Practical Ecommerce

4 Affordable Brand Monitoring Tools for Local Businesses

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Web Marketing Today. Practical Ecommerce acquired Web Marketing Today in 2012. In 2016, we merged the two sites, leaving Practical Ecommerce as the successor.

Brand monitoring is a way to observe what people are saying about your business on the Internet. One of the better ways to keep track of this information is to use a brand monitoring tool.

Such tools scour blogs, social media, news stories, and other sources to find out what people are saying about your business or keywords related to it.

Below, I discuss four affordable brand monitoring tools for local small businesses.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts

Google Alerts is free to use.

Google Alerts is a free tool that notifies you, via email, anytime someone mentions a keyword you wish to monitor.

Google Alert with keyword.

Google Alert using the keyword “Amazon.”

Upon entering the keyword, Google lets you choose from a few options, to narrow down the information you receive:

  • How often. Choose how often you want to receive the information: as it happens, at most once a day, or at most once a week;
  • Sources. Select from where you desire to receive these notifications — sources such as blogs, news, and videos. Or, just choose the “Automatic” feature;
  • Language. Decide on the language in which you wish to receive the alert:
  • Region. Pick out the geographic areas from where you would like to receive results;
  • How many. Determine the type of results you wish to receive, either the “best” or “all.”

Once Google locates your keyword based upon the selected options, an alert will be emailed to you, which will display a snippet of the content it found along with a link to the source.

While Google Alerts is not as robust as some tools, it will still provide you relevant information about your keyword, brand, or even your competition.

Price: Free 

Social Mention

Social Mention

For a free tool, Social Mention provides robust reporting.

Social Mention is a free, web-based application that monitors more than 80 properties including blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

After adding a keyword to monitor, Social Mention scours the Internet looking for items that match. Once it locates the keyword, the program will then provide you with a robust report containing data relevant to the keyword you entered.

While the initial search screen of Social Mention is very simplistic, the resulting data you receive is not.

Keyword results from Social Mention.

Keyword results from Social Mention.

Social Mention provides a wealth of information about the keyword, which includes:

  • Sources of the Information. The large center area of the resulting screen is a list of the sources that Social Mention located, all of which relate to your keyword. Each link that appears on the screen is clickable and will take you directly to the source:
  • Strength. The strength number, displayed as a percentage, shows you how likely it is that your brand is being talked about online:
  • Sentiment. The sentiment ratio shows you overall how someone feels about your brand;
  • Passion. The passion percentage measures how likely it is that those talking about your brand will talk about it again in the future;
  • Reach. Reach, also shown as a percentage, lets you know how many unique individuals are referencing your brand online. Social Mention divides reach by the total number of mentions;
  • Top Keywords. Displays the top keywords related to your brand;
  • Top Users. See who the top users are, related to your brand;
  • Top Hashtags. View the top hashtags related to your brand;
  • Top Sources. See the top places online where your brand is being mentioned.

Social Mention allows you to download much of this information as a .csv file, for later use.

Price: Free



Mention offers a 14-day free trial.

Mention is an online and mobile service that lets you monitor your brand across the Internet.

When you sign in for the first time, Mention asks you what you would like to monitor.

Choose the type of keyword to watch with

Choose the type of keyword to watch with

You can then choose your preferred sources and language.

Choose the sources to monitor.

Select the sources to monitor.

Next, you can choose if you want to follow certain social media accounts.

Choose additional social media accounts to monitor.

Choose additional social media accounts to monitor.

Once you finish the initial setup, Mention will begin to gather data. Mention also lets you:

  • Track multiple keywords. Use various keywords to monitor your brand or industry. After Mention discovers data based on your keywords, a listing of these sources will appear, and you can respond to that data instantly without having to leave the service;
  • Assign team members. Add team members that have full or limited access to the data.   You can also assign team members tasks to complete;
  • View statistics. Receive statistics and reports on your brand, which include:
    • Top places. Discover the top places online where people are talking about your brand the most;
    • Top influencers. Mention offers an influencer score, which will show you which influential individuals are talking about you or any of the keywords you have entered;
    • Top stories. Discover the top stories about your brand;
    • Sentiment. Overall, how people feel about your brand;
    • Tag Cloud. View a tag cloud that shows terms related to your brand or keyword. Each word within the tag cloud is clickable and will then display a list of the corresponding mentions for that keyword.
    • Track competitors. Track your competitors by creating up to 30 alerts for your industry;
    • Use the service on mobile devices. Mention offers various ways to access your information via applications from Android, Apple, Chrome, and Windows.

Price: Mention offers a 14-day free trial. Limited services begin at $29 per month.



Talkwalker, an expensive platform used by large agencies, has free tools anyone can use.

Talkwalker is a powerful brand management platform typically used by larger agencies. The service supports more than ten social networks, displays the sentiment of your brand, and enables you to refine your search results with more than four dozen filters.

Talkwalker plans begin at $700 per month. However, the company provides some free tools accessible to anyone.

Social media search for brands. Upon entering a keyword, Talkwalker’s Social Media Search will provide you with mentions of that keyword across social media along with metrics for each post.

Talkwalker social media brand search.

Talkwalker social media brand search.

Talkwalker alerts. Talkwalker offers a free alerts service which is touted to be more comprehensive than Google Alerts.

Create an alert within Talkwalker.

Create an alert within Talkwalker.

As with Google Alerts, you enter the keyword you wish to monitor and then fill in the rest of the information. Once you have set up an alert, Talkwalker will email you relevant information based on your search parameters.

Additionally, if you already have Google Alerts set up and do not care to re-enter the same information, you can import a Google Alerts .csv file into Talkwalker.

While there is no shortage of brand management tools available online, you will find that many offer similar services at varying prices. Start with the free services, to get the feel for what a brand management tool can do for you

Kristine Wirth

Kristine Wirth

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Comments ( 4 )

  1. Danielle Oscilloskope February 11, 2016 Reply

    Hi Kristine!

    Very useful your list! Online media monitoring tools are software and other solutions that help you know how your brand is performing online, what people are talking about it in the social media, how it is impacting Internet traffic and what people really discuss in reviews and forums. They, thus, become an important asset to a brand which wants to assess its online presence.

  2. Jakub February 12, 2016 Reply

    Hi Kristine!
    That’s a great list I must say! Would be awesome to see featured as well. It’s pretty good at brand reputation management and super-easy to use, especially after recent dashboard redesign. The plans start from 49$/month so I think it’s a perfect match for local businesses looking for affordable brand monitoring tools ;)

  3. omshankar February 15, 2016 Reply

    Kristine .
    This detail was really helpful for us .Thanks.

  4. EmplifySocial February 26, 2016 Reply

    Hello Kristine, another truly affordable social listening solution you may want to take a look is Emplify ( It’s a full-featured hashtag and account listening solution for Twitter and Instagram at $24/month. Please check it out and let us know what you think :)!