DD2197 Brandwatch social media listening tool

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
20 December 2017
Decision by: 
Currently Vacant, Assistant Director of Finance and Governance

Executive summary

Following a competitive procurement process in November 2017, the GLA would like to appoint Brandwatch as its social listening supplier from December 2017 to December 2020. Entering into a contract covering three years provides for good value for money.
Brandwatch will enable the GLA to understand better how much target audiences on social media know about GLA policies – and the extent to which they understand and what their perception is of those policies. This will help ensure the GLA’s content continues to be relevant so it can drive awareness and increase understanding and engagement with the Mayor and City Hall’s work. It will ensure that the GLA delivers a timely, effective and good service to Londoners across its communications channels.


That the Executive Director of Resources approves expenditure of up to £72,000, from 30 December 2017 to 30 December 2020 (£24,000 per year), on social media listening tool, Brandwatch, to assist in the effective management of the GLA’s suite of social media channels.


Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1.    Since March 2014, GLA Marketing and social media channel managers across the GLA have been using social media management software, Sprout Social, to assist with collaborative working and reporting across the GLA’s suite of official social media channels. 

1.2.    In addition, the GLA has been using Spike, a social media news engagement monitoring tool, since September 2016 to help identify the best performing news content and trending news stories amongst London’s social media users. This tool helps the GLA get a real-time view of the popularity of stories from major news websites on social media, which helps to improve the digital communications output the GLA offers to Londoners by finding breaking stories faster, understanding how news stories will perform and informing content planning.

1.3.    The GLA ran a competitive tender with three companies to meet its social media listening requirements and complement its other tools. Brandwatch’s comprehensive social listening will enable the GLA to better Brandwatch will enable the GLA to better understand how much its target audiences on social media understand about its policies and what their perception is of such policies. This will help to ensure the GLA’s content continues to be relevant so it can drive awareness, increase understanding and increase engagement with the Mayor and City Hall’s work.

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1.    The GLA aims to raise awareness, increase understanding and open up the ability for Londoners to access and influence the work of the GLA. To effectively meet its objectives, the GLA needs to be listening to what Londoners are saying about the work that it does. This will help to ensure its content continues to be relevant to Londoners. Brandwatch will enable the GLA to create meaningful dashboards and reports, highlighting key issues discussed on social media and overall sentiment. This information will help to inform the GLA’s digital communications strategy.


Equality comments

3.1.    The general duty to promote equality arising from the Equality Act 2010, which requires the Mayor to have due regard to the need to “encourage people who share protected characteristics (which there are nine; age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; and sexual orientation) to participate in public life or in other activity in which their participation is disproportionately low”. This sits alongside the Mayor’s duty, set out in the Greater London Authority Act 1999, to have regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity, eliminate unlawful discrimination and promote good relations between different minority groups.

3.2.    The construction of all GLA marketing and communications activity is to take into consideration the audience for which the activity is aimed at. In every case, materials are assessed to ensure they are fully accessible and in line with the public sector equality duty.

Other considerations

4.1.    Key risks and issues

The success of the GLA’s social media operation relies on collaborative working, prompt and helpful responses to Londoners and compelling and engaging content. The risk of not deploying Brandwatch is not having a clear picture of what Londoners think about the work of the GLA, which will hinder its ability to meet its objectives.

4.2    Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

External Affairs’ priorities in the GLA business plan 2015-17 include:
o    Deliver an effective and efficient public information service to support the Mayor’s and the GLA’s communication with Londoners (p71)
o    Deliver integrated marketing campaigns utilising both digital and traditional marketing assets, which allow the Authority to promote its work effectively and listen to Londoners’ opinions and concerns. (p72)
4.3    Impact assessments and consultations

A competitive procurement process has been carried out and Brandwatch meets the GLA’s social media listening requirements. Licencing of the tool for one year is cost prohibitive, however economies of scale can be achieved via a three-year contract, which offers good value for money. 


Financial comments

5.1.    The total cost of up to £72,000 for this 3-year contract (£24,000 per year) will be funded from the existing Marketing Programme budget held within the External Affairs Directorate. As the contract duration is from the 30 December 2017 to 30 December 2020, costs will span 4 financial-years from 2017-18 to 2020-21.


Planned delivery approach and next steps




Procurement of contract         

December 2017


December 2017

Delivery Start Date     

December 2017

Delivery End Date       

December 2020

Project Closure:

December 2020


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