Forrester Wave Social Listening Reports, 2006-2014: A Look Back at Vendor Performance

Forrester Research has just published its Enterprise Listening Platforms, Q1 2014 Forrester Wave report (free download), so it seems like a good time to look back at which vendors were included in this report since its inception in 2006, and at their performance. Here’s a chart summarizing that:

Forrester Wave Social Listening 2006-2014

A few observations:

  1. Vendors that have changed names due to acquisition have been represented just once:
    • Dow Jones acquired Factiva in 2006
    • J.D. Power & Associates acquired Umbria in 2008
    • Nielsen and McKinsey formed NM Incite in 2010
    • SDL aquired Alterian in 2012
    • For a complete view of the acquisition in the social listening space, please see Nathan Gilliat’s comprehensive list
  2. None of the vendors included in the first Wave made it to the current one. Six out of 23 vendors were included for 3 or more consecutive years.
  3. Oracle Social Cloud, Microsoft’s Netbreeze, and Adobe Social are not in the 2014 report. This will change next year, most likely
  4. In Wave’s seven year history, only two vendors who are not listening vendors made the report: Lithium Technologies (as a Contender in 2012) and Sprinklr (as a Leader, in 2014)
  5. Sprinklr’s strong entry in this year’s Wave could signal that engagement platform vendors are encroaching into listening vendors’ space
  6. In February 2013, Forrester analysts Nate Elliott and Zach Hofer-Shall made a bold prediction — that the social listening category will die in the next 18-24 months (original researchfree with registration here). For now, the last Wave includes the largest number of vendors so far (11). Let’s revisit this forecast in September 2014.
  7. The name of the report has changed over years; same happened with the analysts covering the space (naturally). Since Forrester doesn’t have  a page for the reports, here’s their list (a simple Google search should help you find a free-with-registration download for each report):