a recently revamped user interface (UI) to improve navigation, setup, and usability, and a comprehensive suite of tools reminiscent of the layout and interface of Editors’ Choice Sprout Social, albeit with less detailed brand analytics and deep business reporting capabilities than more expensive global enterprise-focused social analytics platforms such as Crimson Hexagon or Editors’ Choice Synthesio. The platform continues to roll out great new features, adapting to a constantly changing social landscape with tools such as YouTube interaction metrics, Instagram mention previews, and a useful feature called Storm Alerts that notify you of sudden changes in mention volume or social media reach.
Pricing and Setup
Brand24 offers three pricing tiers. The $49-per-month Brand24 Plus is an offering designed more for personal social media analytics, allowing for only one user and monitoring of only five keywords. Brand24 Premium, the plan I reviewed, costs $99 per month for 10 keywords, five users, data archives going back a year and additional analytics capabilities on top of the base plan’s data and sentiment analysis, including social media reach, group functionality, and “opinion leaders,” Brand24’s term for influencers. The most expensive tier is the $399 monthly Brand24 Max, which offers 25 keywords, ups the mentions per month from 500,000 to 1.25 million, gives real-time as opposed to hourly updates, adds PDF reports on top of Excel exporting and infographic generation, and gives the business access to a dedicated consultant.
For smaller SMBs, Brand24 Premium is a worthwhile option offering all the basic social analysis capabilities you’re looking for. Brand24 Max scales the mention, keyword, and user quotas up for businesses more on the medium side, but for any business in need of more than 10 users or archived social data dating back further than a year without paying up for enterprise-scale, you’d be better served with the Basic plan of a platform such as Talkwalker.
Setting up a Brand24 Premium dashboard is pretty simple. Press the plus sign next to Projects in the left-hand navigation, and you can set up a project to monitor one of four different social data types: a brand or company, sales leads, a competitor, or a specific topic or hashtag. Enter a keyword to create your project, and then additional keywords to narrow the monitor’s results. You can include both required keywords and excluded keywords to further refine the data, but you’ll only be working with 10 keywords under the Premium plan. Compared to Crimson Hexagon, Synthesio, and Talkwalker, where keyword queries are unlimited, Brand24’s keyword limitations felt particularly noticeable. Those keyword limits are stretched over multiple projects as well, so if you’ve only got 10 keywords to use and are monitoring two brands, a competitor, and a hashtag, your data filters won’t be as sharp when limited to a handful of keywords per project.
To complete setup, you check off the sources you’d like to monitor, including Facebook, Twitter, forums, blogs, and news. There’s a Photo checkbox for social media including Instagram and Pinterest, and a Video option for networks including YouTube, Vine, and Periscope. You can also exclude specific sites or social media authors you don’t want included in the results. Then tab over to Notifications to configure which users receive email or text alerts and how frequently. Save your project configuration and the Brand24 monitor will load to the main Mentions dashboard. One of the biggest new features added to the platform is an integration with online collaboration app Slack. Enable that integration during setup and you can view your company mentions from a chosen Brand24 project directly in a specific Slack channel for easier and faster collaboration. Users can then discuss your mentions and assign them to the most qualified teammate.
Social Mentions and Analysis
The Brand24 interface is broken down into five main analytics categories for any given project: Mentions, Analysis, Sources, Quotes, and Comparison. There’s also a Help menu with a video walkthrough, customer success stories, webinars, a fan page, demo project, and FAQs. Brand24 is primarily a proactive tool, so its social data will go back as far as a month before the project was set up, but the company only vouches for the accuracy of data collected from project creation onward.
The Mentions dashboard presents a clear, minimalist visualization of mention totals broken down by day, week, month, or a custom date range. Mentions are charted in a line graph against Estimated Social Media Reach. The graph is interactive, giving you pop-up boxes with mention and reach numbers for particular days. Mention analysis and reporting has also gotten a big facelift since we initially reviewed the platform, adding Boolean search and language filters in project configuration, interaction stats on likes, shares, and comments or Premium and Max plans, the much-needed addition of daily and weekly reports of key social metrics, a free tool: automated, custom-branded PDF reports available for all the plans. These enhancements are all incorporated into a new stream-based layout for monitoring mentions, along with a new “Engage” button from the mention dashboard to interact directly with influencers and followers.
How you filter the mention graph is also important. You break down mentions by checking and unchecking that same list of social sources to specify Facebook, Twitter, Photo, Video, and so on. Brand24 has improved its data categorization by separating photo and video mentions into separate sources. You can get a breakdown of individual social sources in the post feed beneath the graph, as I did when I filtered by Photo the feed populated primarily with Instagram posts, with Tumblr and some other stray sources thrown in. Brand24 even lets you monitor Instagram hashtags with hashtag-specific campaigns and analytics. It would’ve been nice to get clearer source breakdowns totaled in the graph, or in a chart or list of specific media types as found in Synthesio, but when exporting the data into a handy infographic, the social traffic breakdowns appeared in pie chart form along with a sentiment graph and the most active and influential users.
Those sentiment and influencer filters are really where this dashboard’s value is from a social listening and influencer identification standpoint. Brand24 lets you toggle the mentions graph base on a sliding scale of positive, negative, or combined sentiment. The sentiment is gauged by a simple algorithm registering keywords in posts, and can be manually overridden. There’s another sliding scale for low, average, and high levels of spam. Finally, there’s a sliding scale to filter mentions by influencer score from 1 to 10, to break results down by only the followers with the broadest reach, which Brand24 calculates by combining friends/followers and activity on a social network or multiple presences. In the mention feed itself, you can also group mentions into subgroups and send notifications about a specific mention out to other users with a subject line and comment. Brand24’s social listening capabilities around mentions don’t blow you away with any game-changing metrics or visualizations, but they get the job done and the information across.
The Analysis tab presents a collective summary of all the data gathered in a project. It offers feeds of most popular social authors including their score, influence, reach, and what percentage of mentions in a social discussion that influencer is responsible for. There are also lists of the most active and influential sites, interactive pie charts breaking down positive and negative sentiment, and a chart breaking down the same selection of social sources you’ve been working with.
Getting the Basics Down
Brand24 Premium has a couple more fun and outside-the-box analytics capabilities, including a word cloud visualizing social discussion context by the popularity of mentioned keywords, pulling out the most active posts and updating every hour under the Premium plan. Another feature I found useful for identifying influencers is the Quotes tab, which can be toggled to positive or negative comments over a custom timeframe to pull out the most engaged posts pertaining to a specific set of keywords. I wasn’t able to filter this by specific social networks, though. It’s just one big feed. But for putting together a social analytics report, the quotes are a good primary source example to convey brand sentiment.
Finally, Brand24 offers a comparison feature. This allows you to compare different projects, whether two different brand campaigns run by your company, the effectiveness of one hashtag over another, or your social reach compared to your competitor’s. It’s fairly simple. You set the timeframe over which to compare, and Brand24 shows you the number of mentions compared in a simple line graph, and the same sort of pie charts as earlier tabs comparing overall sentiment and breaking down social sources. The comparison feature doesn’t go nearly as deep in terms of demographics, global reach, or head-to-head social presence comparisons as the Competitive Intelligence feature of Talkwalker or the engagement and share-of-voice metrics offered in Crimson Hexagon, Synthesio, and Sysomos (our other Editors’ Choice for enterprises). The improved interaction stats and additional reports have helped Brand24 bridge the gap with the Editors’ Choice enterprise offerings, and the platform matches up functionality-wise with BuzzSumo Agency.
Like the majority of the platforms I reviewed, Brand24 is an analytics-focused tool without any publishing and direct post management capabilities. Buffer for Business, Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Zoho Social are the only tools with built-in publishing. Brand24 does offer an open application programming interface (API) to integrate its data into other platforms, and offers mobile apps for Android and iOS.
Brand24 Premium is a reasonable choice for SMBs looking to monitor social presences with a modest scope. You get what you pay for—the tool is not lacking for any basic social media analytics capabilities, and has been progressively adding deeper listening and infuencer tooling, but it doesn’t allow for too much customization, and leaves it up to you to make connections between your business’ social metrics and ROI. Editors’ Choice Sprout Social offers more detailed analytics along with publishing capabilities at around the same price point for SMBs, but Brand24 may have just the right combination of brand-based social analytics functionality that’s right for your business.