A 2016 PRSA Branding Study reported that 62% of respondents found their PR responsibilities have shifted to include measurement and evaluation in the past five years. Media Intelligence is becoming increasingly crucial to high-performing communications teams – but how accurate is this reporting?
The reality is that many PR/communications teams today remain in the Dark Ages when it comes to performance measurement and, unfortunately, most CCOs don’t realize they have bad data until it’s too late.
In this blog, we’ll explore what it really means to have accurate data and, more importantly, how the accuracy of the data you start with affects objectives you track and the outcomes you present to your board of directors.
Common Roadblocks with Media Monitoring
Typical media monitoring tools are, at best, only 80% accurate. Most vendors have an out-of-the-box approach to data collection that centers only on keyword tracking, and that yields many problems.
Analyzing Irrelevant Information
Most media analysis tools provide counts of keyword mentions and overall tone which is not insightful. Brands need to accurately report on media mentions as there is strong potential that a significant number of those mentions are stock quotes or auto-published press releases on spam sites.
Additionally, mentions of product or company names may appear in counts, even when they have no meaning to the business. For example, impression counts might include the use of “sprint” as a verb even though the PR team is looking to track references to Sprint, the telecommunications company. Or they might include a news article that refers to an employee who once worked for the company. Automated tools don’t catch these things, and this can really skew your metrics.
Missing Out On Valuable Information
To filter out irrelevant articles or mentions, Boolean or smart technologies are used to narrow down keyword results, but this also yields inaccuracies because what if you accidentally filter something out that is important?
Poor Sentiment Identification
Although technology has come a long way, media monitoring systems still have a difficult time understanding human emotions like sarcasm. What if your brand is mentioned in a publication such as The Onion? Most tools could never analyze the real tone of that article. They also can’t catch if your company is wrongly named – think Equifax and Experian in the recent data breach crisis. Because there are only three major credit bureaus, Experian is often mentioned in articles about Equifax that are negatively toned.
Misinterpreting sarcasm and catching false mentions are just some of the many downfalls of automated solutions. Overall, automated sentiment analysis is widely considered to only be 60% to 80% correct. For example, a pharmaceutical company that produces cancer treatments found that their automated media intelligence solution marked all mentions of the word cancer in articles as “negative.” Adding the element of professional human analysis to your media monitoring can help avoid potential pitfalls like these.
Lack of Context
Automated monitoring systems give every mention the same weight. Yet, a reference in the Wall Street Journal or by influencers in the company’s niche that can amplify content they care about, can mean more than a remark in the a local media outlet.
Locating Non-Keyword Concepts
Automated tools can’t analyze concepts in your media intelligence reports that don’t show up in a keyword search. High-level concepts like “brand quality,” “thought leadership” or “workplace experience” are critical for building strategic plans and measuring goals. Yet these terms are rarely stated explicitly in written text and can only be recognized by a person who has read the article.
Emphasis on Outputs Not Outcomes
Automated technologies that many PR teams use to monitor media coverage track KPIs—such as reach and impressions—that quantify outputs, not outcomes. To be taken seriously by leadership, PR/communications teams must track metrics that are accurate and meaningful to business performance.
What Can Two-Pronged Media Intelligence Do for CCOs?
A two-pronged approach to data collection and analysis helps CCOs answer high-level questions focused on custom strategic outcomes. Confidence in what you are presenting to your C-Suite or board of directors is critical – you must trust that the data that your team is sourcing is A) accurate B) being analyzed in a meaningful way that you can tie to your objectives.
By combining technology with human analysis, organizations can benefit from accurate data and actionable analytics surrounding outcome-based metrics. Only then, can you move from simply monitoring output to strategically accomplishing objectives such as the following, accurately and confidently:
- Increase thought leadership among your key audiences and regions
- Identify opportunities for media coverage that your competitors do not already dominate
- Determine key subtopics that are impacting your reputation
- Confirm that your messaging is accurately reaching your target audience as intended
Contact PublicRelay to find out how our media intelligence accuracy and human analysis sets us apart and can help you make data-driven decisions.