Imagine a beautiful world where every one of your customers tells you what they think of your brand in complete honesty, and even those who don’t want to be your customers tell you why it is the case.
And even though the truth might hurt sometimes, this scenario is a dream come true for marketers everywhere.
Except, it’s not a dream – it’s the reality we live in.
Anna, we are so sorry you experienced this. Behavior like you reported is not allowed on the Lyft platform, and we find reports like this very concerning. We immediately took action as soon as we received your tweet and a member of our safety team will be in touch soon.
Although tracking brand mentions is quite a simple concept, the tools that do that may vary greatly in price, features, and platforms they monitor.
In this article, you will find the tools which will empower your brand to track, engage with, and analyze social mentions, whatever budget and goals you have in mind.
The true strength of Brandwatch lies in its extremely detailed social data analytics.
Although you can see individual mentions in the pop-up window when you click on statistics graphs, to interact with them you’ll need to go to the social network’s website. That makes liking/responding to mentions quite tedious.
The company offers three platforms:
Each of them has its own unique features.
The Analytics platform examines the data you collect and segments it based on most common words, sentiment, location, gender and so on.
You can see a minute-by-minute analysis of mentions, so you are able to spot even minor changes immediately. Iris AI technology will alert you if it detects an unusual peak in your mentions.
The Vizia platform is devoted to building reports. It allows you to integrate Google Analytics, BuzzSumo, and Hootsuite data and choose what metrics you want to present.
You can share reports with the stakeholders, your colleagues or management by email.
The Audiences platform was designed to carry out thorough Audience research.
It’s basically a database of Twitter users which you can search based on the keywords in bios and recent tweets, location, gender and the accounts they follow.
You can analyze the ongoing conversations of your audience to figure out what they are talking about and who they are engaging with.
In addition, Brandwatch offers unique features such as image recognition, emoji analysis, and smart reports.
As you see, Brandwatch provides you with extremely valuable insights that could guide every step of your social media marketing strategy.
However, if your goal is the day-to-day community management, social support, and lead generation, you’d be better off with another tool.
Platforms monitored: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Sina Weibo, VK, QQ, news and blogs, the web.
Pricing: The Pro plan (which is the most affordable) costs $800 a month with 10,000 monthly mentions.
Mention’s emphasis is on real-time monitoring. Once you set up an alert, you get mentions that date back no more than 24 hours. Historical data is only available in Custom plans.
Mention offers several settings (by date, language, and source of mentions) and a Boolean search mode to design a perfect search query.
Once you set up your alert, you’re able to react to social posts within Mention’s platform and connect a Buffer account to schedule reposts of favorable mentions, for example.
You can tag individual mentions to unite them in one group.
In the Insights center, Mention dissects your social listening data using multiple parameters including sentiment, reach, language.
The tool enables you to customize your reports, thus from the array of metrics you can choose those which you want to include in your automated report.
Moreover, Mention provides users with access to their API, so you can integrate the Insights with other marketing software you use.
Mention aims to be “on the watch” 24/7, so it will automatically send the latest mentions by email or Slack. They also have a mobile app so you can deal with new mentions on the go.
Platforms monitored: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, news and blogs, the web.
Pricing: Free trial available. In Solo plan for $29, you get 2 alerts and a monthly limit of 3,000 mentions.
Keyhole’s main difference from other tools is its limit in platforms it monitors.
It is another tool that puts focus on analytics, however, in addition to mentions analytics, they offer account analytics. But first, let’s talk about brand tracking.
Keyhole lets you interact with mentions without leaving their platform as well as shows you an in-depth analysis of them.
It breaks down mentions by sentiment, gender, location (for the U.S. you can see a particular state), original vs. reposts and source, meaning through which OS or app a mention was posted.
The historical data from Twitter is available on request.
It also identifies the most influential accounts and the most popular phrases, hashtags, and links mentioned with your brand name. The machine learning algorithm will notify you if:
There is a sudden or predicted spike in activity in the conversation.
A user complains about your brand, service or product.
New influential users join the conversation.
A post begins to go viral.
As for account analytics mentioned earlier, Keyhole pulls the data from your own social media account and gives you valuable insights on your most popular posts, most engaged followers, the best time to post and more.
Keyhole is somewhat limited in the numbers of platforms it supports in comparison to other tools, but if you’re pivoting to Instagram, for example, this tool could be extremely useful.
Platforms monitored: Twitter, Instagram, forums, news sites, and blogs.
Pricing: Free trial available. In the Going Solo plan for $44, you get 3 keywords and 3 social media accounts with 5,000 mentions a month.
4. Social Mention
If you’re not ready to invest in brand tracking, but you need something better than Google Alerts, Social Mention is the best choice. And it’s free.
When putting in your brand name, you can choose what sources you want to monitor and the language(s) of the mentions. You can see the mentions either chronologically or sorted by source.
In addition to real-time mentions of your brand, Social Mention also shows you:
Statistics such as the “strength” of your brand (the likelihood that it will be discussed on social media).
The overall sentiment analysis.
The “passion” behind mentions (the likelihood that one account will mention it repeatedly).
Top keywords and hashtags associated with it.
How many unique authors are talking about it.
The top authors based on the number of mentions.
This is a good tool if your brand is not quite big yet, and you just want to make sure that you’ll know whenever someone mentions it.
Tip: If you need social listening analytics such as location, demographic data or influencers for free, but don’t need to see individual mentions, try Talkwalker’s free solution.
Platforms monitored: Twitter, Reddit, Flickr, Google News, blogs.
Some tools focus on real-time brand tracking and engagement, some collect social data and analyze it – Awario does both. (Disclosure: I work at Awario.)
From the get-go, you get a lot of opportunities to fine-tune your tracking, you can:
Choose what platforms and countries you want to monitor.
Add negative keywords.
Choose the date range of mentions.
Choose how often you want to be notified of new mentions.
The users are notified of new mentions by email or push notifications.
If that isn’t enough, you can go to the Boolean search mode which allows users to create elaborate queries. It is especially useful if you have a brand name that is a common word.
This tool looks for mentions across social media and the web from the moment you set up an alert. All the mentions are shown in the feed, from which you can like, upvote, and reply to them without having to leave the tool.
You can group mentions by author or conversation and filter them by date, sentiment, and reach.
This proves to be extremely functional when, for example, a person with a large social media following posts something negative about your brand.
The sooner you find this mention and respond, the sooner the unfortunate situation will be mitigated and potential PR crisis averted.
This fucking “detox Tea” company are using an image of an eating disorder survivor, without her permission, to promote their bullshit product. This is so unethical, just like everything else about these bold, evil companies. They have no morals. This is so gross. @skinnymeteapic.twitter.com/dvLIn4Ab3r
You get both real-time monitoring and historical data, which means you get access to the posts mentioning your brand name that had been published even before you started using the tool. You can export this raw data in CSV.
Now, let’s talk analytics. Awario uses a number of metrics to analyze gathered mentions and gives you the following insights:
The number of mentions.
The overall reach of mentions.
The breakdown of countries and languages (if you choose to track your brand in more than one country and more than one language).
The breakdown of the sentiment of mentions.
The topic cloud with the words commonly associated with your brand name.
Most influential and active users who mentioned your brand.
If you decide to monitor several keywords (for example, yours and your competitor’s brand name, your products’ names, etc.), you can compare them in the Alert Comparison tab.
You can also see influencers who mentioned your brand in the Influencers tab.
All of this information can be exported in a nice-looking report, either via a shareable link or in PDF.
The flexibility of the tool allows you to go beyond tracking your brand mentions and carry out a wide range of marketing activities such as market research, content curation, link building, and so on.
It even has a social selling module titled Leads that uses predictive insights to find people who’re asking for recommendations about a product similar to yours or looking for an alternative to your competitors.
LinkedIn pages will soon feature an ‘Ads’ tab showing all sponsored content an advertiser has run in the past six months.
The company says this change is being made in an effort to bring even greater transparency to ads on LinkedIn.
“At LinkedIn, we are committed to providing a safe, trusted, and professional environment where members can connect with each other, engage with relevant content, and grow their careers. Increased transparency to both our customers and members is critical to creating this trusted environment.”
While viewing ads in the new tab, users can click on the ads but the advertiser will not be charged.
Ad clicks from within the ‘Ads’ tab will not impact campaign reporting either.
From a marketing perspective, I see this as being an opportunity for competitor research.
Do you know a company who is killing it with LinkedIn advertising? View their ads tab to see if you can learn from what they’re doing.
Of course, the Ads tab will only show you what their ads look like.
It won’t reveal anything about how those ads are targeted or what the company’s daily budget is. But hey, it’s something.
LinkedIn says this is the first of many updates to come as the company furthers its effort to provide users with useful information about the ads they see.
The new Ads tab is rolling out globally over the next few weeks
SEMrush is a popular competitive intelligence platform used by search marketers. The company, recently infused with $40 million in funding to expand beyond Google, Bing and Yahoo insights, has launched a new product called Sellerly specifically for Amazon sellers.
What is Sellerly? Announced Monday, Sellerly designed to give Amazon sellers the ability to split test product detail pages.
“By introducing Sellerly as a seller’s buddy in Amazon marketing, we hope to improve hundreds of existing Amazon sellers’ strategies,” said SEMrush Chief Strategy Officer Eugene Levin in a statement. “Sellerly split testing is only the first step here. We’ve already started to build a community around the new product, which is very important to us. We believe that by combining feedback from users with our leading technology and 10 years of SEO software experience, we will be able to build something truly exceptional for Amazon sellers.”
How does it work? Sellerly is currently free to use. Amazon sellers connect their Amazon accounts to the tool in order to manage their product pages. Sellers can make changes to product detail pages to test against the controls. Sellerly collects data in real time and sellers can then choose winners based on views and conversions.
Sellers can run an unlimited number of tests.
Why we should care. Optimized product detail pages on Amazon is a critical aspect of success on the platform. As Amazon continues to generate an increasing share of e-commerce sales for merchants big and small, and competition only increases, product page optimization becomes even more critical. Amazon does not support AB testing natively. Sellerly is not the first split test product for Amazon product pages to market. Splitly (paid), Listing Dojo (free) are two others that offer similar split testing services.
About The Author
Ginny Marvin is Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, managing day-to-day editorial operations across all of our publications. Ginny writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, she has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.
Google’s John Mueller was presented with a peculiar situation of a website with zero notifications of a manual action that cannot rank for it’s own brand name. Mueller analyzed the situation, thought it through, then appeared to reach the conclusion that maybe Google was keeping it from ranking.
This is a problem that has existed for a long time, from before Mueller worked at Google. It’s a penalty that’s associated with a domain that remains even if the domain is registered by a new buyer years later.
Description of the Problem
The site with a penalty has not received notices of a manual penalty.
That’s what makes it weird because, how can a site be penalized if it’s not penalized, right?
The site had an influx of natural links due to word of mouth popularity. Yet even with those links, the site cannot rank for it’s own name or a snippet of content from it’s home page.
Had those natural links or the content been a problem then Google would have notified the site owner. So the problem is not with the links or the content.
Nevertheless, the site owner disavowed old inbound links from before he purchased the site but the site still did not rank.
Here is how the site owner described the problem:
“We bought the domain three years ago to have a brand called Girlfriend Collective, it’s a clothing company on the Shopify platform.
We haven’t had any… warnings from our webmaster tools that says we have any penalizations… So I was just wondering if there was any other underlying issues that you would know outside of that…
The domain is girlfriend.com and the query would be Girlfriend Collective.
It’s been as high as the second page of the SERPs, but… we get quite a few search queries for our own branded terms… it will not show up.
My assumption was that before we bought it, it was a pretty spammy dating directory.”
John Mueller’s response was:
“I can double check to see from our side if there’s anything kind of sticking around there that you’d need to take care of…”
It appears as if Mueller is being circumspect in his answer and doesn’t wish to say that it might be a problem at Google. At this point, he’s still holding on to the possibility that there’s something wrong with the site. You can’t blame him because he probably gets this all the time, where someone thinks it’s Google but it’s really something wrong with the site.
Is There Something Wrong with the Domain Name?
I checked Archive.org to see what it’s history was. It was linking to adult sites prior to 2004 and sometime in mid 2004 the domain switched it’s monetization strategy away from linking to adult sites to displaying Google ads as a parked domain.
A parked domain is a domain that does not have a website on it. It just has ads. People used to type domain names into the address field and sites like Girlfriend.com would monetize the “type-in” traffic with Google AdSense, usually with a service that shows ads on the site owner’s behalf in exchange for a percentage of the earnings.
The fact that it was linking to adult sites could be a factor that has caused Google to more or less blacklist Girlfriend.com and keep it from ranking.
Domain Related Penalties Have Existed for a Long Time
This has happened many times over the years. It used to be standard to check the background of a domain before purchasing it.
I remember the case of a newbie SEO who couldn’t rank for his own brand name. Another SEO who was more competent contacted Google on his behalf and Google lifted the legacy domain penalty.
The Search Query
Mueller referred to the search queries the site owner wanted to rank for as being “generic” and commented that ranking for those kinds of “generic” terms is tricky.
This is what John Mueller said:
“In general, when it comes to kind of generic terms like that, that’s always a bit tricky. But it sounds like you’re not trying to rank for like just… girlfriend. “
However the phrase under discussion was the company name, Girlfriend Collective, which is not a generic phrase.
It could be argued that the domain name is not relevant for the brand name. So perhaps Mueller was referencing the generic nature of the domain name when he commented on ranking for “generic” phrases?
I don’t understand why “generic” phrases entered into this discussion. The site owner answered Mueller to reinforce that he’s not trying to rank for generic phrases, that he just wants to rank for his brand name.
The search phrase the site owner is failing to rank for is Girlfriend Collective. Girlfriend Collective is not a generic keyword phrase.
Is the Site Poorly Optimized?
When you visit the website itself, the word Collective does not exist in the visible content.
The word “collective” is nowhere on the page, not even in the footer copyright. The word is there, but it’s in an image, it has to be in text for Google to recognize it for the regular search results.
That’s a considerable oversight to omit your own brand name from the website’s home page.
The brand name exists in the title tag and other meta data.
It does not exist in the visible content where it really matters.
The word collective is not a part of the domain name.
A reasonable case could be made that girlfriend.com does not merit ranking for the brand name of Girlfriend Collective because the word collective only exists in the title tag of the home page, not on the page itself.
Google Does Not Even Rank it for Page Snippets
However that reasonable case falls apart upon closer scrutiny. If you take any content from the page and search with that snippet of content in Google, you’ll see that the domain name does not even rank for the content that is on it’s own page.
The site is fully indexed, but the content is not allowed to rank.
I searched for the following phrases but only found other pages and social media posts ranking in Google, not Girlfriend.com:
“Five classic colors made from recycled water bottles.”
“A bunch of old water bottles have never looked so good.”
That first phrase, “Five classic colors…” doesn’t rank anywhere on Google for the first several pages.
But as you can see below, Girlfriend.com ranks #6 in Bing:
Bing has no trouble ranking Girlfriend Collective for a snippet of text taken from the home page. Google does not show it at all. This points to this issue being something to do with Google and not with the site itself.
Even though Girlfriend.com appears to fall short in its search optimization, that is not the problem. The problem is that Google is preventing any content from that domain from ranking.
The reason Google is preventing that content from ranking is because the domain was problematic in the past. At some point in its history it was filtered from ranking. It’s a Legacy Google Penalty.
Checking the snapshot of girlfriend.com via Archive.org shows that it was being used to promote adult websites prior to 2004.
This is what it looked like sometime in 2004 and onward. It appears to be a parked domain that is showing Google AdSense ads.
This is a snapshot of Girlfriend.com circa 2004. It wasn’t a directory as the site owner believed. Checking the HTML source code reveals that the page is displaying Google AdSense ads. That’s what a parked domain looked like.
Parked domains used to be able to rank. But at some point after 2004 Google stopped ranking those pages.
There’s no way to speculate if the domain received it’s penalty before 2004 or after.
Site Can’t Rank for it’s Own Brand Name
There are many reasons why a site can’t rank for it’s own domain name or words from it’s own pages. If you suspect that your site may be suffering from a legacy Google penalty, you can verify the previous content by checking Archive.org.
Archive.org is a non-profit that stores snapshots of what web pages look like. Archive.org allows you to verify if your domain was previously used by someone else to host low quality content.
Unfortunately, Google does not provide a way to contact them to resolve this matter.
Bing Ranks Girlfriend.com for Girlfriend Collective
If there was a big problem with links or content on Girlfriend.com that was keeping it from ranking on Google, then it would very likely be apparent on Bing.
Bing and Google use different algorithms. But if there was something so massively wrong with Girlfriend Collective, whether site quality or a technical issue, there would be a high probability that the massive problem would keep it from ranking at Bing.
Bing has no problem ranking Girlfriend.com for it’s brand name:
Bing ranks Girlfriend.com in a normal manner. This may be proof that there is no major issue with the Girlfriend.com site itself. The problem may be at Google.
Google’s John Mueller Admits it Might be Google
After listening to how the site owner has spent three years waiting for the legacy domain penalty to drop off, three years of uploading disavows, three years of bidding on AdWords for it’s own brand name, John Mueller seemed to realize that the issue was not on the site owner’s side but on Google’s side.
This is what John Mueller offered:
“I need to take a look to see if there’s anything sticking around there because it does seem like the old domain was pretty problematic. So that… always makes it a little bit harder to turn it around into something reasonable.
But it feels like after a couple of years that should be possible. “
In the end, Mueller admitted that it might be something on Google’s side. However an issue that remains is that there is no solution for other publishers. This is not something a publisher can do on their own like a disavow. It’s something a Googler must be made aware of in order to fix.