Five things to look out for in a media evaluation platform

Media evaluation platforms are now widely used. For clients, the potential benefits include the ability to ‘self-drive’, increased accuracy through the use of AI, and the flexibility to choose a pricing model that suits.

However, if your media evaluation platform is simply replicating and automating the traditional approach to media evaluation, chances are that you still won’t be getting value for money in terms of really understanding the business impact of media coverage.

Here are five things to look out for, so you can make planning and campaign decisions based on the right data:

1. Is the analysis based on volume of coverage achieved?

Any evaluation based on volume of coverage is likely to produce highly misleading results. Even if a platform uses sophisticated AI techniques, if it treats every piece of coverage as equal a piece read by 50 people will be deemed as influential as a piece read by 500,000 people. In terms of brand awareness and key message delivery, though, the actual size of audience reached will be vastly different.

2. Does the inbuilt AI require client input to train it?

AI-based systems rely on training data to teach the machine how to classify content. If the provider needs you to tell them what they should be looking for, you will only obtain analysis based on your internal view of the world. Modern audiences are complex, nuanced and often don’t conform to traditional brand segmentation models. So, to reduce the risk of unwelcome surprises, you need a media evaluation system that doesn’t rely on you defining the outcomes in advance.

3. Can the platform compare media outcomes with independent data sets?

Correlation is not causation and simply looking at trendlines on a graph does not prove that one thing influences another. Ensure your supplier is using sophisticated statistical analysis, which combined with independent data sets such as Google search trends, website visitors, sales revenue, share price or other marketing data, now enables the true power of media coverage in shaping not only reputation, but also audience reaction and behaviour to be understood.

4. Does it really provide actionable data?

If the platform only presents a ‘done and dusted’ view of what happened after the event, it won’t add much value to future campaign planning. The analysis needs to address important questions about which specific pieces of coverage ‘moved the dial’, why they were successful and what you can do to replicate or improve on those results.

5. Was it created by techies, or experts with deep experience of how communication works and understanding of the pros and cons of traditional media analysis techniques?

No disrespect to those who know how to build a trainable platform and an attractive user interface. Back to point 1, however, if the ‘data in’ is based on boiling the ocean of media coverage, with all the flotsam and jetsam that contains, any number of slick reports will only give you the same inaccurate picture you always had from counting pieces of coverage as your starting point. To achieve better insights and more accuracy, focus on the coverage that engages the audience and changes behaviour (see point 3).