RowFeeder is primarily a Twitter monitoring tool that promises raw data in your favorite spreadsheet and real-time Google docs and beautiful Excel reports to analyze the who, what, when and where.
And full disclosure: I've met Aviel Ginzburg, Damon Cortesi and Adam Schoenfeld from Untitled Startup, and I already think they are mega-cool. They didn't ask for this review, but I've been hearing so much about this tool that I finally made time to check it out. So the review might be a tiny bit biased towards the awesome.
What is RowFeeder
Rowfeeder is primarily a tool for monitoring and analyzing Twitter mentions of a topic, brand or keyword. (The Facebook functionality is in beta at the moment.) The big key here is the "analyzing" part. It's easy enough to go to Twitter search and track a mention of a keyword, but that big, unwieldy list doesn't really help much. It's more a point-of-use tool. In that, Twitter Search is kind of like a dictionary: it's great to use to find one word one time, but having the catalog doesn't necessarily help you craft a beautiful sentences for your next presentation or speak English more fluently.
In the social media space, it's not so much about getting the information as it is organizing and analyzing it so that it can be used to inform decisions about marketing strategy, direction and benchmarks.
My first test was with the brand name of an MBA program, Thunderbird, that happened to come up in conversation this week. Since it shares nomenclature with a popular email program, Air Force unit, football team and a few others, I thought it would be a good test.
RowFeeder will allow users to exclude terminology, so I ran a search for Thunderbird minus Mozilla, air force and wine.
[Update 12:39 p.m.: Adam Schoenfeld let me know that the comma delineation I used will actually create and exclusions for the exact match of "mozilla, airforce, wine." You would likely want to have Mozilla OR airforce OR wine, like so:]
Interestingly, you can see that the prediction was 0 posts per hour with those restrictions. And that seems a bit discouraging, but remember that that information in itself is valuable data: few people are Twittering about Thunderbird MBA program at the moment, which indicates a big opportunity for positive growth and outreach in that area.
The next search term is one I keep as a saved search on HootSuite and Google Alerts for Spoken Communications: call center. Since I track this term on a daily basis, I was certain it would turn up more results, and it did. RowFeeder's estimate was 62 posts an hour:
After waiting a few minutes for the posts to feed in to the program, RowFeeder gave me this summary of 74 relevant posts:
So I clicked through for the option for today's report. And hat tip to the guys at Untitled for leaving Mac as the default format option! Men after my own heart.
Unfortunately, here I ran into a snag. The report contained two sheets: one of the raw data and one with the beautiful Excel report. The raw data was plain Excel with every mention in a cell--not so pretty. However, the "beautiful" report didn't load properly, since I'm using Excel 2004. A note: the visual reports come up empty if you have a version of Excel prior to 2007.
Since I don't have the benefit of being able to see the pretty reports full of data visualization, I personally won't be able to fully utilize RowFeeder until I update Microsoft Office. However, as a fiend for data visualization, I can see this being an extremely useful tool. Having the ability to exclude certain terms from the search is useful, and quick access to data visualization for even a few terms could be incredibly valuable when researching a social media campaign.
Currently, RowFeeder is free for one search term up to 500 posts a month. They offer graded plans for $35/month for three terms up to 5,000 posts/month; $125/month for five terms up to 125,000 posts/month; $255 for 10 active terms up to 50,000 posts/month as well as an agency edition.
What do you think? Have you used RowFeeder or some other Twitter analytics tool?