William ComcowichWilliam Comcowich

Hiring a media monitoring and measurement service with experienced content analysts and data analytics professionals offers significant advantages over trying to do PR analysis with in-house staff.

In determining whether to use an outside service instead of in-house staff to perform PR measurement, it’s worthwhile to consider the major attributes that distinguish professional media monitoring and measurement services. Here are 13 of them:

More comprehensive and accurate media monitoring. Free media monitoring tools don’t nearly match the results produced by integrated media monitoring and analytics services. Professional services use highly specialized tools that monitor far more news sources, blogs and social media networks. In addition, they monitor with far greater depth than free tools. As a result, the services deliver more media mentions from both prominent and obscure media sources. Media monitoring services also ensure more accurate results by using advanced search queries, known as Boolean searches. The carefully designed queries omit irrelevant hits. This capability is especially important for companies with common names like “Orange,” the telecom company, and Lincoln.

Data analytics expertise. Like outside attorneys, accountants or payroll services your organization may hire, professionals at reputable social media listening and media measurement services have specialized skills and training. Because they work full time in measurement, their clients can be assured of first-rate and up-to-date analytics skills.

More time efficient. Overseeing news and social media monitoring and reviewing a large number of media mentions requires considerable time. With their special training, dedicated media analysis professionals can do the analysis faster than in-house PR staff. In addition, because in-house personnel feel the pressure of other urgent obligations, they often tend to put media analysis on the back burner in order to fulfill their other responsibilities. Media analysis often slips when it’s an in-house responsibility.

More objective analysis. In-house personnel may have a biased perspective that taints their analysis of media clips, especially on controversial issues or on clips resulting from a PR crisis. Media measurement professionals are positioned to deliver more objective analysis of media mentions about of the organization, its brands and services, its competition, and issues it faces.

Better staff productivity. The time that in-house staff devotes to analysis of media mentions takes away time from other strategic tasks that are best done in-house. Using outside measurement specialists frees in-house employees and the agency account team to focus on essential tasks that only they can perform because of their in-house experience and perspective.

First-rate technology. All media monitoring and measurement services have dedicated years creating advanced technology tools that offer comprehensive monitoring, integrated analytics and customizable dashboards with easy-to-use interfaces. The services compete with each other to introduce new features and analytics that clients want — and that better demonstrate the value of PR and other communications programs to clients and upper management. In-house systems such as Excel spreadsheets don’t provide comparable analytic power or ease-of-use.

Advanced metrics. As specialists in analytics, media intelligence services stay current on trends in metrics and measurement, which have changed enormously in recent years. By serving multiple organizations, the services get an inside look at the leading edge of PR and marketing measurement practices at major companies. They can then introduce those techniques to all clients. In-house staff are often unable to keep up with fast-changing measurement practices.

Integrated analytics. Media measurement services integrate results from all media — print, online, broadcast, social networks — into a single dashboard for easy viewing and analysis. Some even incorporate results from the organization’s owned media, including its corporate and brand websites. This integration offers better insights on media coverage than separate analysis of each media type.

Superior analytics. The online dashboards used by media measurement professionals provide more wide-ranging and in-depth analytics than in-house teams can generate with spreadsheets or other desktop tools. In addition, some services such as Glean.info enable customized metrics and analytics based on each customer’s specific business objectives. As a result, professional media measurement services typically offer more credible and practical insights on consumer sentiment, media coverage and communications campaigns.

Enterprise applications. With an online dashboard from a professional service, clients can easily share analytics with other departments across the organization. Clients can also easily segment results in order to share relevant data with product managers, country managers and others. That’s especially valuable since different managers in the organization want reports that focus on their specific responsibilities or territories.

Always available. The software as a service dashboards are always on and available through the so-called cloud. Staff from throughout the organization can access the service anywhere at any time and obtain comprehensive analytics reports with only a browser and an internet connection.

Many options. The number of media monitoring and measurement services has increased in recent years with many new ones primarily focused on social media analytics. That offers businesses, government agencies and nonprofits a wide range of options and prices. With the extensive number of choices, it’s important to vet media measurement services thoroughly and ask wide-ranging questions about their media measurement philosophies and capabilities before reaching a decision. Some vendors combine media monitoring and analytics with other services such as news release distribution and media lists in a PR version of the triple play. However, customers typically obtain better service and prices by purchasing services separately from different vendors.

Competitive costs. Many corporate decision-makers may think that it’s less expensive to have in-house employees handle media monitoring and measurement than to hire an outside service. In reality, paying outside experts usually offers a more cost-effective option because of lower development costs spread over many clients and because of day-to-day operating efficiencies.

Media monitoring and measurement professionals offer important advantages over conducting news monitoring, social media listening and media measurement in-house. Professional services offer objective analysis and specialized expertise that produce better insights and actionable recommendations based on business objectives. With their training and specialized skills, the experts deliver the full benefits of advanced media monitoring and measurement.


William J. Comcowich founded and served as CEO of CyberAlert LLC, the predecessor of Glean.info. He is currently interim CEO of Glean.info and member of its board of directors.