Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Online PR goes intangible


The current theme to this blog is contrasting the differences between measuring conventional and new media. The debate continues on the metrics used to measure online media with the growing rejection of the current default page view model. New methods of page processing mean that often people do not move from their original entry page – only the content before them changes. MySpace and YouTube are obvious examples of these types of site.

Where is the relevance of this to PR? The growing importance on online media means it will feature as an ever expanding element of PR’s output and needs to be effectively measured. As mentioned it was done by page views often derived from a sample of webusers. However web communities are often small and highly specialised meaning they are not accurately represented in a sample.

Jeff Jarvis wrote at the start of the week in The Guardian that the advertising industry is trying to find a replacement which can accurately portray viewing habits. One suggestion is to consider the audience fragmentation as an opportunity to track quality over quantity; for instance what were the step-through pages which lead to a sale?

The measurement of conventional media has possibly left us with the feeling that we must put a specific value on our output. For example, to say we achieved X hundred thousand viewers and readers. Instead (and in the absence of good online metrics) we should consider what proportion of our media coverage featured a key message and in what ways we can measure the positive impact of this messages use, be it through sales, share price or future PR/marketing opportunities. That could all be before considering the impact within your online community where the impact could be measured though mentions on blogs.

Coverage online are intangible assets and interpreting their impact will require experience and skill, qualities which PR has and can capitalise on.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

2007 Predictions


While the groundhog only tries to predict the next few weeks weather we have tried to offer some views on the future for PR and measurement in the year ahead and beyond. As these are only our personal views it comes with a big health warning!

While people appreciate data and your interpretation of it, what unquestionably they like are predictions.

If you are in the game of picking shares, your choices can come back and haunt you. If you work in the area of communications, (well…the research side) making predictions can be just as fraught.

The following is a selection of ideas which are more fully expanded upon in a PDF document on our website. We would welcome comments, including criticisms where you think we have got it wrong.

Our predictions were helped following a recent event at the CIPR where Larry Weber, formally of Weber Shandwick, spoke about the tipping point that will come in about 18 months time. At that point online media will overtake traditional media. He spoke about what is often referred to as Web 2.0 and the reinvention of the role of communications.

There are massive implications for media research, which has traditionally measured media output. We believe this could result in the marginalisation of OTS and AVE metrics and their replacement with a new set of media out take measures, moving PR one crucial step closer to public outcome.

New possibilities abound in the guise of automated media favourability and message usage programs, although we believe they are nowhere near accurate enough to use.

Finally, we offer some thoughts on the new rules of the online media game and specifically astroturfing and ghosting.

Take a look at the full report here.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Predicting the future


In character with the time of year it felt right to offer a few thoughts on the future of PR and evaluation. Frankly I would have been wasting my time had it not been for an event I went to hosted by the CIPR last month which featured among others Larry Weber (late of Weber Shandwick and now Racepoint) talking about the impact of online usage to the discipline.

I will be completing this paper in the next few days, as time allows, and will be posting it to our main website and sending around a synopsis to the opted-in mail list. If interested sign up on the site. Happy New Year.