Parnassus Group

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Brand Monitoring and Twitter Search: How the Major Engines Come Up Short

Brand Monitoring and Twitter Search: How the Major Engines Come Up Short
One of the things we offer clients is reporting on comprehensive historical brand mentions on Twitter. The ability to go back weeks or months can be invaluable, and this is generally something that can’t be done using search.twitter.com.
An example of how mainstream search misses the mark came to me as I tested several popular tools trying to find references to our recent Twitter Conference. Specifically, I was curious about any references made by the retired professional wrestler and actor known as the “Iron Sheik.”
For those of you that were not at our L.A. event, the comedy lunch panel had an unexpected last-minute addition. As our panelists prepared to take the stage, a limo pulled up and out stepped the Iron Sheik and his entourage. Their claim was that the Sheik had been instructed to appear at our event and to join the panel onstage. (The only issue was that as far as we knew the only people who could have made such an instruction was us…)
It was Tucker Max who led us to the solution as he insisted that having the Sheik there was a major coup — and that we simply had to have him join the panel. We did put him onstage, and he was a big hit.
What I’ve been wondering is if the Sheik had posted about the conference prior to the event. Did he “warn” us he would be making a surprise appearance? I decided to see how the big four (and one small) search engines did with an archival search:
Engine 1: Twitter Search
No luck here, zero results for the hashtag #140tc when searching within twitter.com/the_ironsheik. That’s not unexpected, as Twitter’s search archive only goes back a week or two.
Engine 2: Yahoo
Another goose egg. While Yahoo lets you search within a domain, it does not appear to provide detailed results for sub domains (specific accounts) within Twitter.
Engine 3: Google
Ah, getting closer. It appears that Google has archived some relevant tweets, but they are dated after the Sheik’s appearance. Looks like we had no advance warning(?)
Engine 4: Bing
Eureka! Bing indexed a lone relevant “warning” tweet prior to the Twitter Conference. The bad news? It completely missed the two tweets that Google had indexed.
Engine 5 – The Winner: Searchtastic
Searchtastic is a recently launched engine (in Beta) that specializes in searching for tweets from a specific user. It captured 8 tweets, which when compared to our own internal data source appears to (remarkably) have captured everything that the Sheik tweeted about us. Regrettably, it seems Searchtastic provides no RSS feed.
The bottom line? While no search engine, even one with feed capabilities offers enough data or structure for professional analysis, Searchtastic at least provides a very complete set of results.

One of the things we offer clients is reporting on comprehensive historical brand mentions on Twitter. The ability to go back weeks or months can be invaluable, and this is generally something that can’t be done using search.twitter.com.

An example of how mainstream search misses the mark came to me as I tested several popular tools trying to find references to our recent Twitter Conference. Specifically, I was curious about any references made by the retired professional wrestler and actor known as the “Iron Sheik.”

For those of you that were not at our L.A. event, the comedy lunch panel had an unexpected last-minute addition. As our panelists prepared to take the stage, a limo pulled up and out stepped the Iron Sheik and his entourage. Their claim was that the Sheik had been instructed to appear at our event and to join the panel onstage. (The only issue was that as far as we knew the only people who could have made such an instruction was us…)

It was Tucker Max who led us to the solution as he insisted that having the Sheik there was a major coup — and that we simply had to have him join the panel. We did put him onstage, and he was a big hit.

What I’ve been wondering is if the Sheik had posted about the conference prior to the event. Did he “warn” us he would be making a surprise appearance? Even though we have our own internal system that has all tweets made during that period, I decided to see how the big four (and one small) search engines did with an archival search:

Engine 1: Twitter Search

No luck here, zero results for the hashtag #140tc when searching within twitter.com/the_ironsheik. That’s not unexpected, as Twitter’s search archive only goes back a week or two.

Twitter Seach _1

Engine 2: Yahoo

Another goose egg. While Yahoo lets you search within a domain, it does not appear to provide detailed results for sub domains (specific accounts) within Twitter.

Yahoo

Engine 3: Google

Ah, getting closer. It appears that Google has archived some relevant tweets, but they are dated after the Sheik’s appearance. Looks like we had no advance warning(?)

Google

Engine 4: Bing

Eureka! Bing indexed a lone relevant “warning” tweet prior to the Twitter Conference. The bad news? It completely missed the two tweets that Google had indexed.

Bing

Engine 5 – The Winner: Searchtastic

Searchtastic is a recently launched engine (in Beta) that specializes in searching for tweets from a specific user. It captured 8 tweets, which when compared to our own internal data source appears to (remarkably) have captured everything that the Sheik tweeted about us (including the colorful language.) Regrettably, it seems Searchtastic provides no RSS feed.

searchtastic copy

Note that even with safesearch settings turned off on Bing and Google, the results were minimal.

The bottom line? While no search engine, even one with feed capabilities offers enough data or structure for professional analysis, Searchtastic at least provides a very complete set of results.

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