Forrester, the worldwide authority on social listening tools, has released The Forrester Wave™: Social Listening Platforms, Q3 2018 Report. It’s their 7th Forrester Wave report on the topic, the first one dating back to 2006. It’s no coincidence that both the subject of social listening tools and the reports on the topic, date back to 2006. Most mainstream social networks launched in 2006, and those same networks picked up full steam and global adoption a year later in 2007.

Google Trends for Social Listening Tools

To get a feel for how this market has grown since the 1st Forrester Wave report, and the potential impact of Forrester Wave reports on the interest in social listening tools, I did a quick Google Trends search and overlaid the report dates on the chart. Here are the results:

social listening tools

What this chart shows is that interest in social listening tools continues to grow and that when Forrester publishes a report on the topic, there’s an uptick in traffic for several months after the report is released.

(In case it’s not obvious, the analysis in this blog post is my analysis and not Forrester’s unless stated otherwise)

Evaluating Social Listening Tools

The Forrester Wave is an invaluable resource for business units looking to make a smart buying decision for their company, without doing a ton of research on their own. This specific report evaluates social listening tools based on 40 different criteria. Those criteria are quite granular and can help a company if they are looking for a particular strength. For example, if “regional social media” is a critical business requirement for your company, you can see which vendors are strongest for that specific criteria. Likewise, if you are looking for a “pricing strategy” based on dashboards rather than the number of users or queries, you can answer that question too.

If that’s too much detail, Forrester simplifies their analysis by looking at higher-level criteria. For this specific Forrester Wave report, there are 12 higher-level criteria. These higher-level criteria come in handy when you want a blended view of vendors’ capabilities for broader areas. A good example here is buyers looking to understand how much emphasis is put on “customer strategy” by the vendor. This report will give you an in-depth overview of use cases and business units the vendor focuses on, their success with onboarding and account management, and the types of professional services offered.

forrester wave social listening platforms report

For buyers who want a quick snapshot of which vendors lead the pack, Forrester includes an incredibly simple Forrester Wave graphic that plots vendors across four different “waves”: Leaders, Strong Performers, Contenders, and Challengers. This graphic is a perfect example of the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

As someone who’s purchased a lot of enterprise software, the Forrester Wave is my go-to when making an important buying decision. The first-ever Forrester Wave report was published back in 2002 (on an unrelated topic), and they have done a terrific job building it into what it is today. Please enjoy a complimentary copy of The Forrester Wave™: Social Listening Platforms, Q3 2018 on us. I hope you find it helpful.

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The Forrester Wave™: Brand Monitoring, Q3 2006
The Forrester Wave™: Listening Platforms, Q1 2009
The Forrester Wave™: Listening Platforms, Q3 2010
The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Listening Platforms, Q2 2012
The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Listening Platforms, Q1 2014
The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Social Listening Platforms, Q1 2016
The Forrester Wave™: Social Listening Platforms, Q3 2018