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4 Great (free) Tools to Measure Social Sentiment and 4 Important Stats

Now is the time to be taking the measuring of Social Sentiment seriously.

The old metrics of volume and instant digital results are no longer good enough. They only tell a part of the story, the tip of the iceberg. Influence, awareness and measurement of conversation are becoming more and more important with the rise of the social web.


53% of people on Twitter recommend companies and/or products in their Tweets, with 48% of them delivering on their intention to buy the product.
(ROI Research for Performance, June 2010)

The average consumer mentions specific brands over 90 times per week in conversations with friends, family, and co-workers.
(Keller Fay, WOMMA, 2010)

Consumer reviews are significantly more trusted -- nearly 12 times more -- than descriptions that come from manufacturers, according to a survey of US mom Internet users by online video review site EXPO.
(eMarketer, February 2010)

In a study conducted by social networking site myYearbook, 81 percent of respondents said they'd received advice from friends and followers relating to a product purchase through a social site; 74 percent of those who received such advice found it to be influential in their decision.
(Click Z, January 2010)

Conversation/word of mouth has always been been a key influence on purchase and advocacy. The social web is where this conversation is now happening and with Google putting the emphasis on social search and pulling your social circles in around your search results, measuring your social sentiment is going to become vital in addition to direct measurement.

There are very comprehensive monthly subscription services available, but here are 4 free tools that I have found very useful for measurement of social sentiment…


Twendz - measures realtime sentiment in Twitter. The interface is great and the hsitory bar chart is useful to give a sentiment snapshot. []

twendz - measuring twitter sentiment 



Socialmention - perhaps one of the most useful free social search tools. Great controls and great metrics for setting benchmarks. []

Social Mention - search social sentiment



Wordle - create a word cloud to give a visual representation of your social conversation. Add url, feed or paste text. []

wordle - create word clouds 



Twittersheep - create word clouds from twitter accounts or mentions of key words. []

Twitter Sheep - Twitter word clouds

A little look back at direct measurement in online advertising... and the missing element of conversation.

The principle focuses of online marketing measurements have always been the measurement of 'instant' results and volume. And that's principally down to the industry being driven by a media agency model of reach and frequency.

Certainly in the hay day of online display media everything was about the Click Through Rate, this was the indication of intent and success. But CTR has always been a bit of a misnomer, as online banners are essentially the billboards of the Internet. Raising awareness more than clicks.

Pit stop for a question: How many of us have actually clicked on a banner advert - outside of professional interest? - Very few of us.

Pit stop for a second question: How many of us have actually clicked on an outdoor billboard? ;)

OK, that's a little unfair on traditional media. But how many of us have acted on an outdoor billboard. Again, an incredibly small percentage of the people exposed to the message. But the point is in both these cases, awareness is being raised, people do notice and that will inevitably lead to curiosity, conversation and intent.

The fact that online display media drives awareness was borne out if you had post impression tracking in place. Dropping a tracking cookie when a user was served the banner impression and monitoring if prospects arrived on the campaign site, within a period of normally 7 days.More often than not you would find a much larger percentage than your direct click throughs would arrive at your site by indirect routes, normally through a search in Google later on the same day or within a few days. Indeed you would also see a direct increase in your natural search results during the running of a display campaign.All pointing to the importance of awareness and influence.


Pre and post campaign measurement

Before coming of age of the social web gaining any insights on Key Performance Indicators for your business, like awareness, purchase intent or referral intent, you needed to run pre and post campaign surveys on an audience segment and measure any shift in sentiment, either positive or negative.

But the rise of the social web has changed this. Instead of post campaign or brand survey think more real time. People are conversing and sharing comment on your brand or your business vertical all the time. measure that, set benchmarks and then you can monitor how your campaigns change or influence the sentiment. Even if it's just running a Wordle word cloud on comments on your Facebook wall.


It's time to add Social Sentiment measurement

Tracking immediate action was always 'the' indicator of success. But it only tells a portion of the communication story. Awareness is still being raised, more of your audience have been impressed or interested in your message or brand. In some cases leading to referral, purchase and advocacy.

The key thing that was and still is happening outside of these traditional direct measurement metrics is 'social conversation'.

This social conversation is the 'sentiment' of your brand on the social web and as more and more people move to social circles for recommendations or to tell and converse their own stories it becomes more important to 'listen' and measure.

With a mixture of the 4 tools mentioned, you can start to set your benchmarks and begin adding measurement of your 'Social Sentiment' to your exisitng direct measurements of business success.

There are many ways to measure social sentiment, including far more comprehensive paid models, but these are free and easy to use. How do you measure yours?

Join The Conversation

  • Nick Bennett's picture
    Apr 20 Posted 5 years ago Nick Bennett Thanks James. It's credit to the great folk that build these tools. One thing that keeps my faith in the Internet is the open source movement and the effort folks put into useful code and tools, for the community to better evolve. What's great as you mention, is that companies are becoming far more interested in listening to this realtime data. In some instances I prefer it to survey and offline research group data. As this data is people acting naturally and in a more honest way, than the sometimes conceived research environments that don't mimic real behaviour. Plus, everyone loves to see a beautiful word cloud in a presentation ;)
  • Nick Bennett's picture
    Apr 20 Posted 5 years ago Nick Bennett I agree Annie. Much like setting tracking goals on a website or a campaign. Deciding what you want to learn, monitor before you choose the method, is certainly the right approach.
  • Apr 20 Posted 5 years ago Annie Pettit (not verified)

    The most important thing to remember before choosing a tool is what you expect to achieve from it. Decide on your goal first and that will lead you to the right tool. There is a big difference between social media monitoring and social media measurement/research and you won't be happy with your tool unless it's the right one.

  • James Beswick's picture
    Apr 19 Posted 5 years ago James Beswick

    Great post, Nick - these are some really excellent tools, especially since clients and executives increasingly want to see the sort of data these produce.

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