The power of media monitoring

• 12 minute read
Media Monitoring
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Media monitoring enables organizations to collect large quantities of data that allow for the evaluation of their communications strategy.

By monitoring postings consistently, companies can manage their on- and offline reputation and respond to customer complaints or questions. Additionally, media monitoring can deliver valuable new insights regarding target groups, products and services. Not only social media channels deliver such insights, but also the monitoring of newspapers, radio and TV. But what exactly is media monitoring and how do you get off to a flying start?

In this whitepaper we discuss all the ins and outs so you can achieve the best results.

Define clear objectives

To make sure that you get the most out of media monitoring it is very important that communication professionals define clear objectives before they start. What kind of results do you want to achieve with your media monitoring? It is advisable to discuss this with colleagues from different departments such as corporate communication, spokespersons, marketing, customer services and your senior management. Do you only want to know what is happening or do you want to actively respond to questions and issues? How do you manage crisis situations? Are you purely using monitoring to gain insights on your customers or brand, or do you want to go in-depth with analyses of trends and target groups?

There are many different options and it might be good to run through them all before getting started. With the answers you can define concrete Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and goals, to ensure that your monitoring activities and analyses will contribute to a better performance of your company.

Monitoring your brand reputation
Many companies use media monitoring to gain insights into what is being said about their brand. By consistently monitoring your reputation you can keep everyone in the company up to date on current issues and evaluate whether objectives are met or not. That might concern postings on Twitter, but also a radio interview or a lengthy newspaper article. Through real-time reports you can get a grasp on where conversations happen and what the reach and media value is of this on- or offline content. Nowadays your brand’s reputation is not only determined by some direct stakeholders, but also by a much larger group of fans, consumers, critics, clients, influentials, politicians and bloggers. Monitoring online, social, radio, television and print sources enables you to know exactly where your organization sits on the web. The advantage of some media monitoring tools (like Spotler Engage’s Media Monitor) is that the consumer’s sentiments are directly considered as well. When a consumer posts a complaint on Facebook negative sentiment will be added to it. On the basis of these insights you can explore the average sentiment of your brand, which assists you to follow your reputation closely and steer it towards the desired outcome.

Monitoring trends and volume
Consistent monitoring of large volumes and comparing it over a longer period of time allows you to see how trends develop. There might be peaks in volume when you send out a press release or when your company appears on national television.

By analysing these peaks you can explore what kind of news articles or initiatives cause significant ‘buzz’ and which kind of messages might not really work. Of course you can also benchmark different brands and projects at once. This will enable you to find out what project had significant impact and how your competitors perform compared to your own communication strategy.

By analysing historic trends you can also try to predict future market or consumer behavior. Through a deep dive analysis you can see what topics are trending in your market, and thus allows you to adapt your strategy accordingly. Analysing public data presents you with a relatively cheap and reliable way to see evolve the public opinion about your brand and your competitors.

Monitoring competitors
Media monitoring makes it very easy to compare your brand’s numbers with those of competitors. You can pick a few of the competing brands to take a closer look: who was most active in the past quarter and who was discussed the most? Do not only consider the volumes, but also try to benchmark the potential reached audience. The impact of an article on a small local website is of course much less than an article in a national newspaper. Furthermore, you can also see exactly how the competition is perceived which can help you to adapt your strategy successfully. Do you see that a customer’s product causes negative sentiment? Use it to promote your own similar product in a positive way.

Monitoring target groups and stakeholders
A good way to monitor what topics are important for your target groups and stakeholders is combining active online customer support with media monitoring. Through social media you can get in-depth insights into what’s happening among your target group. This will help you find out what questions or complaints customers might have, so you can prepare the right response and service. In addition you can also monitor trending topics of course. This will empower you to respond in the appropriate way to topics that are important for your target group and stakeholders.

Do you want to know which people have a lot of impact on your brand or your market? You might want to monitor a list with influential people. These might include journalists who keep an eye on your organization, but also celebrities or famous bloggers. In many monitoring tools you can easily see which posts are influential or generate the most reach.

Monitoring events and crisis situations
An important reason to monitor media is to measure the impact of an event or situation. You cannot only see how often a topic is mentioned, but also predict how much media attention is still to come. Indeed there have been several occasions when an organization only found out afterwards that they could have prevented further escalation through monitoring when the damage was already done. Media monitoring is very helpful in times of crisis, although this does of course require more than simply passive monitoring.

A good internal structure with direct links to spokespersons and the customer service department is a must to respond accordingly. Many larger organizations have a special crisis communication team working together with the monitoring, spokesperson, and customer service departments. An advantage of media monitoring can be that you get alerts when the volume increases quickly or when an influential person posts a message about your brand. In this way you know right away if you need to take action and if so, you can also do it immediately.

Moreover, you can also start your media monitoring beforehand during a press event or product launch. This enables you to proactively monitor how the media discusses your event. You can collect all the relevant postings in a report to use afterwards, but you can also show these postings in a narrowcast to all attendees of the event. In such a narrowcast all postings about the event are shown real-time, such as the latest tweets or Instagram posts. This informs attendees about the latest updates but it might also encourage attendees to post their views on social media as well. Besides, such a narrowcast could also work next to the coffee machine or at another central location in your office.

The future of Media Monitoring

Geert Vos and Joost de Wit (founders Media Distillery) on the current situation and their expectations for media monitoring.

Current situation image recognition
With Media Distillery’s current image recognition techniques subtitles can be added and logos can be recognized automatically. The expectation is that it will also be possible to identify individuals in the near future. Consequently you might get a notification if the CEO of Shell or the Prime Minister is on TV

Why companies want to monitor video content
The impact of radio and TV content is still immense. A highly rated program could easily reach more than two million viewers. Companies need to know when they are mentioned in real-time, so they can act immediately.

Predictions for image recognition in 2020
It is hard to predict the future, but developments are going very fast right now. There is a lot of research on automatic recognition of objects (‘this is a tree and that is a cat’), organizations (‘that is the T-Mobile logo’), individuals (‘that is President Obama’s face’) and actions (‘running’, ‘sitting’, …). In five years from now these recognition techniques will have improved greatly and it can be used for all kinds of purposes.

Searching all YouTube-content
Technically it is already be possible to search all YouTube content, but the costs for that are quite high. In five years from now the computing power to do that will be much cheaper, opening up a whole new realm of possibilities.

What can you monitor in 2020 as an organization?
In 2020 we will monitor popular online video channels of newssites like, Telegraaf TV and YouTube channels. By then we will also be able to tell you if you are mentioned or if your logo, CEO, or headquarters are being shown.

This is a passage from the book Online Reputatiemanagement (2016), written by Buzzcapture founder Alex van Leeuwen.

Determine a monitoring window

When you have clearly set your goals and defined the KPIs, it’s time to determine your monitoring window. Try looking at your own organization first: do you work in a large organization or multinational? Then it might prove a logical decision to monitor 24/7. That will guarantee that you are always in touch with the latest news and developments. If you work in a smaller organization you might only be monitoring one project. In that case, you can choose to only monitor once a day or week, or even by choosing for monthly or quarterly intervals.

Obviously, you cannot monitor all channels 24/7. Nonetheless, your organization might be in the news at any time of the day. By setting up alerts via email or text message you can make sure that you never miss any important messages. For instance when the volume suddenly peaks or when a celebrity discusses your brand in a TV broadcast. You can receive a text message alert should that happen, and immediately take measures if necessary.

Figure out how you want to monitor

Some companies have been monitoring (social) media for a longer time and have by now started using multiple tools. It might be a good idea to check if all these tools still do what you expect them to do, and if it isn’t easier to just choose one integrated solution. You might for instance be using a different tool for monitoring radio and TV than you do for monitoring social media content or print articles. Some tools (like Spotler Engage) offer one integrated solution to monitor all different channels effectively. That means you no longer have to switch between tools, and you can view online media, newspapers, magazines, TV and radio all in the same place. Using the dynamic reporting tool you can combine the different insights from all platforms and easily share them with your colleagues or management. In that way you have a clear overview of all the important information, which could of course also be limited to just online or social media content.

Draft (social) media guidelines

When all objectives have been defined, all employees are informed and the tool has been set up you would think you are ready to go. That’s when it happens: a negative message is posted about your own brand or organization. What do you do and who should deal with it? At this stage, it’s important to have a consistent message and a clear plan for who does what and in which way. If you have specific media guidelines, your employees should know what is up and how they must react on a negative (or even a positive) posting. Also include practical details in your guidelines such as who reports to whom to make sure a specific issue is resolved. The earlier the right person inside your organization knows, the more time you have to come to the right solution.

Advantages of Media Monitoring with Spotler Engage

  • One integrated solution for online & offline media, radio and TV
  • Both national and international media
  • See which relevant topics there are
  • Daily news update via email
  • Manual and automatic sentiment analysis
  • Integrated measures for ROI & media value
  • Create dynamic reports
  • Integrated customer service application

“Media monitoring plays an increasingly larger role in our (communication) strategy. Currently we are in a phase where we do not only listen to customer feedback and respond to it, but also where social media becomes a major ingredient of our media campaigns.” – GERBEN VAN DEN HURK, CARGLASS

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