Analyst Perspective: and Radian6


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Radian6’s solution for social media monitoring was never the most elegant one on the market. The interface was nothing special. The platform lacked a lot of the bells and whistles seen elsewhere. And, unlike some of the other big players, there was no professional services arm to do the heavy lifting in terms of generating actionable insights. Instead, users were on their own to sift though the universe of consumer-generated content, to make sense of it and to respond to it however they deemed fit.

Forget about reports with in-depth analysis of influence metrics or presentations that revealed emerging trends and new consumer insights. Radian6 was focused on providing real-time conversation engagement, plain and simple, and at a price that most companies could easily afford.

Clearly, the strategy worked. Today’s announcement that intends to buy Radian6 for $326 million in cash and stock is testament to that fact. It’s a huge dollar amount, by any measure, and especially given that the vendor’s annual revenue is no more than $35 million.

For, the acquisition makes a lot of sense as the behemoth looks to further strengthen its capabilities in the social media arena, complementing its “Chatter” functionality. And with its investment earlier this month in Hubspot, also seems eager to extend its inbound marketing capabilities, including those related to social media promotion.

From the start, Radian6 had an impressive leadership team (I’ve done a number of analyst briefings with them over the years) and the drive to get its solution into as many companies as possible, as quickly as possible, whether directly or on a white label basis. As we wrote in our November 2010 Gleansight benchmark report on Social Media Monitoring, part of Radian6’s success also came from continuous innovation – everything from word cloud visualization to workflow management. The vendor also succeeded by maintaining a clear focus on its three core areas (its listening platform, analysis dashboard and engagement console) and by integrating with enterprise systems currently in use, including Excel and Google Analytics.

What does this acquisition mean for other providers of social media monitoring solutions? “I think this is clearly a good thing for the industry,” the CEO of one of the largest players told me.

My view is: “It depends.” Vendors that offer robust platforms with built-in analytics capable of mining large volumes of data to deliver true insights will likely benefit from the rising tide. Those that offer value-add professional services and specialized expertise that can help companies dig deeper and gain “social intelligence” (see my recent article in 1to1 Media) also have staying power. In many ways, their services are fundamentally different – and also complementary – to a Radian6.

All others may want to consider packing their bags.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeff Zabin
Jeff Zabin is research director at Starfleet Research, which benchmarks best practices in technology-enabled business initiatives, and CEO of Starfleet Media, the leading provider of content marketing programs tailored to meet the inbound marketing and lead generation needs of B2B companies in selected niche markets. A bestselling business author, he previously served as vice president and research fellow at Aberdeen Group.


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