Measuring Unstructured Data: Brandwatch

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Today, an increasing number of arts organizations are aware of the importance of using social media platforms to engage their audiences. While employing different channels is crucial, it is equally important to monitor, analyze and evaluate your organization’s performance across social media platforms. Unlike data retrieved from ticketing or donor management systems, social media data is unstructured, which makes the analysis procedure even more challenging. Fortunately, monitoring and analytics tools are available that offer help. Brandwatch is one such tool.

Brandwatch is a leading social media monitoring and analytics platform launched in 2007 in England, with its U.S. office opening in 2011. Currently the company has developed a full range of tools and services for commercial and nonprofit organizations to watch their brands. Arts managers who are not tech-savvy will appreciate Brandwatch’s user-friendly interface. In addition, training and personalized customer service are provided with purchase of a user license. 

Brandwatch provides highly customizable dashboards that users can easily configure to monitor their various social media channels, including historical data back to June 2010. Queries enable arts organizations to observe people’s reactions and reflections before, during, and after a certain show, exhibit, event, or campaign. Mention volume can be broken down by days, months, or years. Results are displayed as good-looking charts and graphs.

 Monitoring results are shown as attractive charts and graphs.

Monitoring results are shown as attractive charts and graphs.

 A wide variety of metrics are available for arts organizations to compare and analyze trends. Both raw data and charts can be exported to Excel spreadsheets and various image formats. The data cleaning function is another feature that makes sure Brandwatch captures reliable data to serve its clients’ needs. Before captured data is made available, it goes through a cleaning process where a filter identifies and cleans spam, advertisements, duplicate entries, and out-of-date posts.

Brandwatch can also help arts organizations identify and engage influencers, a crucial step to raise awareness on social media platforms. In addition to monitoring how often an organization is mentioned, Brandwatch is able to gather and present demographics of online influencers who mention and effectively spread positive information about an organization.

The only drawback I found about Brandwatch is its sentiment analysis. For example, when reviewing the sentiments on Ben & Jerry’s social media platforms, most are classified as neutral, which does not provide useful information for the company to analyze its online presence or to understand its customers.

 Sentiments analysis summary of Ben&Jerry's.

Sentiments analysis summary of Ben&Jerry's.

Despite this drawback, Brandwatch is an outstanding tool that allows organizations to effectively measure, analyze, and improve their online presence. But, is it the right tool for every arts organization? While some non-profit organizations have started to use and benefit from Brandwatch, its pricing might still hinder many small and mid-sized organizations. Also, unlike TechSoup or Salesforce, Brandwatch currently has no discounted or donated packages for nonprofit organizations. Prices of its current three packages range from $800 to $3200 per month. As shown in the following spreadsheet, each package includes unlimited users and product training, plus different volumes of mentions, queries, and storage capacities. For institutions that can afford the price, Brandwatch is a great choice for monitoring and analyzing social media channels.