A version of this post originally appeared in the April 30, 2020 issue with the email subject line "A matrix of coronavirus-era clichés" and an essay about how we talk about the COVID-19 crisis in our daily lives.

SparkToro review: Advanced analytics, strategic, cutting-edge, finely tuned, single-user and intuitive at the price of a steak dinner for 2

SparkToro is an audience research tool that combs social profiles and behaviors for similar digital media properties. Users can enter in a keyword, social profile, hashtag, or a website and receive YouTube channels, podcasts, similar websites, or other influencers that the audience might also like.

It’s digital media placement 101, without the super hefty fees that come with a ComScore or enterprise-level audience intelligence tool. It also goes deep — in my first few searches, keywords on very niche B2B topics turned up solid, relevant results.

Semantic data of social profiles has never been my thing; I’ve generally stuck to search data for the breadth and complexity it combines. In my experience, semantic and social network data has been very limited to high-level B2C results, and my B2B clients find few results worth mentioning, and the software is prohibitively expensive. (Note to software salespeople: Don’t only use giant national consumer brands as your demo client! Pick something B2B or local and not Adidas or Coca-Cola.)

Advantages of using SparkToro (versus another semantic social profile search tool):

  • Price point
  • Simple user interface with clear relevance measures — immediately glance if something is 7.2% relevant versus 0.2% relevant and understand the level of “confidence” in an audience
  • Podcast and YouTube channel data that unveils programming it would take hours of searching to find otherwise
  • Niche and B2B data on complex terms
  • Data is fully exportable on paid plans

I’m not a media buyer or an influencer manager, but SparkToro will be a great place to start content research for new client projects to get a sense of what an audience gravitates toward and understanding what else is out there.