The science and the fiction of media effectiveness, as demonstrated at COP28


Sturgeon’s revelation is an adage conceived by the science fiction writer, Theodore Sturgeon. His assertion that ‘90% of everything is crud’ reminds us why we don’t measure volume of coverage when it comes to analysing media effectiveness.

Our recent work analysing media outcomes from COP28 demonstrated again how true this adage is in the sphere of media effectiveness. A very high percentage of online media coverage about COP achieved very little for the institutions that generated it. Only a handful succeeded in securing coverage that engaged a large size of media audience. Everything else sits in a long tail of coverage that, while it adds to the volume of coverage metric, is crud rather than valuable and influential content.

At Metricomm, we have no problem with media monitoring. It’s always a good idea to know what’s being written about your organisation or brand. However, we know there’s a lot of fiction about what constitutes good media evaluation. Big numbers that are used selectively to demonstrate success are often only a fairytale.  Spurious metrics including reach calculated by circulation, optimistic estimations of OTS and the committed counting of clippings perpetuate the measurement of crud and the fantasy. This leads to inaccurate insights and poorly informed decision-making.

We prefer to rely on science, which allows us to attribute outcomes to media coverage in a robust and repeatable way, rather than simply finding the largest numbers available.

  • Our methodology incorporates statistical analysis that allows us to show the impact of online media coverage on other audience behaviours, using independent data sets

  • We also look carefully at trends and patterns to determine when these effects can be confidently claimed. Media coverage doesn’t always equate to audience behaviour, but we can reveal when the two are inextricably linked by using time series data

  • Typically, we won’t accept levels of statistical significance lower than 99% and our aim is to demonstrate where, when and why there is less than a one in a million chance that the outcomes we’re reporting are due to anything except the media coverage

As the climate scientists know, it’s about having the right data. Otherwise, your analysis has shaky foundations and can’t move the needle on outcomes.

To learn more about how Metricomm can help you sift the gold dust from the crud, get in touch