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Evaluating the media: February 2010

PR geekiness - the tools & techniques to gain insights from PR exposure

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Is Google about to revolutionise media monitoring?

I recently read an interesting article by Marshall Sponder about the possibility of Google entering the social media monitoring space. He concludes that they would not need to buy-in any skills as they have more data than anyone else and plenty of expertise to construct a really powerful (free) product.

For example, they are quite good a finding stuff and they have Google Alerts/Analytics to organise the items and loads of data on visitors to create a far better picture of usage. They also have the really cool Motion Charts widget which can bring those media usage graphs into brilliant life.

Would this be a good thing? Possibly not for the existing vendors, although it will add legitimacy to the sector, they will need to add more features and develop niche offerings. But I think it would be excellent news for PR, and here's why.

PR has been struggling to find the right metrics for measurement. Google can tell people all about their online media consumption habits. They might struggle to measure consumer behaviour, but their effort will be far better than anything previous. I really think this could be PR's missing link. All of sudden there will be a common currency for success; interchangeable and comparable....something for the non-PR bosses to get their heads around.

So what will it look like. I can't see it containing sentiment measures or messaging; I think this will remain the preserve of the other vendors. I think it will take the form of a reputation management widget/dashboard with start/end dates, monitored activity, comparisons, using metrics culled from searches undertaken and browser activity. I am pretty sure it will happen, just no too sure when.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Just emptied the bath...arhh where's the baby gone?

I like a lot of stuff included in the COI's Standardisation of PR Evaluation Metrics document. In particularly I like the idea of the cost per reader/listener/viewer and how this takes the value of the campaign and divides it by the number of thousand audience. A nice clean revenue to return comparison which with widespread adoption and best practice could become one of the preferred forms of PR measurement. My only possible concern is that it will involve a degree of budgetary disclose which some may be uncomfortable with.

However my big headache is with 'Reach', or as it also seems to get called 'Impact'. Now I might be just being a bit slow but it makes reference to this being as a proportion of target audience, ie how many people reached within a certain target audience. Take an example. My target audience is pregnant women in Newcastle. I choose the wrong day to run my story and only get one item in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle. I can't find on their site how many pregnant reader they have; though it might be privileged information...

This is my problem with target audiences. They are a wonderful concept but I can't see how you can get them unless you undertake expensive MR. I admit I don't know very much about TGI but I suspect they won't be able to tell me much about pregnant women's reading habits in Newcastle!

Hence the title of this post- evaluation techniques are evolving and whilst many measures are flawed they have currency for their legacy. The COI document refers to a candid approach to methodology. If people are expected to adopt new techniques it needs to be clearly communicated, its worth explained, along with the processes and sources required.