Today is a sad day for many content marketers. The popular social media search, monitoring, and analysis program, Topsy, officially went offline. The free tool became popular with marketers as a way to research trending topics, plan content, and connect with influencers.
Many found out about the site’s demise after finding Topsy’s pages redirecting to an Apple support page, discussing iOS 9 search features. Topsy’s official Twitter account also released a tweet saying, “We’ve searched our last tweet.”
We’ve searched our last tweet.
— Topsy (@Topsy) December 16, 2015
Apple spent more than $200 million to purchase Topsy in late 2013. Up until today, the acquisition hadn’t done much to impact the site. It’s unclear what made Apple decide to shut down Topsy. It’s unclear what’s become of the company’s software and staff. That said, the redirect does suggest that some of Topsy’s technology may make its way into iOS 9.
What We Lost
Though Topsy did offer an enhanced “Pro” version, the free service provided a robust set of tools for discovering trending content and influencers. As an early Twitter data partner, Topsy maintained an index of all tweets ever in existence. Users could simply type in a keyword and set a date range to find related tweets, links, photos, videos, and influencers. This information was paired with a sentiment score and a graph of daily tweet volume.
For content marketers, Tospy was a great way to come up with content ideas and identify buzz-generating topics, making it an invaluable resource for fleshing out a content calendar. With some creative searching, it could also be used to pick out rising stories/media before they were picked up by major outlets. Finally, Topsy made it very easy to find and connect with thought leaders related to a given topic.
Topsy was a valuable combination of powerful and easy to use (and, of course, free). It was also a service that doesn’t come with an obvious replacement. As a result, we put together this list of five free tools that could serve as your new Topsy replacement.
#5 – I am on demand
I am on demand is a fairly bare-bones tool that searches a number of previously submitted blogs for user-defined keywords. It was created to help writers come up with new blog post ideas.
Pros: I am on demand is simple to use and doesn’t require any sort of registration. It offers a strong breakdown of post popularity by total number of shares, shares vs. site popularity, and shares by outlet. The tool allows you to sort posts by shares, popularity, and relevance and timeframes of 2 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months.
Cons: The main drawback of I am on demand is that it only indexes blog posts from submitted blogs. I found it has pretty good coverage of major blogs, but lacks many of the smaller blogs that can help you get ahead of a topic. It also lacks the any ability to search for images, videos, or influencers.
The Verdict: If you’re just looking to research and get some ideas for your blog, this is the place to do it. It doesn’t do a lot of things, but the things it does are done pretty well.
#4 – SocialMention
Social Mention is a service designed to track mentions of your brand across social media. Though it’s not exactly it’s intended purpose, you can also search keywords here to turn up relevant articles and information.
Pros: The interface is fairly Topsy-esque and it includes high level metrics like strength, sentiment, passion, and reach. SocialMention searches beyond Twitter, including results from Reddit, WordPress, and Ask.com. It also has a handy export feature that allows you to convert information into a csv file.
Cons: The biggest issue with SocialMention is that results are highly limited. Even a common term like “content marketing” only turned up a couple hundred mentions. Switching off of the default exact match search helps a bit, but not enough to make this a long-term solution.
The Verdict: SocialMention is better suited for brand management, but it can be a suitable (albeit short-term) Topsy replacement.
#3 – Twazzup
Like Topsy, Twazzup is a service designed for monitoring and analysis of Twitter. Unlike Topsy, it was designed to perform these functions exclusively in real-time.
Pros: Twazzup will feel familiar to Topsy users. Like Topsy, it allows users to search links, images, and influencers. Also like Topsy, influencer tweets can be separated from the others. Twazzup adds a tie in to Google News Alerts which provide a nice stream of additional content. Due to the emphasis on real-time, the dashboard is updated very rapidly.
Cons: The drawback to Twazzup’s focus on real-time is that there’s no ability to search historical data. This limits its functionality for research. There also seemed to be some issues with the photo search. Going through a few common terms, Twazzup didn’t return any photo results.
The Verdict: Twazzup excels with the current happenings. It can fulfill most of what you previously got with Topsy with the notable exception of long-term research and analysis.
#2 – Buzzsumo
Buzzsumo is a paid social monitoring tool that offers a free version (not unlike Topsy). It’s incredibly powerful, though much of its functionality is blocked off by a pay wall.
Pros: (The free version of) Buzzsumo allows you to search dates ranging from the past 24 hours to the past year. It incorporates data from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. You can sort results by total shares or shares from a specific channel and filter results by content type, domain, language, and country. There’s also a handy “Trending Now” feature where you can view top content from as recently as the past 2 hours.
Cons: Without buying the service, you can only see the top 10 or so results from each search. That said, with some creative use of filters and advanced search options, you can get more out of this than you think.
The Verdict: Though the free version is heavily restricted, it might be enough to fulfill your needs. If not, the paid version opens up a slew of additional features for a fairly reasonable price.
#1 – Twitter
That’s right, plain ol’ Twitter. The Twitter search feature has come a long way and, now, it can actually do much of what Topsy used to do.
Pros: Going through Twitter means getting data straight from the source, which is never a bad thing. It doesn’t get more up to date. Twitter offers in-depth search options, including searches by tweets, accounts (essentially influencers), photos, videos, and news. These searches can be paired with advanced filters like location, sentiment, language, and date range. Twitter has some of the best date range filters available, allowing you to search back several years and set ranges down to the day. Additionally, you can choose between searching everyone or just your own followers.
Cons: The only real drawback here is that, obviously, this search only contains data from Twitter, but that was the case with Topsy as well.
The Verdict: Unless you’re planning on paying for a social monitoring and analysis tool, Twitter itself is best tool for the job.