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Evaluating the media: Media Evaluation Techniques (Part 2)

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

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Media Evaluation Techniques (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this discussion on media evaluation techniques there was a look at the processes involved in collecting the cuttings, creating a media list and using packages like MS Excel and MS Access to collate and sample the media coverage. 

Although this 2-parter is an exploration of media evaluation techniques, deciding on a strategy is no less important. To be clear on this it is necessary to set clear campaign or period PR objectives. These objectives need to be measurable; thereby enabling the evaluator to hang the relevant techniques off of these, and thereby addressing these goals.

One of the points to emphasise is the non-prescriptive nature of this advice. As is often said in media evaluation circles, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. To paraphrase Philip Sheldrake 'Every organisation is unique, generating unique exposure, demanding a unique set of evaluation metrics'.

Once the media list has been collated and the chosen fields queried the most interesting stage to an evaluation project can start. My chosen query tool is an Excel Pivot Table, in my experience one of the most flexible and little used tools in the entire MS Office suite.

After extracting a listing featuring all the needed fields from MS Access, (see Part 1) paste into a blank Excel sheet. Add an extra column at the far left titled 'Count' and fill it with '1's down to the last entry. This will be used to calculate volume figures. 

Then from the Insert tab on the top line select Pivot Table which will then create a new tab. 

The list of fields on the right should match the column on the your listing. The first thing to do is select a metric with which to generate results, which if you want to use volume is what the 'Count' column is for. Drag it to that box unless you want to use another metric like cumulative audience. Be aware that if selecting another metric make sure it says 'Sum of....'. If it says 'Count of...' click the drop down to the right of it and select Value Field Settings and select Sum.

Pivot tables are a very flexible tool and its worth spending time dragging the fields around between the boxes and seeing what the impact is on the grid on the left. It is quite hard to break a pivot table. When you start dragging values around and doing cross-references, it is tempting to add a column or alter the source listing in some way. That is fine but delete the pivot table tab and insert a new one as it won't recognise the changes made to the listing. 

The sort of useful results which can be generated using this tool is multiple cross-referencing of fields. For example, finding out how many proactive clips there are for different subject or product areas or tracked competitors. As long as it is on the listing you should be able to query it.

The next stage is to parse these results into some form of report or presentation. Though this might make good content for a later post it is likely you have a very particular application in mind. 

I hope you have found this of interest and I would welcome any comments or thoughts you might wish to share.  

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