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A Review of Brand24 Social Monitoring with Mike Sadowski: One Last Tool 2.1
Is your digital business efforts in need of a tune up or major overhaul? If you’re ready to get your sales, marketing and service machine up and running, you’re going to need just the right tools. Welcome to One Last Tool, your pit stop for learning about all of the latest and greatest digital tools to get your business engine running on all cylinders. Now, here’s your resident technician, George B. Thomas.
George Thomas: All right ladies and gentleman, it’s George B. Thomas, back for another episode of One Last Tool and today I’m not going to say it. I know you’re waiting for me to say I was excited, but I am just generally, I don’t even know what other word to use except for excited. Anyway, let’s go ahead and get into this. Today we are going to cover one more tool, not the last tool even though the episode is One Last Tool. Today we are going to be talking with Mike. Mike, why don’t you give the folks more information. Your name, the company name, the tool type and the audience that might be a really great fit for the tool.
Michal Sadowski: Sure. My name is Mike, I’m the CEO and Founder at Brand24. This is a social listening tool, so whenever whoever talks about your product, your company, your startup anywhere on the web, it’s our task to collect the information, crunch the data for you and let you know and allow you to engage your audience. The typical user is a PR specialist, marketing specialist, social media specialist, company owner. As much as we love working with large companies we also, over 50% of our portfolio are small or medium business owners. We see more and more that type of customers going for a social listening as a platform.
George Thomas: Nice, Mike. Let’s do this, let’s dive a little bit deeper and let’s answer the question, what is Brand24?
What Is Brand24?
Michal Sadowski: Sure, so it’s a software as a service product. This is a tool for a web application plus mobile application that tracks all public mentions related to product, company so you just type in keywords and you monitor all the public web. Probably the keywords, probably apart from keywords soon enough you will be putting in your logo type as well so you will be able to track images as well and find your logo or some text on the images as well. But, it’s mainly around text monitoring so keyword-based monitoring.
George Thomas: Mike, so super interesting sounding tool. I’m sure the listeners, the viewers out there, they’re thinking, okay, sounds cool but how does it actually work? With that said, how does Brand24 work?
How Does Brand24 Work?
Michal Sadowski: Right, so once you set up a keyword, once you start tracking your company, your product, your competitors, there are a couple of major applications for the tool. First, you get to know your customers better than ever. You can see what people say about your product, about your podcast, about your startup. The second thing is you can obviously engage those conversations and hopefully gain brand ambassadors, build strong relationships with customers. The third application is not that obvious. We haven’t anticipated while creating this product to be honest, but some of our first customers started to use it for social selling, so not tracking their own companies, but tracking keywords that can help them to find potential customers.
You can find for conversations where you can promote your product, where you can promote your service, your podcasts, your startup, whatever you prefer. If there’s somebody looking for a great invoicing software for a medium-sized company, you can engage the conversation and promote your product. We see more and more companies using this also for social selling.
Apart from those three major applications you can use it for campaign tracking, so whenever you use hashtag within a campaign you can track what was the reach, what was people were saying positive, reviewing in a positive manner or a negative one. Yeah, those are the major applications although we see more and more freestyle with this kind of product.
One of the major pizza franchise in Europe used it for just giving away pizza for free to all people who mentioned they’re hungry on Facebook or Twitter. Whenever there was somebody saying, “Oh, I have a knack for pizza,” or “I wish I could order a pizza to office,” or whatever, they were trying to locate this person and sending a hot pizza within an hour in major cities. We see more and more applications that are, to be honest, unlike anything that we anticipated while creating the product.
George Thomas: Well Mike I’ll tell you there’s two things out of that. One, I like free pizza so that sounded really cool. Two, I like the sound of the flexibility that the tool is allowing people when they’re using it. Now, we mentioned you or people, and at the beginning of the episode of One Last Tool, we kind of said who’s the audience, but I want to dig even deeper than just the general audience. When I say this, who is a great fit, a really good fit for the software for the usage that you talked about? Tim, Jenny, Bobby, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty on that.
Who Is Brand24 A Good Fit For?
Michal Sadowski: Sure. The perfect customer is probably all sorts of PR and marketing agencies. They know what’s what with the marketing tools. The majority of our customers used to use interns for social listening or for brand marketing to be honest. They just sorted results in Google by date and copying links to Excel which is kind of stone age, right?
We see more and more companies who couldn’t afford monitoring before are looking to leverage software that’s available out there. This is not a very new type of service. What’s new around it is that it becomes more and more affordable and reliable and affordable for small, medium business owners. It used to be a software for a Fortune 500 only, reserved for Nikes, Ikeas. Although we work with companies like this, this is not our ideal customer. I would love to have a leader in medium-sized company space where all those restaurant owners, all the doctors, all the startup owners are using this to build relationships with customers, to know whenever people are talking about them to get customer feedback better than ever.
George Thomas: Yeah Mike, I like that this is really about conversations. I like that I heard you mention relationships. I sort of think we might know the answer to this, but I really think that I should ask you the question. What problem do you see that Brand24 solves?
What Problems Does Brand24 Solve?
Michal Sadowski: Sure. Again there are a couple major problems. The one problem is that historically companies have been, especially the big ones, have been often disconnected to their customers. They could either order very expensive research on what customers think about products, how they use it, what problems do they have with package, with product itself, whatever, and we live in a day where people are talking literally about anything online.
To be honest, we just finished a report for one of the major credit card operators and there’s hundreds of people on a weekly basis who are sharing their credit cards on Instagram or Twitter, photos of their credit cards so whenever there’s a new credit card coming from their bank envelope, they’re putting a photo from both sides and putting it on Instagram with #debitcard, #creditcard, so it’s super easy to find, right?
We felt that companies can tap into this and the credit card is probably the [logical 00:09:41] example however, there’s just billions of pieces of data that have a huge value in terms of the product and the companies can change their communication based on this feedback, they can optimize their marketing, they can change the product itself, so there’s really a number of ways they can use the intel.
However, again what is probably the biggest application, the biggest problem to solve is kind of the bridge between customers and brands. I feel like so many times I was [swearing 00:10:26] to myself about trying to reach brands in some way, looking for contact details for trying to get a hold of anyone from the company that I was trying to reach. These days, more and more consumers are aware that you can just use social media or message boards or write a comment on blog, and companies are supposed to pick this up, especially the big ones. We kind of imagine ourselves as a bridge between customers and brands.
George Thomas: Very cool, Mike. I love that it’s a bridge and again, communication. I can tell you too out of that one, the one thing that I have never done in my life Mike, I’ve never taken a credit card selfie. I don’t think I ever will. It’s kind of crazy. It’s funny, a little bit ago you mentioned we deal with the Nikes, the big companies but we’d like to see medium-sized, we’d like to see startups. When you talk about a broad potential audience around there, the conversation that I think we need to have at this point then is, because if I’m a startup, I’m definitely wondering what does it cost? For the service, for the tool, Brand24, what does it cost?
How Much Does Brand24 Cost?
Michal Sadowski: The subscription plan starts with $49 and it allows you to track up to three keywords, which is probably enough for most startups, for most small and even medium companies. Our typical plan is $99. The average revenue per user, per customer for us is a little over $100 on a monthly basis. Apart from the features, the functionality, this is the major shift in this industry. The major players out there like Radian6 or Sysomos or [inaudible 00:12:43], they’re out there for seven, eight years, probably even 10 years, some of them. They didn’t change their pricing along the way. The basic subscription there starts with $500 a month and it’s probably unavailable and unaffordable for most companies. We saw the gap between the quality and price in terms of the social listening platforms and we felt like this is a product, everybody wants to know what they say about them online so we felt like this is a perfect spot for us, perfect gap we might fill.
George Thomas: Yeah, I mean at this point if you are a brand, even a personal brand, a company brand, and you don’t realize that there are people out there talking about you and you need to be part of the conversation, then it’s good that you’re watching this because now you know.
Let’s dive into this section right here. We’re going to play kind of a digital volleyball, if you will, for a second. I’m going to set this one up with the first question, and then the second question I ask I’m going to allow you to spike the ball and win the game here. My first question for you Mike is who are the competitors to, or who does Brand24 consider their competitors?
Who Are Competitors Of Brand24?
Michal Sadowski: Right, so there are two types of competitors. The first type is those old companies that have been providing social listening for a number of years, for 10 years some of them. They offer pretty good products. What’s bad about them is that they are really hard to try and hard to buy. You have to go through several layers of human interaction to even get a demo, to even get some initial data about your company. We changed that and you can tap into the data literally a minute from entering our website. You can see first mentions about your product, company or your competitor. This is one difference.
Another segment of our competitors are the companies that saw similar gap that we saw and are aiming to find this one. Probably the biggest ones I mentioned from France. They have very cool product. It’s very usable, in a way simplistic but in a good way. We probably have more analytics, we probably save more time for our users because we also crunch the data for you and we allow you to easily find the most important mentions about your company or product. Most customers, there are hundreds or tens of thousands of mentions about them on a monthly basis and it’s really hard to get through the noise so we try to save a lot of time.
Those are typically two major competitors. We can probably make it broader, Google Alerts is probably the most popular social listening or brand monitoring product out there. It’s very unreliable. Typically for an average brand it picks up less than 5% that all the paid tools like ourselves or our competitors pick up. But it’s free, it’s a good way to start probably. The Google itself is probably, I would imagine that all of us Google ourselves every now and then, so this is a really basic monitoring. Yeah, those would be the competitors.
George Thomas: Love it, Mike. We talked about competitors, that’s the set and now you get to spike because I’m going to ask you a question and you sort of went into it, but I think when we really go into it you’ll be able to give me more. What makes Brand24 better than the competitors?
What Makes Brand24 Better Than The Competition?
Michal Sadowski: Right. I think that the data quality and data quantity is one of the major things that can differentiate us. One of the major driver to build the tool in the first place was we were using other social listening tools and other brand marketing tools and we weren’t happy with the results. We were easily able to find manually results that weren’t picked up by all those tools or platforms. We’re trying to create a tool that, nobody knows what’s 100% of public mentions, nobody knows how many pieces of data are out there, but we make it really hard for most of our customers to manually find results that wouldn’t be picked up by the tool itself. That’s one thing.
Another is the one that I already mentioned briefly, so the whole analytics part. I know analytics stats are boring and kind of techy and stuff, but it’s analytics, it’s actually there to save you time and money. It’s not about fancy charts, diagrams, whatever, it’s about crunching the data and looking through potentially positive mentions, potentially negative mentions, implementing sentiment algorithm, implementing language processing algorithms that are trying to look for results that are likely to be the ones that you need to know about. This is probably our major advantage in terms of [inaudible 00:19:13] other.
The third thing is, I hate for price to be one of the advantages because the tool has to be the best tool it can be and the best in terms of features, but I feel like the price is such a huge, makes such a huge difference. Again, this is industry that has been dominated by Fortune 500 companies as customers and we are at the point where customers are trying to figure out what’s wrong with our product because it’s so cheap, which is weird. For some customers we have to describe why is it so that our product is 10 times cheaper than the major players out there while providing similar reliability. Yeah, those would be the major advantages, I would say.
George Thomas: Well there’s a lot of advantages and so when people are shopping around and they’re looking at your competitors they should definitely reference this video and give you guys a shot. Now, I almost jumped to this question when you were talking about the credit cards on Instagram, but I said no, I’ll hold off, I’ll wait for when we’re supposed to get to it. There has been one thing that I found as I’ve surfed the internet. There are these people who are tech-savvy and they just can do things. Then there’s those folks who put their credit card on Instagram. No, I’m just kidding. Then there are those folks that are just not, and so what are the potential problems that somebody who starts to use Brand24, what are some potential problems that they might run into and how do you maybe combat that?
What Problems Might Brand24 Customers Have When Using The Platform?
Michal Sadowski: Sure. Two major problems are too much data or too little data. Too little data is pretty obvious. As much as we feel, we all feel like there is a lot of people talking about us online, there are some of the companies that don’t have that big presence on the web. There’s often times I can see through logs, I can see the company owner who’s trying to research, they’re really niche company or really niche product, looking for thousands of mentions and asking you if they did the configuration right because they don’t see thousands of mentions for a really, really niche product, like a goose massager or something really abstract in a way.
The other problem is too much data. While we strive to get all of the data that includes keywords that our customers are looking for, we get a lot of noise. We get a lot of SEO sites, we get a lot of mentions that don’t have any customer feedback in them. We have our own algorithms to filter this out but it probably takes some additional configuration at the start to go through the noise. That will be the two major problems that customers have.
George Thomas: Mike, this interview has been great. If you’re viewers or listeners and if you’re into this content and you realize man, I want to be able to sift through the noise. I want to be able to communicate. I want to be able to pay attention to conversations and build relationships, then Brand24 might be for you. Mike, if people want to learn more about you, learn more about the brand, the product, the tool, where would you like to send them?
Where Can You Learn More About Brand24?
Michal Sadowski: Well hopefully to our main site, Brand24.com. Our blog, there’s a lot of content, a lot of resources. I recommend they go through [e-book 00:23:40]. I relate it or vindicate it to social listening. Yeah, I really recommend testing a few tools, compare them, compare us against competitors. Every tool has its pros and cons. We hope that we solve the problem in the best and optimal way to be honest, but there’s always some preferences. Yeah, Brand24.com would be the address.
George Thomas: Well ladies and gentlemen, that’s how we roll here at One Last Tool. No fluff, just great tools. Look, if you want to have the right conversations, if you want to be able to know if people are talking about you, then go take Brand24 for a spin. Until next time folks, go out into the world and find that one last tool.
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