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Is social media monitoring a gold mine or a bubble?

(Disclaimer: I used to work at Brandtology but left the company last August. The views here are from the experience with clients and would be clients from August to the date of the post. It has nothing to do with my experience in dealing with customer at my time with Brandtology.)

A friend was asking me about the social media monitoring/analysis market and it got me thinking about this post.

In all my freelance jobs, social media monitoring/analysis has not been an important criteria or a deciding factor if I get the job or not. It all boils down to how creative I can be with the social networks I proposed. However, there are a few signals from clients that indicate that social media monitoring/analysis might be a bubble.

Clients moving to Facebook Fan Pages

All of my clients are looking at their social media strategy on Facebook, especially Fan Pages.

The advantages of Fan Pages are that you are usually dealing with real people and it provide a demographic report abit 48 hours later. The demographics report is actually important because it helps the client to see if their fan page is targeting the right market or there is a need to push certain content to get the targeted audience involved in the fan page.

Forums and blogs do not provide that that sort of demographics instantly.

Naysayers could say that one would cheat about the age and location, but so far, most of these age cheaters are usually those who cannot register onto Facebook because of their age (<13).

Facebook also has a policy about third party vendors storing data on their servers so this could be a problem for these social media monitors/analysis.

Also, Facebook recently launched Community Pages which are pages launched, not by the owners of the brand, but rather the consumers or the fans. The biggest difference is that Facebook will give the fans control over the page once they reach a good numbers of friends, which is usually 10,000.

I wouldn’t be surprised if clients will ask soon about Community Pages.

Comments from Forums and Blogs in Asia may lack in quality and quantity

I do the monitoring of social media sites for my clients as I include it in the budget. But from the monitoring results, the comments from Forums and Blogs, especially does from Asia often lack in quality and quantity that the client can justify working on.

For example, I found a client’s press article cut and pasted into a Asia forum and the subsequent comments were many but made up of usually two or three words.

How can the client work on the feedback if the comments were just “Not good”, “Maybe I buy?” ?

I have come across forums in US and Australia and their comments are so long that they deserved to be the post themselves. This allow for clients to learn from social media.

Complex touchpoints for comments

Comments are now no longer limited to the source of the content.

For example, somebody might blog about a subject and the headline is retweeted on Twitter, posted on his/her Facebook status, Plurked or even on Linkedin. The source can be on any

Given that all of these networks provide for a comment feature, I currently feel it would take a bit of human intelligence to figure out the link from one Tweet to the Facebook updates and the comments that comes with the linking.


Jon said…
Hi Aaron,

Interesting post and comments. Personally I do believe that social media monitoring is growing in importance though I think the question is who takes the job: client or agency.

I agree that reactions (to content) occur across the web (e.g. retweets, diggs, reblogs etc) and, give the range of platforms, their differing usages and the 'skill' of good monitoring, i do believe the lion's share of monitoring is better done by a specialist.

Of course, the coal-face interaction is best done by a client - under guidance perhaps - as social media encourages comment from 'the horse's mouth' though that does not mean to say an entire social media operations can be run by an internal (client) team.
Aaron Koh said…
Hi Jon,

Thanks for your comments.

Basic Google search is at times good enough for searching blogs and web.

There is to search local forum.

Search is itself an expertise that some take it for granted though.
Lavneesh said…
Hi Aaron,

I think although the importance of monitoring the social media is definitely increasing but the question is whether is it a must have or a nice to have solution. My interaction with clients on these solutions tells me that whereas it generates a huge interest and a wow factor, when it comes to buying the service the clients feel that a simple search is good enough and it may not be worthwhile for them to invest in a full blown service.
Having said that the importance on Social Media monitoring can only grow from here !
Plewman said…
good post, if the faceboopk communities require 10,000 fans to engage, this will limit communities to multi-national brands

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