Barry Leggetter, CEO of the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC), explores what earned media measurement will look like in 2018 and predicts what the year will bring for communicators.
Nine years ago, AMEC began the first global study of the media intelligence and insights business.
Let’s remind ourselves of the playing field. Back then, the “industry” was, with a few exceptions, dominated by hundreds of media monitoring firms, some also capable of offering measurement options.
Fast forward to 2018 and it is a different ballgame.
We have seen how in the last five years the investment community has recognised the “hidden gold” in the value of the business information that AMEC members were handling, resulting in fast industry consolidation and with more acquisitions still possible.
What the investors saw was value in the intelligence; value in the data, value in the consultancy positioning that all that offered.
We are now at the point where Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs) should be seen to be irrelevant pieces of crude “counting” by PR and communications professionals, now focused on data, how to interrogate it and how to use it in a smart way.
I have never known such a genuine excitement in data. Every business presentation I attend, data is the key agenda item. And who would want something as crude as AVEs when technology offers so much, including the Cision platform, to identify the right influencers; track their story; analyse reach and impact and from that determine what else needs to be done!
So in looking ahead at industry trends for 2018 here is what I think:
2018 will be the “Year of AI”, with its capacity to automate PR tasks but also in the way AI can be used to analyse and code data at scale.
2018 will see the continued decline of AVEs to a tipping-point beyond which AVEs will lose any remaining credibility. We have major markets still to win over, notably Latin America and Asia Pacific but we are on our way with new guidance such as the AMEC Integrated Evaluation Framework (IEF) to effectively end the debate.
I expect to see a continued drive towards measuring the contribution of comms to business outcomes – which with its focus on more sophisticated data points will highlight the need for even more data science skills.
And yes! I do think we will see at least one major new media intelligence deal happening, in order to provide a global footprint solution to clients.