Posts filed under ‘Media analysis & monitoring’
The extent of influence of media coverage on public opinion is a hotly debated topic. For communication professionals, their intepretation of how influential the media is can influence how much effort they put into media relations compared to other activities. Here is an interesting case study (pdf) that shows the link between media coverage and company reputation (or more precisely people’s opinion of a company).
The case study (Winner of the 2011 Jack Felton Golden Ruler Award for excellence in research, measurement and evaluation), is on Toyota and “uses a mathematical model of the impact of persuasive information on opinion formation to show how Toyota’s corporate reputation, as measured by surveys, can be directly predicted by document sentiment (i.e. media coverage)”.
The study also makes comes to some interesting findings that have implications for wider media relations and monitoring:
- Information favorable to Toyota is about twice as persuasive as unfavorable information.
- Blogs appear to be a leading indicator of negative issues, yet have limited impact on Toyota’s corporate reputation at the national level.
- The research suggests that any representative sample of media outlets can be used to gauge opinion, and that automated sentiment scoring is sufficient.
The study concludes with some implications for communication practice in general:
“Quite simply, the model demonstrates that media relations works. Persuasive information in the media drives opinion formation. The model is truly predictive – not just a correlation – in the sense that this week’s media results are used to reliably predict next week’s corporate brand reputation”
For those interested to learn more about the debate on if – or should – we put a montary value on media coverage – here is an excellent article from Carl Bialik, “the numbers guy” at the WSJ. His blog post on the same subject also provides more insights.
As he points outs, a recent study (pdf) indicates that editorial/media coverage is not necessarily more valuable to the reader than a paid ad – which is the crutch that all media evaluation costing rests upon…
Which media gets most our attention and is important to us? This was the question asked recently in a study(pdf) undertaken by the UK Ofcom (UK regulator/authority).
The graph above (click on it to see it better), taken from this report shows that the media that gets most of the attention and is important to us (based on UK audiences) is:
- mobile calls
- mobile texting/mobile video/print media
Those that get the least attention and are less important are:
- recorded TV programmes
Interestingly, social media (mobile) sits in the middle and TV gaming (e.g. Playstation, nintendo, Xbox) gets high attention but is of low importance (witness any teenager “glued” to these games and you know the score…).
So the death of email is still far off it seems…as is print media although we might have our doubts on both of these… and poor radio, it is a survivor!
It also indicates that most of the media that are important and grab our attention are interpersonal media – and not mass media – the only exception being the print media – which is a surprise. Then again, the “print” internet (news websites) is missing from the chart (as is social networking-internet) and I’d guess that would be situated close to print media.
The UK government’s Central Office of Information (yes, I know it’s rather Orwellian sounding…) has produced a set of metrics for measuring PR campaigns: “Standardisation of PR Evaluation Metrics” (pdf).
Frankly, they are disappointing. The title is deceiving, it should be called “Standardisation of media monitoring metrics”. As that all the document covers – the superficial stuff – “reach”, “Favourability of coverage”, etc. These are “outputs” of PR activities.
But what about metrics for measuring “outcomes”? These don’t get a mention. Well there is an admission but you have to dig deep, they do say:
“It is worth bearing in mind that these standardised core metrics for media evaluation are only one component of any campaign evaluation. It is crucial to agree specific key performance indicators (KPIs) at the outset of a campaign.”
So they admit it, these are metrics for media coverage only. And no guidance is given on these KPIs (that are typically “outcome” level). If you are interested in learning more about metrics for “outcomes”, I’d recommend you start with the excellent guide from the Institute of PR: “Guidelines and Standards for Measuring the Effectiveness of PR Programs and Activities” (pdf).
The Institute for Public Relations has published a new research paper explaining a new media measurement concept called “Weighted Media Cost”. But is this anything new – or simply the dreaded Ad Value Equivalent (AVE) in disguise – a wolf in sheep’s clothes? PR measurement guru KD Paine certainly thinks so.
I think that any measurement based on media space generated by PR efforts is bound to be flawed and increasingly illrelevant. Why?
- Generating media space is rapidly loosing importance as a PR objective – particularly with the growth of other ways that people can obtain information. These measurements typically look at print media – which is a media with a declining readership base
- Measuring how much media space was generated takes the focus away from the more important objectives to measure – what did PR efforts actually change in terms of knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of target audiences. That’s harder to do, but it’s worth the effort…!
Here is an interesting case study from the Institute for PUblic Relations.
The case study (pdf) looks how a financial company used media measurement and content analysis to gauge impact on its brand, reputation and risk.
View the case study (pdf)>>
Following from my post about AVE’s and twittering in conference sessions earlier this week, it seems that some of the twitterers were not just against AVEs, but also against anyone defending them.
My point is how can you hear the argument if you are up to you neck in negative twitters – not just with other people in the room, but the rest of the world too? Also, be careful. Libel lawyers also subscribe to Twitter.
Basically, the presentation was:
a) Asked how many people in the room us AVE’s — almost everyone raised their hands
b) Given that it is a wide-spread practice, here are some ideas about how to use and not use them:
- no multipliers unless verified
- adjust for quality of placement
- possible use as a predictor of sales based on some recent experimental modeling work
- don’t call it the value of PR, call it what it is — comparable cost of buying the space as advertising, a cost that may be the perceived minimum value to the advertiser as a contribution to their business. This assumes the market for advertising is one that functions as an effective market with complete information (ie negotiated rates, not ratecard).
The presentation neither endorsed nor deplored the use of AVE’s, but instead recognized that its use is widespread. There may be reasons to use that approach, and if one does use it here are some do’s and don’ts…. (get the presentation by emailing David.Rockland@ketchum.com)
Monitoring of the media often involves assessing the “tone” of a media item – is it positive, negative or neutral on a given subject? This is often done manually and many of the large media monitoring services do this but it is a paid service not readily available to many.
Now there is a tool available to all to assess the “tone” of a media item (written):
This is what David Phillips of the LeverWealth blog had to say about it:
“This kind of development is useful for analysing sentiment of news articles, blogs and other content, which is its primary purpose but it also has applications in evaluating style and and bias all of which are very useful to the PR industry, regulators and watchers of political sentinemt on and off line.”
Can we show a link between media coverage and desired business outcomes? A new study (pdf) from the US-based Institute for Public Relations has some interesting case studies that in several instances illustrate corresponding trends between increased media coverage and a desired business outcome occurring.
For example, they speak of a campaign on the importance of mammograms with the desired business outcome being an increase in the number of relevant medical procedures undertaken. Looking at the number of articles published on the issue and comparing it to the number of medical procedures, a correlation seems to exist. This can be seen in the above graph which shows in blue the number of press articles on the issues and in red the number of medical procedures undertaken (over 2 years in the US).
The authors of the study readily admit that they are making a jump in assuming “cause and effect” but what they are looking for is a “preponderance of evidence” that supports a correlation between media coverage and business outcomes.
What I find interesting is the jump from an output measure (clips) to a business outcome. Further, that they were able to find communication campaigns where a clear link was made between communication objectives and business objectives – as often there is a large gap between these two elements.
Read the full study “Exploring the Link Between Volume of Media Coverage and Business Outcomes”(pdf) By Angela Jeffrey, APR, Dr. David Michaelson, and Dr. Don W. Stacks