Why governing bodies should use media monitoring and analysis

There has been some debate and backlash surrounding the use of media monitoring and analysis by government agencies. But why do government departments and agencies really use services like this?

Traditionally, the purpose of governmental media monitoring and analysis is to analyze who is saying what, where, and which key messages have the most influence on public opinion. This data alone can be an integral part of any government communications plan, but there are other ways these departments can leverage media monitoring services and the data that’s generated.

Issues management

Issues-based monitoring and analysis can help government bodies pinpoint which specific issues should be prioritized according to public opinion. Who is saying what? Where? What key message or issue is repeatedly covered in media or by social media users?

Global Finacial Business Meeting and PlanningThis type of monitoring and analysis can help strategize future communications regarding the issue by identifying who is talking about it and what they’re saying. This allows communication departments to tailor messaging that’s both compelling and informative to the public. Using archived media data, government bodies can also study similar issues in the past and draw insights for future communications plans.

Using media monitoring and analysis, government bodies can analyze how different regions perceive and discuss various topics which can, in turn, help uncover issues that may have not been previously known to the department.

Reputation management

Government bodies can implement a media monitoring and analysis strategy to manage their reputation and how they’re perceived. Media monitoring and analysis can help identify which key influencers are talking about the department, what they’re saying, and the general reception of their message.

This information can identify which journalists and bloggers are positively aligned with government values and messaging, and who is most likely to advocate for them. Government bodies can also identify their largest critics, and allow them to address key points and opinions.

Using media monitoring for reputation management can also ensure that the media is maintaining the integrity of a message. Is the intended message getting through to the public? or is it being misinterpreted? Media monitoring allows communications plans to be altered during a campaign to ensure the messaging is as clear and concise as possible.

Lastly, media monitoring and analysis can be used to measure the impact and perception of a message and evaluate the effectiveness of communications plans and campaigns. Government bodies can use the collected information to improve publicly funded programs by analyzing both positive and negative reception to government messaging. This crucial feedback can provide the basis for important infrastructure and policy changes, such as building a new community centre, or making sure that existing public buildings are universally accessible.

Risk management

Using media monitoring and analysis for risk management also allows government departments to create strategies surrounding potential risks.

Uniquely, media monitoring and analysis can also help manage the risk associated with using specific vendors. By gathering and analyzing content and coverage surrounding suppliers, it’s possible to establish if the vendor is someone worth working with, or if their reputation could be a potential risk.

A media analyst can compile all of the data about a specific vendor and provide a snapshot of its history, important coverage, and whether or not they are seen favourably based on media data. This information is incredibly important to government bodies as it allows them to minimize the risk associated with finding and employing new contractors and vendors.

Analysis of media coverage can also help identify new and potentially devastating risks in combination with analysis of other data points. This information allows government bodies to scale potential risks based on how likely they are to become a problem: Is it an immediate threat? Could it be a threat in the near future?

Future planning

Lastly, government bodies can take all of the acquired information and aggregated data from implementing media monitoring and analysis and use it to create informed strategies and budgets for the next fiscal year.

The data provided by media monitoring can stand as a rationale for government decisions moving forward, and any new data can be used to implement more informed communications strategies. Both government agencies and citizens alike can benefit from the insights media monitoring and analysis provides.

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Why science coverage gets on some scientists’ nerves

Science!Attention science journalists and editors: You’re being called out by your sources.

Nearly 80 per cent of American scientists say the superficial nature of media coverage on scientific studies is a major problem for the scientific community’s communications efforts, according to the Pew Research Center’s latest study.

The scientific community’s biggest beef with media coverage is that “news reports don’t distinguish between well-founded and not well-founded scientific findings.”

Kind of makes you wonder about a study released today on the Black Death, which suggests that the devastating plague that first appeared in Europe in the 14th century was caused by gerbils instead of rats.

Although this study’s conclusion is still very much in doubt, you would never know that from the news headlines of the day:

You dirty rat! Turns out gerbils were responsible for the Black Death (The Guardian)

After 8 centuries, rats exonerated in spread of Black Death (Washington Post)

‘Gerbils replace rats’ as main cause of Black Death (BBC)

The BBC article goes on to say that “If the genetic material shows a large amount of variation, it would suggest the team’s theory is correct.” Which is certainly not what the headline infers (of course, it’s not just about science journalists — editors and headline writers all have a part to play here, as well).

Indeed, it’s these kind of simplifications of complex studies requiring further testing that seems to really irk scientists dealing with the media: A further 52 per cent of the community said that the “simplification” of scientific findings is another major problem in terms of communicating those findings to the public.

The Pew report went on to say that while scientists do get annoyed with sometimes superficial coverage, they still value the media tremendously: 43 per cent said it’s important for scientists to get coverage in the news media.

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#cdnpoli: Eve Adams, John Baird dominate in the new year


Big moves have made John Baird and Eve Adams the talk of #cdnlpoli so far during 2015

2015 was already earmarked to be a big one for Canadian politics. But I don’t think anyone expected so much to happen so early in the year, let alone in the first week and a half of February.

Between Eve Adams defecting from the Conservatives to the Liberals, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird resigning and the Supreme Courts’ assisted suicide ruling, the hashtag #cdnpoli has gotten plenty of traction so far this year.

The biggest day of news came on February 9, which you can see on the chart below.

That morning, Eve Adams dropped the bombshell that she was crossing the floor to the Liberals. Later the same day Prime Minister Stephen Harper shuffled his cabinet, moving former Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to Defence and former Defence Minister Rob Nicholson into the recently vacated Foreign Affairs spot.


Since the announcement came late in the evening on February 2, you can see most of the related spike came the next day.

The news that Baird would step down was also the source of the most retweeted tweet for the period, from CBC Politics, which is below.

The next most retweeted tweet related to the Supreme Court partially striking down the assisted suicide law, also from CBC (below). The announcement came on February 6, which was also the day with the third highest tweet volume.

The next highest day was January 28, driven by Bell Let’s Talk Day and the hashtag #bellletstalk.

There was also plenty of chatter about Keystone XL, especially from Greenpeace’s Mike Hudema, who was again the top influencer by total retweets for #cdnpoli.


In fact, the top influencers for the period looks very similar to our previous lists, including users Bergg99 and Stephen Lautens.

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Twitter Reacts to the Demise of Sun News Network

Two months shy of its fourth birthday, the Sun News Network went dark on Friday the 13th of February.

Regardless of whether you saw the network as right-wing vitriol or clear-sighted truth — or if you saw it perhaps as most of us did, which was very rarely or not at all ━ its closure inspired the multitudes to take to Twitter and spout some truth of their own.

First there was the expected gloating (and “gloating” is the perfect word) from what can only be assumed to be the Left:

And, of course, the equally expected retort from the other side:

But beyond the jabs and counters which so often characterize issues on Twitter, there were a variety of explanations of why the network failed in tweeted links to long-form pieces from outlets such as Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, The Walrus, and iPolitics, among several others.

These pieces likewise weren’t immune to gloating, especially The Tyee, which said Sun News “proved Canadians to be much smarter than it predicted”. John Doyle’s contribution in The Globe called Sun News “cheap, cheesy, terrible television.”

And like the trench battles between would-be pundits, the big names also came out on Twitter to respond to articles like the above.

Four days after the closure, Sun News personalities Ezra Levant and David Akin had their counter-points promoted on Twitter either by themselves or others:

But while both sides were busy duking it out with each other over the merits — or lack thereof — of Sun News, by far the greatest driver of the conversation was the loss of media jobs.

People of all stripes took to Twitter to lament the fact that, regardless of one’s politics, the failure of Sun News Network meant that 200 people would soon be unemployed.

Two takeaways from this: 1) Sun News Network is definitely dead, and; 2) Whatever your take, you can always be sure that Twitter users will have a decidedly strong opinion.

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The evolution of traditional media: A viewpoint

Newspapers get it from all angles these days.

Purists often decry the fluff—glossy lifestyles sections and inches devoted to celebrity hijinx and party photos. At the same time, social media pundits revel in dwindling circulation numbers as indisputable evidence of an industry disrupted.

NewsAnd while the positions of both newspaper traditionalists and micro-bloggers may seem antithetical in this fuss, they’re both bleating about the same phenomenon.

When someone reads the Saturday paper, he or she already knows the news. Did we open our papers in spring 2014 and almost spit out our coffee telling a loved one that Russia invaded Ukraine? Of course not.

But we—at least, some of us—did open them.

We opened them to read informed analysis of the situation in Donetsk. We opened them to better understand historical claims to the Crimea. We opened them for opinions and thoughts that moved beyond the “what” and the “who” and into the “how” and the “why.”

The era of traditional journalism is ending. In its place are two distinct and opposing approaches: one borne of the digital revolution, the other a response to the first.

In the first camp are sites like BuzzFeed and Gawker (whose tagline betrays its position so succinctly: Today’s gossip is tomorrow’s news), sites whose sole raisons d’être are attention-grabbing headlines, punchy “reports”, and spewing forth as much content as possible.

Some traditional media outlets, in turn, have responded to this by focusing on a position of strength: in-depth reporting and profound analysis, from media voices that have built trust with their readership over years.

Outfits like The Globe and Mail, New York Times and even Vice are proving that just as much as people want information now, they want information done properly. (Would anyone argue that Vice’s approach isn’t working?)

For evidence of just how much readers value independent analysis and a strong writing voice, one needs only look at Twitter followers for the Globe’s columnists versus their reporter colleagues. Although it’s obviously a very superficial analysis, it would seem that people like something the columnists are doing.

André Picard: 31.9K
Doug Saunders: 27.5K
Marcus Gee: 13K
Elizabeth Renzetti: 5,827
Michael Babad: 5,074
Leah McLaren: 3,332
Campbell Clark: 2,558
Barrie McKenna: 2,087
Konrad Yakabuski: 1,163

Omar El Akkad: 4,086
Jeff Gray: 3,227
Carrie Tait: 3,129
Nathan VanderKlippe: 2,993
Brent Jang: 2,461
Tavia Grant: 2,205
Janet McFarland: 2,204
Jeff Jones: 1,794
Sean Silcoff: 1,244
Richard Blackwell: 873

(All numbers taken on 2 Feb 2015.)

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Super Bowl ads: Hitting pay dirt with controversy?

There’s been a lot of talk this week about the winners of the Super Bowl advertising game, but does the ad really need to be a “winner” to receive a big payoff?

We’ve seen a blitz of research around the ways in which social media shapes the TV advertising industry. Insights show that consumers love using social media— especially while watching TV.

The Super Bowl is the epitome of this, with millions of viewers using Facebook and Twitter to comment on the game and, maybe even more importantly, the ads. Sixty-five million people took to social media during the Super Bowl and ads had more than 1.5 million game day mentions on Twitter alone.

Reflecting on GoDaddy’s decision to pull its Super Bowl spot in response to public outcry, it may seem as though social has a one-way effect on the advertising industry: It allows the general public to determine what ads we’ll see and which ones get canned.

But as we’re seeing in the wake of Super Bowl XLIX, social media also substantially increases the impact of any advertisement: The virtual conversations that ensue are carried on long after airtime, thereby providing a long-term benefit and low cost-per-impression that television advertising alone simply can’t match.

In this way, social media is an amplifier that improves the reach of broadcast campaigns (along with media stories, as well—but that’s for another post). Unlike broadcast, social media allows brands to monitor and impact the conversation around an ad.

Take, for example, Nationwide’s gloomy dead children spot—which seemed to depress more people than a goal-line interception.

According to Amobee Brand Intelligence, the ad received over 230,000 social mentions during the game (and the vast majority of these interactions were negative). Maybe it’s not exactly the type of impact Nationwide intended, but at least they can measure consumer reaction and make adjustments if necessary.

And what about GoDaddy and its pulled lost puppy ad? This ad got benched before the game even started, but thanks to the company’s pre-release strategy has still been viewed more than 600,000 times on YouTube.

In an age where consumers play the role of receivers, critics, editors, and proliferators of advertising messages, controversial ads are a calculated move intended to cut through clutter and generate increased attention for a campaign—whether the added exposure is worth the negative backlash is still yet to be determined.

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Top Twitter Influencers of #FFWD2015

With a series of esteemed guest speakers, informative presentations, and an Ad Ball to remember, this year’s Advertising and Marketing Week took Toronto by storm from January 26 to 30, 2015.

Using MediaMiser’s analytics SaaS, we monitored #FFWD2015 throughout the conference to determine who, and what, had the most Twitter influence during the event.

We’ve sorted the findings into the following categories: Influence by number of tweets, influence by retweet ratio, and the top mentioned hashtags of the conference.

Top influencers by number of tweets:

Top influencers by retweet ratio (original tweets to retweets):

Most mentioned hashtags:

  • #cloudmagic (213)
  • #AgencyDiver (161)
  • #Toronto (144)
  • #FFWDnextgen (121)
  • #FFWD15 (79)
  • #AgeofYou (67)
  • #powerofatweet (60)
  • #NextGen (57)
  • #TCM2015 (52)
  • #Canada (48)

We’d like to hear about some of your favourite moments of Advertising and Marketing Week 2015! Let us know in the comments below.

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Social Media Update: Facebook still top dog, thanks to your grandma

Social media

Facebook is still the No. 1 social network in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center — and you have your grandparents to thank for it.

Pew’s Social Media Update 2014, released earlier this month, shows that for the first time ever more than half of all U.S. online seniors (65 and over) now use Facebook.

Pew says this represents “31% of all seniors,” which, if accurate, means a lot of seniors out there are light years ahead of anyone that age in my own family.

Things aren’t all rosy for Facebook, though. We all know teens hate being anywhere near their families, which could explain why FB has seen a recent drop in usage amongst this demographic.

Indeed, the Pew study shows that while Facebook is still the Grand Poobah of social, its uptake from new users has slowed to a crawl (other than the senior demographic).

“Every other social media platform measured saw significant growth in every demographic group,” the report said.

The hottest site for teens and young adults? If you know anyone with a pulse from this age group, then you already know: Instagram, Instagram, and more Instagram.ig-logo

Posting random pictures of your friends doing random things is super fun, after all, which is probably why 53 per cent of those aged 18-29 now use Instagram, with half of those users logging on daily.

Overall, Twitter had the lowest percentage of online adults who identifed themselves as users in the study, at 23 per cent — behind Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.

Check-in sites (or former check-in sites) like FourSquare were not included in the top five, because really, does anyone even care anymore?

And continuing a trend that’s been evident since the site’s inception, women dominate Pinterest’s user base: 42 per cent of online women use the site, compared to just 13 per cent of men.

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What “The Interview” taught us about public relations

Sparking controversy has historically helped increased attendance at, and revenue generated by, theatrical movie releases.

TheInterviewFrom North Korea threatening action against the U.S. should Columbia Pictures release The Interview, to being hacked and having private employee information (and embarrassing emails) leaked, 2014 was a year of controversies for Sony Pictures Entertainment. Not only did these events generate publicity for Sony, but also elevated the anticipation for the theatrical release of The Interview.

Now experiencing overwhelming digital success, The Interview’s eventual release has presented many lessons in public relations. We’ve identified three (of many) key takeaways from The Interview’s controversial launch and how media monitoring can help you leverage these points:

1. Scandal will always spark conversation.

Controversy can increase the revenue generated by your product, much like it did with The Interview, but it can also increase the earned media your launch campaign generates. Regardless of whether this earned media is positive, neutral, or negative, each new article, blog post, or comment is another opportunity for potential customers to see your product or service and create their own opinions (which hopefully they will share with others).

Now, it’s hard to keep track of all these conversations because they can be happening over traditional media (like print or broadcast), or using digital mediums. But media monitoring via software can keep track of all these conversations regardless of where they’re taking place, and identify your influencers.

Word of mouth is one of the most influential ways to raise awareness of a product, and media monitoring and analysis can help you leverage public opinion to continue generating buzz around your product or service.

2. If customers can’t have something, it makes them want it more.

It’s human psychology that if we can’t have something, it typically increases our desire to have it. Besides being a fundamental storyline in many romantic comedies, this compelling truth is also, in part, what made The Interview a huge success. We thought we wouldn’t be able to see it, so it made us want to see it more.

Use social media to hint at your product launch, and use media monitoring to gauge your target audience’s sentiment towards it. If, after careful analysis, the sentiment is extraordinarily positive then wait a bit to release your product.

Let the anticipation build, but make sure that you don’t wait too long (you don’t want your potential consumers to get frustrated). But if sentiment is underwhelming, neutral, or negative, tweak your product and launch plan to reflect this feedback—and make your product more appealing to the customer.

3. Making your product directly accessible from nearly anywhere can increase your ROI exponentially.

Sometimes it’s difficult to get your product directly into the hands of consumers, but if you can, there’s great success to be had. In this respect Sony made The Interview easily accessible to their consumers by releasing it on video on demand (VOD), accompanying the limited theatrical releases.

Not only did their VOD releases dominate their theatrical releases in sales, but it also allowed their customers to access the movie whenever they wanted, wherever they wanted, increasing its viewing potential.

Using social media monitoring can give you great information about your target audience. From psychographics to demographics, you can use this information to pinpoint what outlets would be best when looking to launch your product.

Did The Interview teach you any interesting lessons about public relations? Let us know in the comments!

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Twitter wants the Ottawa Senators to move downtown

Before we get into the meat of this blog post, I’ve got a couple disclosures to make.

Firstly, I’m not a Senators fan. But like most who live in this city, I fully appreciate the importance of the hockey club to the city and its residents (both economically and spiritually). It’s part of the fabric.

Secondly, I absolutely think the Senators need to move their rink to Lebreton Flats.




It’s simple, really. As a Leaf fan who has attended dozens of games at the ACC over the years, I’ve grown used to taking the half-hour subway ride from Yorkdale down to the ACC.

It’s easy, it’s cheap, there’s no traffic and no stress. Parking isn’t a worry. The rink is centrally located and close to hundreds of restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

Compare that to sitting in traffic and interminable parking lots for hours coming and going from a Sens game, the choice to me seems obvious (and yes, I realize Ottawa doesn’t have a subway. But light rail is coming).

So I wanted to gauge the sentiment of interested Twitter users.

The result?

I’m encouraged to say that, according to our analysis at least, most of the opinionated tweets seem to favour the move as well (see chart above).

After looking at tweets from mid December to Jan. 5 mentioning the NHL club and “moving”, “Lebreton”, “flats” or “downtown”, we found that a bit less than 50 per cent were in favour of a move.

Around 53 per cent of tweets were neutral, ie. retweeting the news, while just three per cent were against such a move (and I’m pretty sure I can guess which part of town they all live in).

Looks like, for Sens fans on Twitter at least, the choice is a no-brainer as well—although there are still some holdouts (although the below tweet is about the IIHF World Junior Championships, and not NHL hockey):

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