Just Signal is a company that has developed an application bringing social media monitoring to business that is cost effective. They’re not alone. Trendr is another such company that gets you started on $0 per month. Their pricing options include Gold, Platinum and Elite services, where at a maximum entry point of $999/month, provide unlimited reports and analytics on as many trending topics or brands as your heart desires. This pricing schema compares favourably with providers such as Radian6 and Sysomos, firms widely associated with a SaaS model.
Let’s be clear – I’m not passing judgement on the quality of the deliverables, their implied go-to-market approach or pricing model. Instead, this is about how the market has changed so much in the past year with the dramatic increase in providers of some form of WOM (word-of-mouth) monitoring application. Back in 2006, there were roughly a dozen or so as tracked by Forrester Research, today they number well over a hundred.
New supply, even in a growing market for services, has an affect on pricing. Like the long distance market of old, established carriers, for a number of very complex reasons, have seen 2 things happen over the last tens years: customers are constantly switching providers and they are shopping on price. After all, most long-distance carriers deliver very similar perceived value. Now there’s Skype. Free. With over 500 million registered users, Skype would be the world’s largest carrier company, according to Morgan Stanley.
Is the Social Media Monitoring industry moving to a similar situation, at or close to free? Will the “Skype” provider emerge as a viable alternative to paid monitoring services. Maybe. Maybe not.
What’s next? Segmentation for one. Monitoring companies will, in my estimate, evolve into 3 streams: Software, Business Intelligence/CRM and Business Insights. They will be priced accordingly and align functionally with the call centre, public relations, marketing & branding and strategy & innovation. Think in terms of an overlay to service response, campaign execution and business planning respectively.
Did I mention Google?
– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia