Marketing Strategy

Review of Mention, a Great Alternative to Google Alerts for Brand Monitoring

By Elisa Gabbert May 06, 2013 Posted In: Marketing Strategy Comments: 14

Back in April 2012 I wrote about how Google Alerts had pretty much stopped working for me. Recently, they clearly tweaked something, because Google Alerts are working better, as Danny Sullivan noted at Search Engine Land recently. However, they’re definitely not back up to the level they were at when I first signed up for a Google Alert years ago. Why not? Apparently, Google only sends you new alerts under these circumstances:

Google Alerts only sends you email if new articles, webpages or blog posts make it into the top ten Google News results, the top twenty Google Web Search results or top ten Google Blog Search results for your query. If the top results remain the same for a while, you won't receive email on your topic.

Perhaps this reduces the processing power they have to devote to Google Alerts. But it means that you’re only going to get alerts for a fraction of the actual mentions of the keyword or phrase that you’re monitoring, because most mentions aren’t going to break into the top 10.

So what’s the alternative? I recently signed up for a free trial of Mention, another brand monitoring service, and I’m finding it to be a much more effective tool than Google Alerts. Let’s take a look at how Mention works.

How to Get Started with Mention

Go to the home page and click the “Signup for free” button. You can sign up using your existing Facebook, Twitter, Google, or OpenID account, or just enter your name, email address, and a password to create a new account.

Sign Up For Mention Brand Monitoring

If you sign up using an existing account, you’ll be asked to enter an email address. Then you can choose how to use Mention:

Using Mention App

You can download Mention for Windows, get the app for iPhone or Android, install a Chrome extension, or just use the web app. In this review, I’ll be focusing on the web app.

Creating a New Alert on Mention

Once you click through to the web app, you’ll a screen where you can create your alert (click the image to enlarge).

How to Create a Mention Alert

Then just fill out the form:

  • Name your alert: I created a Mention alert for my name and called it “Selfie” because I’m cute like that. I also created a brand alert called “WordStream.”
  • Include and exclude expressions: Type in the words or phrases that you want to get alerts for. You can include common misspellings or variations, and you can also exclude terms, i.e. tell Mention not to send you alerts for pages that include a given word or phrase.
  • Choose your languages: English is the default, but you can choose to receive alerts in French, Spanish, German and a bunch of other languages too.

In the next step, you can manage and filter your sources. I chose to get alerts from all sources (the web, Facebook, Twitter, news, blogs, videos, forums and images) but you can exclude some of those sources if you want, or block a specific site.

Filter Brand Mentions

On this screen you can also choose whether you want to use “Priority inbox” (a feature that flags mentions they identify as more important or influential) and “Anti-Noise Technology” (which removes mentions similar to those you have deleted).

Then click “Create my alert.” At this point, you can choose to share your alert other users. Anyone can then see the alerts, but you’ll be the owner with the ability to edit and manage settings, add or delete users as well as delete the alert.

Using the Mention Web App

Google Alerts are bare-bones emails with links to the pages that mention the word or phrase you’re monitoring. They look like this:

Google Alerts Emails

Mention also sends you an email when you have new results:

Mention Email

As you can see, the Mention email is a little more designed (with a look and feel somewhat similar to what you’d get from Pinterest, or the excellent Twitter emails) and it also has more options: Click the blue button to go to the page, or click one of the links below the entry to react to the mention, mark as a favorite or delete the mention. Clicking any of these links opens up the Mention web app, which looks a lot like an email application (again, click the image to enlarge):

Mention Web App

In the far left column, you have a list of views. The default view is Mentions, which you can see in the next column over, with the most recent mention at the top.

You can filter the mentions column by source and toggle the view between all, unread, and priority. (The “priority” mentions have red flags.)

On the right, in the main view, you get a preview of the page with your mention. This is really cool because you can see the context of the mention without having to actually visit the page – it’s obviously much more robust than the little search-style snippet you get in the Google Alert email. From this view you can choose to click through to the original URL or the source, and you can also favorite the mention, block the source or trash it using the little icons at the top.

Mention options

There’s also a Statistics section where you can get some basic reporting on your mentions, like your average mentions per day and what sources those mentions are coming from.

Brand Mention Statistics

Similar to Google Analytics, you can adjust the date range and export your reports.

What I Like About Mention

I think Mention works about a million times better than Google Alerts. Here’s why:

  • Way, way, way more results – My Google Alert on my name is still active, but I get maybe one or two alerts per week, whereas Mention usually finds 5-10 new results per day. Because this is all Mention does, they’re able to devote all their resources to crawling the web for your brand mentions. Google obviously doesn’t consider brand monitoring to be a priority for the company.
  • Social results – Google Alerts never really picked up on mentions from Twitter and Facebook. It’s cool that Mention finds these too and shows me a snippet of what's being said about me on Facebook (even if I can’t see the actual Facebook pages, because I’m not on Facebook!).
  • Email-style layout – I also really like the way Mention’s web app is set up like an Outlook-style email program, so all my mentions are housed in one place and I can refer back to them.
  • Stats – Plus, reporting! This isn’t something I’ll get a lot of use out of on my little “Selfie” alert, but I think brands and businesses will find this really useful. It’s cool to be able to see big spikes in brand mentions and where those spikes are coming from.

What I Don’t Like or Am Unsure About

I’m not sure about the “Priority Inbox” algorithm – Mention seems to be flagging some pages that aren’t really substantial mentions; for example some of them are just static blogroll links. However, this feature may be more valuable if you’re a huge brand getting hundreds or thousands of mentions a day, like Coca-Cola or Demi Lovato or whatever.

In addition, I really can’t speak to the quality or usability of the mobile apps, because I don’t own a smartphone. (I know, I know, I work in technology, blah blah, but I don’t cover gadgets and WordStream ain’t payin’ my mobile bill.) For what it’s worth, Larry found the mobile app “unusable,” so "try before you buy."

A Note on Pricing

OK, so Google Alerts is free, but that’s part of the problem with it – it doesn’t make money so Google isn’t putting any resources into maintaining quality.

Mention also has a free tier, which gets you three alerts, 500 mentions per month, and 1 month of history.

The next tier is the Pro Plan. This is the plan I reviewed, as Mention comped me a month when they saw me say I was trying it out on Twitter. The Pro Plan is $19.99 per month and gets you unlimited alerts, 50,000 mentions per month, unlimited history, and access to stats and data export tools.

The highest tier is Team Plan, which is $99.95 per month and gets you everything the Pro Plan does plus ability for multiple users on the same account. This doesn’t seem like a great deal; to get five users on the team plan, you’re paying five times the amount of the Pro Plan. You’d think there would be a bit of a discount. But this might be a worthwhile option for bigger businesses with bigger budgets.

Mention vs. Google Alerts: What Do You Think?

Have you been looking for an alternative to Google Alerts? Have you tried Mention? What do you use for brand monitoring? Let me know in the comments!

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Comments

Thursday May 09, 2013

Tema Frank (not verified) Said:

Thanks for explaining why Google Alerts is finding so much less than it used to. I'd been wondering the same thing. I'll give Mention a try. (Wonder if they'll comp me? smiley)

 

Thursday May 09, 2013

Elisa Gabbert Said:

Either way, you might find the free version sufficient for your needs. Thanks for reading!

Monday May 13, 2013

Guru Of Backlinks (not verified) Said:

I signed up today and looks like there is a month free trial in place already. I see a little box that says "Free Trial - 31 Days Remaining" in the bottom left corner. Looks like it's a trial of the Pro level. A good opportunity to see what it's all about. If I find it useful and it finds a way to pay for itself, I might consider upgrading after the trial is over. Will see how it goes...

Saturday May 11, 2013

Mike (not verified) Said:

Thanks, I'm going to try this. Google Alerts has been ineffective as of late - you need social at this point. My biggest problem is getting this into the daily workflow. It's tough to respond to everything on certain terms. It's almost as if this is something I'd give to a marketing intern and have them escalate if it looked serious. How much time per day are you doing this for your brand?

Monday May 13, 2013

Elisa Gabbert Said:

I don't try to respond to every mention of our brand. I just try to catch the important stuff. Keep an eye on it the same you keep an eye on incoming emails. An intern could probably monitor, but I wouldn't put an intern in charge of actually managing and responding to all your mentions unless you REALLY trust them.

Monday May 13, 2013

Guru Of Backlinks (not verified) Said:

Great review, and as Tema mentioned in their comment above it explains a LOT about why the Google Alerts I receive seem so sparse. I've just recently started to use Google Alerts for my newest venture, but I only really ever receive alerts for terms related to my brand (generally my own blog posts) and not the broader, more popular terms related to my industry.  So far the results have been insufficient for what I need, which is frustrating and disappointing. So I'm super excited to try out Mention for the same terms I was trying to track in Google Alerts. Not too happy about how expensive their Pro plan is for something like this though. I'm all for things being paid so that companies continue to focus on quality and delivering better versions of the service. $19.99 is pretty expensive for simply tracking mentions, though. And unfortunately, the free tier doesn't allow nearly enough alerts to really test this out. Would be nice if they gave at least 5...

Well, at any rate it's nice to have something as an alternative to Google Alerts. I've found bits and pieces of a service like this nestled in with a variety of SEO tools I use, but never this complete or this engaging. That counts for something, even if I'm unsure whether paying $19.99 is worth it.

Tuesday May 14, 2013

Elisa Gabbert Said:

Thanks for the comment! 19.99/month would be steep for personal use, but hopefully you can make room in your marketing budget. Hope you find it helpful!

Sunday May 19, 2013

Maxime Robert (not verified) Said:

Thank you for this review, I've been trying Mention lately and I can confirm the quality of the results is very high.

What I don't like is the GUI, which is counterintuitive at times, and the way the plans are presented, which seem confusing. I have a free plan that is expiring in 13 days, yet there's another catch - you don't get anymore email alerts past a certain "quota". However, how this quota is calculated is quite obscure, when you click on "Email notifications" all you get is "Quota exceeded". I realized this today as I wasn't getting any more alerts from mention and decided to login to check, to realize many had in fact arrived.

Google Alerts might be revamped into a paid service - the free service being the useless tool it has now become (unless you're tracking very broad keywords). That's a new strategy we can see with most of their products.... "No longer provided"!

Regards from Switzerland, Maxime Google referencement

Monday May 20, 2013

Elisa Gabbert Said:

It would be great if Google offered an inexpensive paid service for this -- if it worked!

Monday August 12, 2013

Nonoy (not verified) Said:

I don't know about this software. But for me I use Google Alerts because it's fast. The moment a post or news is published, seconds after you will receive an email. Works good for me. 

Wednesday September 25, 2013

Sef (not verified) Said:

Mentions.net is much useful than Google alerts. Based on experience. =)

Monday November 25, 2013

Day Digital (not verified) Said:

Thanks for the great post. Going to sign up and see how it all works - using it for a netnography project for my Masters so should give me good insight.

 

Tuesday December 10, 2013

Andy (not verified) Said:

 Hi everyone,

 

I'm the owner of a new app called Neuoogle available for Free on the iPhone App Store.   An Android version is coming early in the New Year.

 

We believe Neuoogle is an improvement over Google Alerts, as we operate within a single environment; The Neuoogle App.  No need to flit between browsers, RSS readers, emails clients and back to browsers.  Everything is available within the Neuoogle app.  Our workflow is far more streamlined than Google Alerts (or any of the web based alert tools).

 

We offer improvements over Alerts in that we can filter based on either URL or  location or both.  (A feature required by Edgardo below), but we also support the Google keywords such as AND & OR and NOT

 

Finally, our push notifications really set us apart. They relate directly to your saved searches, telling you which search has new hits.  You can instantly decide which notification to respond to, and not be sidetracked by checking emails.

 

Check it out... I'm sure you love it.

 

Andy

 

Monday April 07, 2014

Sailaja Tennati (not verified) Said:

i just started using Mentions a week ago, I will say the pick is way, way better than Google Alerts. Also, I like that I can share content from the app to my Twitter and Facebook accounts. However, here are the cons I see so far (in my free trial), it does not pick up Google+ mention (Ironic?) and also I cannot connect my Google Plus and LinkedIn accounts. However, compared to other tools such as Radian6 this is far better value for me anyway. 

 

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