Ultimate media monitoring FAQ

We have scoured the web for the most frequently asked questions on media monitoring, and answered them below.

I'm new to media monitoring. What's the real scoop?

Media monitoring is the process and activity in which brands listen to, read, or watch different media channels in order to keep track of their online performance. This activity involves seeking mentions–positive or negative–of the brand in question so as to prevent crisis, promptly address customer objections, as well as maintain a good brand reputation across all channels.

How does it work? What kind of technology is involved in the process?

Just like search engines are comprised of algorithms that crawl websites daily to index trillions (yes, trillions) of pages in their database, media monitoring works the same way: the tools’ algorithm crawls as many pages as possible, indexes them, and makes them eligible for researching all kinds of mentions and comments about a certain brand, organization, or person. This process involves real-time mentions as well as less recent mentions you can track down.

Is media monitoring strictly necessary for businesses?

While it’s not mandatory that all businesses invest in media monitoring, those who do have an edge over their competitors, essentially because they’re always ahead of real-time complaints and reviews, and are able to respond accordingly in due time.

(In fact, 83% of complainants whose problems were addressed on Twitter nurtured a positive image of brands, taking into account that 70% of them completely ignore customer objections.)

How much does media monitoring cost?

It depends on the monitoring tool you’re using, the size of your business, as well as which solutions are included in the package you’ve purchased. We’ve written an all-encompassing article comparing the best monitoring tools, as well as their solutions and pricing.

Isn’t Googling brand reviews and reading recent Tweets kind of the same thing?

Nope. For openers, depending on company size and the number of mentions you get, scrolling through Twitter and looking for mentions (recent and older) can be extremely time-consuming. Plus, brand reviews are only the tip of the iceberg. You almost surely don’t have time to track down valuable mentions through every single Google page (including omitted results).

Lastly, manual media monitoring would require your team to watch every single video and news that may mention your product. Media monitoring used to be done this way…decades ago.

Can all types of media be tracked and monitored with this practice?

With media monitoring, users can monitor and extract mentions from the following media sources:

  • Radio
  • Television
  • Podcasts
  • Social media
  • Print media
  • Internet (search engines)

Of course, the range of sources and social media channels available for monitoring and the number of mentions tracked will depend on the monitoring platform of choice and the type of subscription you pay for.

Which areas of marketing is media monitoring useful for?

Media monitoring is an incredible complement for the following marketing practices:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and keyword research. It helps users find the right terms their audience uses to refer to their brand or products, which fuels keyword research.
  • Public relations (PR). With media monitoring, public figures are the first to know about honorable mentions and negative publicity. This way, they can act fast against potential uproars.
  • Influencer marketing. Monitoring tools are also helpful in identifying influencers that match their brands, so they can start working with the right people immediately.
  • Brand monitoring. And of course, it’s useful if users want to track various channels in the search of relevant mentions of their brand.

Why should I use media monitoring to find influencers in my niche?

Looking for influencers the old-fashioned way could put your brand at risk of working with the wrong people, thus not bringing the engagement and conversion goals you have in mind.

With media monitoring tools, you may not only find brand mentions coming from ordinary people, but mentions from influencers who already promote your brand without a paid partnership. Switching from organic to paid promotions will be a lot easier, because the influencers in question are already familiar with your product, and they’re the right people you should be working with.

Can both the terms “media monitoring” and “media listening” be used interchangeably?

Many people consider these terms equivalent, and others insist they are fundamentally different.

  • Media monitoring refers to the process of continuously reviewing brand interactions and taking instant action towards resolving issues and replying to customers. You’re monitoring media when you’re looking for and replying to Tweets and customer reviews, for instance.
  • Media listening, on the other hand, has to do with the big picture. It’s about extracting the patterns (replies, ratings, conversations) of what you’ve learned with media monitoring and using them to improve your overall branding and messaging. For example, restructuring a campaign to better appeal to an audience should be a direct result of media listening.

The jury is still out on this.

What types of businesses should rely on media monitoring?

Businesses of all types and sizes are welcome to use media monitoring to maintain a good brand reputation and promptly communicate with customers.

Should beginner/smaller businesses rely on media monitoring?

Great question. If a business is small enough that it’s likely to have only a few mentions, is it a good deal to invest in costly tools?

It turns out, some tools aren’t costly at all for businesses that are just starting out. Zoho Social, for example, starts out at only $10 a month for two team members and monitors seven channels. Still, you can give all plans a try for free in several platforms and decide whether they fit your needs.

If you’d still like to monitor your brand for free forever (while being aware that your features are limited), try TweetDeck to receive real-time Twitter mentions to your brand.

Is this practice illegal? Could it result in any type of legal trouble for my brand or marketing team?

Not at all! Media monitoring tools can only crawl and index public information. In fact, websites behind paywalls as well as private Twitter accounts can’t be tracked so that user privacy is respected. Rest assured that you won’t be violating anyone’s privacy with either brand listening or monitoring.

How do I choose the right keywords to monitor?

It usually happens that brand names are common words. Tracking words that have nothing to do with your brand will only bring up useless data and take up your time deciding which mentions are valuable, and which ones aren’t.

When setting up the mentions you’d like to see in a media monitoring platform, the key is to include terms besides brand name to filter through unimportant mentions. Is your product an app? Include your brand name + app. Also, always include social media handles as terms to be collected, as well as your website’s URL.

In addition, several monitoring tools are optimized with Boolean search, allowing users to create ultra-specific search terms by including or deleting terms.

For example, if a user would only like to see mentions that compare their brand to a specific competitor, Boolean search operators would only show mentions that include the terms “brand name” and “competitor name”. This makes the process a lot less cluttered.

What are the best platforms for my business, specifically?

It really depends on the size of your business as well as your monitoring goals, so there’s no direct answer.

All media monitoring platforms have different packages ranging from smaller businesses and even individuals to large businesses and enterprises. Besides the difference in price, of course, larger packages include more features, more mentions, and more channels you can track.

The questions you should be asking are: How many channels would you like to monitor? How many members are on your team? How much are you willing to spend to monitor media sources? Take these factors into consideration when selecting a package from any platform.

What is 'sentiment analysis', and why is it important to consider when monitoring social media?

Sentiment analysis is a Natural Language Processing (NLP) based tool that analyzes the words used in a mention and decides whether that mention was positive, negative, or neutral towards a brand.

As you probably already know, emotions are what drive purchasing decisions, so you must take them into consideration when conducting monitoring. Instead of letting you examine each post’s intention using your judgement alone, sentiment analysis will streamline the process and put it into perspective with sentiment scores.

How can I measure the results of media monitoring?

There are several KPIs you can track to measure the efficacy of your media monitoring endeavors:

  • Sentiment scores
  • CSAT (or customer satisfaction)
  • Brand reach and awareness
  • Conversion rates
  • Net Promoter Scores (or how likely your customers are to recommend your product)

Lucky for you, several media monitoring tools compact all of the KPIs above in one place so you don’t need to hop from one platform to another while trying to track important metrics.

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