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What is Media Monitoring? Definitions, Examples and Benefits

Keeping Ahead of the Curve: Understanding Media Monitoring

Knowing what people think and feel about your brand is invaluable, and media monitoring can help do just that. Media monitoring enables strategic communications and marketing teams stay informed about what people say about their company, products, services or competitors and respond to that feedback more effectively. In a way, it allows you to be the proverbial fly on the wall.

While traditional media is still a powerful marketing tool, new media, especially social media, is where people are learning about brands and being swayed by them. According to a recent survey, 44% of consumers turn to social media ads to inform their purchasing decisions, compared to just 13% via traditional television advertising.

Given the sheer volume of content generated by various media platforms, from news articles and blogs to online reviews and social media posts (5 billion Snapchat videos and photos are shared daily), it can seem impossible to keep track of the conversations about your brand. But fear not: This article will break down how media monitoring can help you track and understand the most important conversations to your brand’s reputation and your business’s bottom line.

What is Media Monitoring?

Media monitoring refers to tracking, analyzing and measuring various media channels. These channels can include traditional media (think newsprint, magazines, radio and television) and digital media (web-based applications—which is where most of us spend our time these days). Analyzing the data from these sources enables you to understand everything from public perception to the growing trends in your industry. Now that we know what media monitoring is, let’s dive into the different types:

Social Media Monitoring

Social media monitoring involves tracking mentions, comments and shares of your brand, product or service across various social media channels like Twitter, Facebook and TikTok. By monitoring social media channels, you can respond to customer feedback, understand audience sentiment around your brand, identify trends and respond to them effectively. While social media can be your best friend when it comes to helping you connect with your audience, it can quickly become your worst enemy. If your social media posts come across as tone-deaf or insensitive, or your response to criticism is too late or inappropriate, you risk people viewing your brand and its product negatively.

Online Reputation Management

Bad news travels fast. No matter how great your business or product is, at some point, you will have to deal with negative online customer comments that could harm your brand's reputation. Online reputation management involves monitoring and managing the online reputation of a brand or individual. This includes tracking reviews, comments and ratings on various review sites, such as Yelp or Google, and addressing negative feedback. Like social media marketing, how you respond (and how quickly that response comes) is key. A thoughtful, timely response can turn a negative review into a positive one; a poorly constructed or inauthentic response (or no response at all) can result in a customer doubling down on their grievances.

News Monitoring

News monitoring involves tracking mentions of a brand, product or service in traditional media, such as newspapers, magazines and television news. By monitoring information, businesses can stay informed about their industry trends and competitors. Moreover, news monitoring allows you to identify Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) that you can leverage to promote your brand in a more positive light.

Competitor Monitoring

Media monitoring tools aren't just for tracking how people feel about your brand; you can also use them to see what the public thinks about your top rivals. Competitor monitoring involves tracking competitors' media mentions and activities to identify their strengths and weaknesses and inform your business strategy.

Crisis Management

As the saying goes, when it rains, it pours, and the faster you can respond to negative press with the right message, the better. Crisis management involves monitoring media channels to detect and respond to negative feedback or crises, such as product recalls, data breaches or negative reviews. By monitoring media channels, businesses can immediately mitigate potential damage to their reputation.

Why is Media Monitoring Important?

Don Draper, one of the pop culture’s most famous marketing geniuses, said, “If you don't like what's being said, change the conversation.” While the “Mad Men” character may be fictional, the advice is very real. Media Monitoring allows you to take charge of the conversation and steer it in the direction that helps benefit your brand.

With the proliferation of digital media channels, including social media, review sites and online forums, conversations about your brand can happen anywhere, anytime. Media monitoring allows you to track these conversations and gather valuable insights into what people say about your brand and competitors. Moreover, media monitoring allows you to track the effectiveness of your PR or marketing campaigns, automate reporting against priority success metrics, and make data-driven decisions to improve your overall marketing communications strategy.

Understanding Your Audience

Ever gotten a banner ad for a product you would never use in your life? Media monitoring can help you avoid being “that brand.” One of the most significant benefits of media monitoring is a deeper understanding of your audience. You can learn more about your customers' needs, preferences and pain points by tracking conversations on social media and review sites. You can see what topics and messaging resonate with them and adjust your marketing and targeting strategy accordingly.

According to a Yieldify study, 75% of customers agreed they are more likely to buy from brands that offer a personalized experience, and 97% of customers, as noted by Salesforce, saw a rise in business outcomes as a result of increased personalization. Moreover, media monitoring allows you to identify influencers in your industry who are talking about your brand or products and have a personal connection with your best customers. These influencers can be powerful allies in spreading the word about your brand, so building relationships with them is essential.

Improving Your Brand Reputation

Benjamin Franklin once said, "It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it." By tracking mentions of your brand online, you can quickly identify negative comments or reviews and respond appropriately. A well-crafted and quick response to negative feedback can help mitigate the damage to your brand's reputation and show your customers that you value their feedback.

Identifying Industry Trends and Opportunities

No matter how great your brand or product is, you must continuously evolve to stay fresh and competitive in your industry. But, as Coca-Cola learned the hard way, you can’t just change for change's sake, especially when your customers have a very strong connection with your brand. Media monitoring lets you not only see how your brand message is currently resonating with the public, but also stay on top of industry trends and identify new opportunities to gain a competitive edge. For example, if you notice that your new product is setting the internet abuzz, you can learn from people’s posts why it’s such a hit and how you can further capitalize on this trend for future developments.

You can also leverage media monitoring to identify potential partnerships or collaborations with other businesses in your industry. According to research from consumer review site Visual Objects, 71% of consumers enjoy co-branding partnerships. Media monitoring tools can help you pinpoint opportunities to collaborate and expand your reach to your target audience by tracking mentions of your brand with other companies, KOLs, and industry influencers.

Tracking Your Competitors

Do you want to know how the competition is doing and what products of theirs are a success? You don't have to wait for industry reports to get the tea. Monitoring your competitors' online mentions gives you valuable insights into their strategy, allowing you to adjust yours accordingly. You can also identify potential weaknesses in their approach and capitalize on them to gain an advantage in the marketplace.

These monitoring tools also allow you to track your competitors' sentiment and reputation. By analyzing this data, you can identify areas where they are weak and adjust your strategy to capitalize on those weaknesses or develop a product that addresses a customer need your competition doesn't.

Media monitoring is a critical tool if you want to stay ahead of the curve in today's fast-paced digital world. By tracking conversations online, you can gain valuable insights into your customer's needs and preferences, identify industry trends and opportunities, manage your brand reputation, and stay competitive.

Respond to Crisis

Sometimes even our best efforts can fall flat. As powerful as digital media is for promoting your brand, it can be your worst enemy if you trip up. Crisis management is an essential aspect of media monitoring. In today's lightning-speed digital world, negative comments or reviews can spread quickly and damage your brand's reputation.

You may recall the backlash over Pepsi's ad featuring Kendall Jenner, which tried to mirror the Black Lives Matter movement. The $5 million ad was ridiculed on various social channels and news forums for being tone-deaf and opportunistic, forcing the company to pull the spot and issue a groveling apology. But even smaller campaigns and social media blasts can take on a life of their own and go in directions you never predicted. Media monitoring lets you quickly identify potential issues and respond appropriately to soften the blow.

While in some cases, it can be best to let the outcry die down, responding to negative feedback shows your customers you value their input and are committed to improving. Additionally, media monitoring allows you to leverage social listening and social media monitoring tools to track the spread of negative comments or reviews and adjust your messaging to better align with your brand’s overall strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is media monitoring important for businesses?

Media monitoring is crucial for businesses because it allows them to stay informed about their online presence and the conversations happening about their brand. By understanding public perception and sentiment, businesses can improve their products or services, provide better customer service, and address negative feedback or issues in real time. Media monitoring also helps companies stay ahead of industry trends and track their competitors' activities, providing a competitive advantage.

What are the types of media monitoring?

Media monitoring encompasses various types of tracking and analysis across traditional and digital media to understand public perception, sentiment and trends about a brand, company, product or service. Some examples of media monitoring include social media monitoring, online reputation management, news monitoring, competitor monitoring and crisis management. Each type provides unique insights and benefits for businesses to improve their online presence, provide better customer service and stay ahead of competitors.

How does news monitoring help businesses?

We’ve talked a lot about monitoring new media, but what about traditional media? You may wonder if it’s worth your time to track what the local news and other traditional media outlets have to say. Well, in fact, it is. A 2022 survey revealed that the leading offline news source used in the U.S. was local television news.

Monitoring news coverage is an effective way to stay updated on industry trends, competitors and brand and product mentions in traditional media such as newspapers and TV news. Moreover, news monitoring allows you to respond quickly to any negative news or public relations crises, so you can help mitigate any potential damage to your brand’sreputation. Cision's media monitoring tools can provide businesses with valuable insights and help them stay ahead of their competition and better understand all media coverage concerning their brand.

What are the best media monitoring tools?

With so many tools out there, there is no ‘one size fits all’ monitoring tool. To help you choose the right platform for your team’s unique goals and needs, check out The Ultimate Media Monitoring Buyer's Guide.

Final Thoughts

Seeing as how one tweet, headline or viral video can change the sentiment of your brand, media monitoring needs to be an essential part of your brand communications strategy. By carefully tracking and analyzing various media channels, you can gain valuable insights into public perception, sentiment and trends that matter to your brand. The ability to automate data collection across multiple media channels and create meaningful dashboards that surface critical KPI's and success metrics is essential for marketing, communications and PR teams that want to make data-driven decisions.

Long gone are the days of the market research panels. Today, customers have no problem telling you what they think of your brand, but you need a platform to find out what they are saying and where they are saying it. With the right monitoring tools and strategies, you can proactively stay ahead of industry trends, closely monitor your competitor's activities and manage crises with confidence.

Find out why leading companies rely on Cision’s media monitoring platform – for everything from social media monitoring to crisis management – to enhance their online presence, brand reputation and audience engagement.

Learn more today.