December 2012 Archives

The Most-Read Posts of 2012

As the year winds down, it's time to see what people found on the blog this year, and once again, the most-read posts are generally older ones. Clearly, search-engine traffic favors older posts, and the visits add up through the year. But look at it this way: these are the posts on topics people searched for this year. Does that say something useful?

  1. What Does Salesforce-Radian6 Deal Mean for Everyone Else? - March 2011 (#3 in 2011)
  2. Applying Social Network Analysis to Social Media - September 2010
  3. Human vs. machine analysis - April 2007 (#5 in 2011)
  4. Visual text analysis - April 2007 (#6 in 2011)
  5. Visualizing networks based on communication - February 2008
  6. Global Social Media Usage Patterns - January 2011 (#4 in 2011)
  7. Professional-Strength Social Media Aggregators - June 2010 (#8 in 2011)
  8. Monitoring Social Media Before You Have a Budget - May 2008 (#2 in 2011)
  9. Why You Can't Measure Influence - January 2012
  10. Five Modes of Listening - September 2009
In keeping with tradition, I'll highlight some of this year's new posts that I think should get more attention in a separate recap.

Previous years' lists
2011: Top 10 Posts, Revisiting 2011
2010: Top 10 posts, Thinking through 2010
2009: Top 10 posts

I've been tracking acquisitions in social media analysis for years. It feels like we've had a lot of deals this year, and based on what I've seen, it's true. The volume has gone up every year. This year, I thought I'd do something new: I wrote a recap of the activity, which you can find at The Year in M&A, Social Media Analysis 2012.

As with the big directory of over 400 companies, the list of transactions requires some judgment about which deals to include. The companies that offer turnkey platforms for monitoring social media are easy. Others offer some of the building blocks for developers who want to focus on other pieces or enterprises building their own tools. Most run on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, though some licenses software for on-site installation. The variation gives the market a fuzzy edge, so it's not obvious what to include.

For SMA, I've chosen to go with a coarse filter, which means that I tend to err on the side of inclusion. If I sometimes reach too far, its because I think there's value in knowing what's happening on the other side of the fence.

Looking back
2012 was about more than acquisitions, of course. The investment deal flow continues, which I plan to recap separately, and I'm still discovering new—and new-to-me—companies fairly regularly. At the other end of the lifecycle, I've noticed an increase in companies shutting down quietly and a few sales of "assets" (as opposed to operating companies).

In 2006, I thought I'd find every company in the world developing tools to work with social media data. By now, I think we've established that it's not possible, but it remains an interesting space to watch.

Update: the 2012 investment recap is now up.

Social Media AnalysisQuick, name a social media monitoring tool that can monitor Instagram. Got one yet? Not sure? I found four in seconds. Here's how.

I launched Social Media Analysis in 2009 to move industry news coverage from my personal blog to its own site. A little over a year ago, I added a free directory of social media analysis companies, which continues to grow as I discover more companies in the market. In yesterday's webinar on choosing social media monitoring tools, I realized that the news archive is the better tool for finding specific product capabilities.

SMA's directory has its own search feature, which knows a few tricks, such as finding companies based on a search for their old names. But if you're searching for a feature, the directory is only as good as the descriptions that the vendors have written about themselves (in this challenge, a directory search found one result). For something as specific as covering a particular network, it's not likely to be a big help.

If you write long enough, you build a history
The good news is that the main site also has a search feature and nearly four years' archive of industry news. The weekly roundups of product updates are particularly rich in keywords for the search engine to use. A quick search for "Instagram" revealed four monitoring tools that have announced Instagram coverage.

Even industry observers who make a point of keeping up with the tools market can't remember every detail of what 400+ companies are doing. Is SMA on your go-to list of resources for keeping up with the social media tools market?

Vendors, have you checked your company's entry recently? Is it complete and up to date? Does it contain the right keywords for searchers?

About Nathan Gilliatt

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  • Voracious learner and explorer. Analyst tracking technologies and markets in intelligence, analytics and social media. Advisor to buyers, sellers and investors. Writing my next book.
  • Principal, Social Target
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