Media Monitoring and Analysis Glossary

Media monitoring and analysis service– A firm that aggregates information gathered by traditional and social media content providers, using its software to compile and analyze that information – sometimes further refined by human analysts. The resulting media intelligence is packaged according to client specifications and delivered to those clients in a timely fashion, i.e., as close to real-time as possible. Organizations use this media intelligence to determine what is being said – positive or negative – about the organization itself, its brand, or an issue that can affect it. Among other things, media monitoring and analysis can help organizations track publicity campaigns, discover the nature and extent of various social trends, and obtain insight on how media and other opinion leaders are responding to their products and messages.

Prominence refers to the attention a story on an organization, brand, issue, message, etc. gets in the media. It can be measured by a number of factors that measure the quantity and quality of media coverage, including type of media, extent (of coverage), share of voice, story size or length, placement, media circulation or audience share, media relevance (to the organization’s audience), story treatment, use of visuals, type of coverage, etc.

  • Media type – the type of media – daily newspaper, blog, television station, community newspaper, business publication, etc. – covering the story.
  • Scopethe geographical area the media reach, including national, provincial, regional, and specifically defined and selected areas.
  • Share of voice – the organization’s share of media attention in the total coverage of a product, issue, industry, cause, etc. This information can contribute to competitive intelligence studies.
  • Story size/length – the space the story occupies in print media (half a page, 400 lines, a tiny mention, etc.), the time (10 seconds, one minute, etc.) devoted to it in broadcast media, and the space/time it earns in new media.
  • Placement – where the story was placed in the media. In print, it could range from the front page to page 52 or in the sports or world news section. In broadcast, placement is where the story was aired in the newscast (lead story, story number five, etc.). In new media, it could refer to the space it occupies on a blog, the number of mentions on Twitter, etc.
  • Circulation/share – the total number of copies of a publication delivered to print audiences (media circulation).
  • Audience share is the percentage of listeners or viewers within a defined market of listeners/viewers who are tuned in to a broadcast outlet. For more information, see print circulation as well as listenership/viewership below.
  • Media relevance – the criteria that determine the relevance of a specific medium to the organization’s target audience. This can be assessed by how closely the composition of the media audience – demographics and/or psychographics – matches that of the organization’s audience.
  • Story treatment – how a story is treated in the media. It could be a cover story, a running story earning coverage day after day, a one-shot mention, or a story earning multiple mentions in one issue, one broadcast or one Twitter day.
  • Use of visuals – information on the content and placement of such visuals as photographs.
  • Type of coverage – the context in which an item is presented in the media (news, opinion/commentary, community service, etc.). It can be further identified as an editorial, news story, blog post, news brief, bumper, letter to the editor, comment to a blog post, etc.

Tone or sentiment measures how a person, group, organization, or issue is portrayed in the media. Tone is normally categorized as positive, neutral or negative, with various degrees of negative and positive tones. (Toning can be enhanced when a human analyst – able to recognize sarcasm, irony, and various human quirks – serves as a filter.)

Message fidelity delivers information on how well the message conveyed by the media matched the message or messages the organization wanted to communicate.

  • Content and nature of quotes – an amalgamation of what was said/printed in the media, who was quoted in the story, including the quotes themselves as well as the source – media, organizational spokesperson, and/or third party.

Impact is determined by measuring how prominence is amplified by tone and/or message fidelity. For example, a positive front page story – with an accompanying large flattering photo and multiple spokesperson and third-party quotes delivering the desired messages – in a daily newspaper reaching an audience that matches that of the organization could be judged to have a high impact. While impact evaluation processes for social media are ever-evolving, one such measurement revolves around engagement.

  • Engagement – a measurement of the nature and extent of audience engagement through two-way conversations, the sharing of information, and other interactions such as subscribership. Included in this measurement are such considerations as reach and tone delivered by blog posts and comments, linkbacks, tweets, and retweets.

Audiences and measurement

Demographics refers to the social and economic characteristics of a group of households or individuals. Commonly used demographics include age, gender, mother tongue, employment, and household income. Psychographics describe audiences through personality traits, interests, lifestyles, attitudes, etc.

  • Reach refers to the number of audience members who potentially receive a message. Most reach measures use circulation/audience share figures.
  • Frequency measures the number of times (within a specific period) an audience potentially receives a message.
  • Impressions tally the total number of times the potential audience (including duplications) was exposed to a message within a specific period. This is calculated by multiplying the number of people who potentially received it (reach) by the number of times (frequency) they potentially were exposed to it. In visual media, impressions can also be called opportunities to see. The use of the word “potential” is key as this type of measurement deals only with those who might have seen something – not with those who actually saw it, understood it, or acted upon it.

Print circulation – the total number of copies of a publication available to subscribers as well as via newsstands, vending machines, and other delivery systems.

  • Paid circulation is a distribution method where readers pay for the publication.
  • Controlled circulation is the method of distributing publications free of charge (usually in bulk) to specific areas, groups of people, or locations.

Circulation measurement – print circulation figures provided by such organizations as the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) and the Canadian Circulations Audit Board (CCAB).

  • ABC is self-described as providing independent third-party circulation audits of print circulation, readership, and web site activity.
  • CCAB, the Canadian arm of BPA Worldwide, bills itself as a resource for verified audience data and media knowledge.

Broadcast measurement – Nielsen Media provides TV ratings while the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM) provides data for both radio and television. Although paper diaries are still in use in some areas, BBM is increasingly utilizing portable people meters.

  • Portable people meters (PPMs) are pager-sized, rechargeable monitoring pods worn by respondents. When an audio code embedded in TV or radio station signals is detected, the unit captures the time of viewing/listening. Tuning information is downloaded nightly to a central audience collection point.

Listenership/viewership – data on listeners (radio) and viewers (television), including the size of the cumulative audience, the number of listeners as a quarter-hour average, the average hours tuned by listeners, and the audience share in a particular market. This information is available by specific demographic groups (age, gender, etc.).

  • Central area – a defined geographical area assigned to stations for reporting purposes. All stations in a market share the same central area.
  • Full coverage area –includes all areas where respondents’ meters or diaries indicate listenership/viewership to a station. Stations in the same markets have different full coverage areas.
  • Cumulative audience (cumes) –the number of different people listening to or watching a station for at least 15 minutes during a specified period of time (usually weekly). Central reach refers to the estimated number of different listeners/viewers within the central market area, while full coverage reach includes the estimated number of different viewers/listeners anywhere in the country.
  • Quarter hour average – average number of listeners tuned to a station in any quarter hour in a given time period. It is determined by adding all the individual quarter hour audiences and dividing by the number of quarter hours involved.
  • Average minute audience (AMA) – part of BBM’s television ratings system, this provides information on the average number of viewers in this time period.
  • Audience or market share – the percentage of those people listening to radio or watching TV who are tuned to a particular station at a particular time.
  • Individual station audience x 100 = Audience Share
  • Total Radio (or TV) Audience
  • Average hours tuned – average number of hours people listen to a station during a weekly period. It is determined by dividing the total number of hours tuned by the number of listeners. BBM also reports on central market share based on the estimated total hours tuned to each station expressed as a percentage of total hours tuned to all stations in that market.

Metrics and analytics

Metrics and analytics are terms used to describe measurements, evaluations, and interpretations of web statistics and correlating them with business and public relations objectives. Some use the terms interchangeably while others use only one or the other. Some make a distinction between the two, using metrics for measurements of web statistics (page views, clicks, visit duration,etc.) and analytics for interpretation and analysis of those metrics, including the ultimate evaluation of whether or not outcome objectives were met.

  • Content measures are evaluations of how web content – facts, opinions, messages, etc. about an organization, issue, or topic – is accessed, adapted, shared, and amplified on a site or sites or across the web.
  • Conversation measures study online conversations (tweets, blog posts and comments, linkbacks, etc.) related to an organization, issue, etc. The conversation may be measured by quantity, tone/sentiment, message fidelity, etc. One such content measure is the conversation index or conversation rate, created by dividing the total number of posts by the number of relevant comments and trackbacks. Sometimes, this measurement evaluates the prominence and sphere of influence enjoyed by those participating in a relevant conversation. Some go even further, connecting those conversations to an organization’s objectives relating to knowledge or awareness, attitudes towards the organization, and desired behaviours.
  • Outcome measures are used to evaluate how content measures correlate with outcome objectives.

Web metrics

  • Page views is a count of the number of times a page was viewed. This includes duplications.
  • Traffic sources – how visitors get to a site or page on a site. They may arrive directly or through a referring site or search engine.

Unique visits adds up the number of individual people who visited a site within a specified period of time used for reporting purposes.

  • New visitors – the number of unique visitors who access any page on a site – via a web browser – for the first time.
  • Repeat visitors – the number of unique visitors who make two or more visits to a site.
  • Return visitors – the number of unique visitors who return to a site after the initial visit.
  • Visit duration – the length of time visitors spend on a page or a site.
  • Conversation reach – the number of unique visitors who took part in a conversation. Tone/sentiment analysis is not included.
  • Bounce rates – statistics on those visitors who remain on a site for five seconds or less or those who visit only one page of a site.

Supplementary terms

Advertising value equivalency (AVE) is the amount in dollars a story would cost if it appeared as paid advertising. It is determined by multiplying the size/length of the story by the advertising rate for the relevant publication or station.

Benchmark refers to a point of reference for measuring coverage of an issue or campaign. It’s a standard or yardstick used when measuring progress in a campaign.

Clip count refers to the total number of stories that mention a client company, product or campaign.

Digital rights management (DRM) refers to access control methods that limit usage of digital content to protect publishers and copyright holders.

Issue refers to any subject or topic that is being tracked and analyzed. For an issue to earn media coverage, it usually is a public issue, i.e., a problem, opportunity, question, or choice faced by or greatly affecting society or some segment of society.

Omnibus issues monitoring/analysis is undertaken by a group of noncompeting organizations who share the cost of gathering media intelligence on a situation or issue.

Related articles are those that relate to the main story. It may be a sidebar with a human interest angle, another (perhaps opposite) point of view, an editorial, etc.

Syndicated issues tracking is a service provided to individual subscribers who all receive the same information on media coverage of an situation or issue.