Over the last couple months, I’ve been testing Primeloop as a tool for tracking mentions all around the web using my own employer as a guinea pig for a real-world testing environment. It’s a very simple tool, but I’ve found it to be quite useful and a viable alternative to either labor-intensive spreadsheet-tracking, or the hideously expensive monitoring tools that currently dominate the PR industry.
The central product was originally developed in 2011 by Thomas Knoll and was formally launched before SXSW last year as clippPR. The company has recently rebranded to Primeloop, a namesake that aims to articulate the value proposition: a way to loop brands back into the conversation by tracking and reporting on engagement. Used in conjunction with a free tool like Talkwalker, which I’ve found to be a useful replacement for Google Alerts, you’ll be able to easily stay abreast of brand mentions.
Simple, useful, intuitive
I’ve found the product has a simple elegance, is intuitive, and maintains a clean interface that works something like a cross between Evernote and Pinterest. Primeloop offers a browser plugin for Chrome so as users peruse the web, they can clip mentions, categorize the clips and add them to a “notebook.” Notebooks are the central repository and users might want more than one. A PR firm for example, would probably want at least one notebook per client.
Once clips have been added, Primeloop begins tabulating social shares and comments and will email you a report – if you so choose. In the console you can sort clips by “rank” which appears to be based on the number of social shares, or by date or category, based on the tags you’ve created. The notion comes full circle when, based on the information presented, you can choose to dive back into the conversation.
Drilling downs and collaboration
Drilling down on a specific article or post that has been clipped, will allow you examine social mentions by platform. For example, drilling down on Twitter will bring users to Topsy which details all of the mentions of a specific piece of content. For Facebook, Primeloop provides an analysis – including whether or not comments have been made on Facebook along with a share. Clicking on Google+ will bring up a summary of specific posts, though I’d recommend the company to investigate integrating Google+ Ripples.
One feature I am especially fond of is the ability to export the data to an Excel spreadsheet. Once in Excel, it’s very easy to run standard reports, which I found useful for evaluating what type of topics we produced and was published on sites other than our own was the most share-worthy. This provided me a solid, if not empirical, way to analyze topics that fuel media or blogger relations.
Individual clips have a feature for adding internal comments. For example, if there were more than one user on our account (there wasn’t), we’d be able to have a dialogue about a specific piece of content within the Primeloop application. I can see this being a valuable replacement for email, in for example, a crisis communications situation, or when flagging useful feedback on a product for sales, marketing or product management.
The one piece I did not find in the product is the way to email non-users. For example, I’d very much like to email my boss one link, where she could get a high-level view of recent mentions, without requiring her to have an account.
The basic plan for Primeloop costs $49 per month for two notebooks. It’ll cost $199 per month for up to 10 notebooks and the company provides custom pricing for larger brands. The company offers a 45-day free trial.
The pricing model is interesting, because especially in dynamic communications environment, it’s likely many customers would want multiple users, so that anyone could add mentions, or collaborate on existing mentions.
The company is currently operating on angel funding and is clearly in start-up mode. I think the tool is useful and the company has potential; you can find Primeloop on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
Note: Other than access to the tool, no compensation or incentives were provided for this review. The idea to review the tool was mine and was not the result of a PR pitch. This review represents my independent opinion based on my experience with the tool in a free trial. A company representative answered several questions I asked in preparation for writing this review.
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