Every month when I go to write this PR technology summary, I’m surprised at just how many new tools and features are being brought to market. This month was no exception, and perhaps because many of the launches were timed with annual PRSA International Conference which wrapped up recently.
This PR tech sum loses the jargon and boils these announcements down to the basics – with links to the source documents for those interested in learning more.
And now, here’s this month’s PR technology summary…
1) Talkwalker lets you run your data through their AI
Talkwalker has introduced a new feature it’s calling Customer Data +. The feature enables “enterprises to analyze customer conversations from owned data sources” and let the Talkwalker AI engine analyze it.
What sort of data? Internal data such as survey responses, call center data or customer service email data according to a company representative. Why would you do this? Well, if you use Talkwalker for social listening, this is a way to evaluate social data against customer data, for example.
The screenshot below is an example (click the image to see the full graphic). It compares email data with social media data for Coca-Cola. “It’s a very interesting way to break down what your fans on social think versus what your customers think,” said the rep.
The new feature is just one part of a product update that also includes, offering sentiment analysis in 92 languages, pulling data from Weibo, Disqus and 100+ review sites, among other updates.
2) TVEyes launches podcast monitoring service
TVEyes is growing ears to go with its eyes. The company, which has billed itself as a search engine for broadcast, is now adding podcasts to the mix. Its new services enable “partners to build podcast content search and alert applications through an API that provides a ‘firehose’ of podcast content.”
The product seems to work for audio, much like it does for video:
“TVEyes creates a searchable spoken word index for more than 13,000 of the most popular podcasts and is adding more than 3,000 episodes per day – an equivalent of 1,500 hours of content each day (average duration is 30 minutes per episode). In addition to U.S. English, podcasts are being indexed in Spanish, French, Italian, German and Greek. Content can be played-back either directly from the content URL or via TVEyes’ Podcast Player Interface, an embeddable player that allows for seamless integration into all types of target products.”
Podcasting is clearly growing – TVEyes CEO David Ives said in an announcement, “more than 30 percent of Americans listen monthly, more than 20 percent listen weekly, and these listeners skew toward demographics that advertisers and politicos alike seek to understand and influence.”
3) Meltwater updates UX, adds new projects feature
PR technology provider Meltwater unveiled a new interface aimed at simplifying the user experience and providing “enhanced self-help options.” The new look and feel, called Fjord, is modeled after the simplicity found in many consumer apps – the continued consumerization of enterprise technology.
The company is also introducing a new Projects functionality, which looks to me like a project management feature. According to the announcement, “Projects becomes a centralized workspace within the Meltwater product, enabling end-to-end campaign execution from media outreach to post-campaign analysis.
Project works with the Meltwater mobile app, which, “which now allows for instant notification and ad-hoc searching and analysis, as well as the ability to access all of the content from saved searches and tags in the desktop application.”
The video nearby demonstrates the new UX and the Projects feature in under a minute.
4) SocialChorus strives to show the business impact of internal comms
SocialChorus has rolled out a new analytics tool for measuring the impact of internal communications. The new product called Analyze helps provide a “picture of how internal communications is impacting business initiatives.”
Internal communicators can “associate every communication with an initiative and correlate engagement to feedback trends and business performance.” This enables them to “examine if initiatives are effective at improving morale, retention, attendance, sentiment and even the bottom line.”
The new product comes with data visualization tools that can be used to report and share the analytics to “align with other leaders.” In addition, dashboard-style views are personalized for users.
5) Cision unveils retargeting for earned media audiences
Ever look at a product online, decide not to buy it, and subsequently notice ads for the product are following you around the web? That’s a form of advertising called retargeting and Cision is bringing this to PR.
As I understand it, the product is split into two parts – Cision Audiences and Cision Activation. The audience part allows you to model demographics and firmographics (demographics for business) based on your earned media. This is useful for targeting. The activation part is the platform for launching a retargeting campaign. The idea is that you put some paid spend behind your earned media.
Both parts fall under the umbrella of what the company calls Cision Impact, which provides a way to understand if media coverage translates into website traffic. If someone clicks an article today and visits your site tomorrow, Cision can tell you that.
Only two other companies that I’m aware of are currently able to measure earned media in this way. One was TrendKite, which was acquired by Cision in January 2019. Representatives have told me, while Cision has integrated much of the TrendKite technology, they ditched their attribution in favor of a home-grown product which is Cision Impact.
The other company that offers something like this is Onclusive, which calls this “PR attribution” and owns the trademark for the term. That company is doing some interesting things on the distribution side as well.
Generally, I’m pretty optimistic about these new tools for PR measurement. What they are providing is needed, the biggest barrier to adoption currently is the price point. This stuff is expensive. In time, I hope the cost comes down and it becomes more accessible.
6) Cision agrees to be acquired by another PE firm
Cision said it had agreed to be acquired by “an affiliate of Platinum Equity” for $10 per share, or about $2.74 billion. The transaction would see Cision returned to a privately held company owned by a private equity firm.
In 2014, the company was publicly traded on Swedish stock exchange when it was acquired by a subsidiary of another PE firm called GTCR. GTCR and Cision made $2.25 billion in additional acquisitions of PR technology vendors (here’s a brief history), mashed them together, and then spun the company back out on the public market in a “blank check” merger in June 2017. It started trading under the ticker CISN.
Cision has until November 12, 2019, to shop for a better acquisition offer and the deal with the Platinum affiliate is subject to shareholder approval. However, by all indications, the deal is expected to close in Q1 2020. GTCR still owns 34% of the shares in Cision and supports the transaction.
I spoke to an investor at a professional money management firm, who had considered buying shares in Cision and asked for a reaction to the deal. “I could never get comfortable with the long-term picture and growth story,” the investor said. “My guess is that management isn’t seeing much growth any time soon either.”
In my observation, where one PE firm sees value in consolidating brands and tools into one company – another prefers to slice a company into its parts and spin them off. Will the new owners end up unbundling everything the previous owners had tied together?
7) Falcon.io acquires Unmetric
Falcon.io acquires Unmetric, which provides “insights from social benchmarking, audience engagement, and content performance.” Falcon.io will integrate the two platforms “enabling customers to drive consistent brand experiences across social content, engagement and insights.”
Brands must “benchmark their social campaigns, content and channels, and use insights from the past to fuel campaigns for the future. Unmetric brings this historical perspective to the Falcon.io platform to help brands and agencies create more compelling content,” according to Unmetric CEO Lux Narayan in the announcement.
Unmetric brings several global brands, including Unilever, Pepsi, GM, and Edelman, as customers to the Falcon.io. Falcon.io was “founded in 2010 in Copenhagen by Ulrik Bo Larsen,” according to FinSMEs, and has more than “400 employees in Copenhagen, New York, Berlin, Melbourne, Budapest and Sofia.”
Falcon.io was previously acquired by Cision in January 2019 for an estimated price ranging between $122-$222 million. Falcon.io is billed as the “social media management division” of Cision in the announcement.
8) Signal AI raises $25 million; looks beyond PR
Signal AI announced it has raised $25 million in Series C venture funding. The company has developed machine learning technology to monitor news and media.
The startup differentiates its technology by comparing it to Boolean searches, which is the conventional method for setting up searches in many media monitoring platforms. Boolean search parameters can become quite complex, depending on the brand name. For example, PR might want to exclude job listings from cluttering its news monitoring. By contrast, the Signal AI technology is “trained” as to what you want.
Signal AI says it will use the funding to grow its US presence and support its recent launch in APAC. The company also plans to look beyond PR and use the “capital to further branch out into new use cases.” We got a glimpse of this back in August when the firm showed off how it was monitoring media for changes in tax regulation for Deloitte and its customers.
The company is the quintessential startup founded by a young entrepreneur in his parent’s garage. This Series C brings the total funding raised to $43 million.
9) BurrellesLuce rebrands as Burrelles
The venerable media data services company has dropped the Luce part of its name and rebranded to just Burrelles. This makes a lot of sense because that’s how people refer to the brand currently and it matches the company URL.
The announcement also indicated the company has “significantly enhanced and expanded product offerings” and would be offering “custom reporting through partnerships with industry-leading firms.” No other details on those products were offered – and I’ve asked for some!
10) Picks from the PR tech vendor blogs
In perusing the vendor blogs, here are a few that I think deserve a shout-out. The best way to get a link here is to keep your blog up-to-date and maintain an RSS feed. You can also email me if a link if you think you have something truly compelling, but read this first, please.
“The most frequent times that syndicates were published was Sunday, 2 am ET and Sunday, 9 am ET…
Based on the data, a multimedia release can boost engagement by up to 12% and can increase follow-on articles up to 25%.”
b) 10 Ideas for Media Pitches When You Have No News to Announce via Meltwater and guest author Michelle Garrett
“Tell an origin story: ‘I always appreciate a good origin story, for example, how an established company grew or a profile of the owner,’ says tech reporter Kelly McSweeney, @kellysimonsays. ‘Talk about the history behind the brand.’”
This isn’t a blog post, but perhaps it should be. Intrado released a benchmark report that found:
“46 minutes was the average view time of a sixty-minute live webcast.”
I haven’t yet checked out the full report, but it looks interesting.
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Do you work for a PR tech vendor and have something to share? In case you missed it, there’s a page that spells it out the opportunities for you.
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Image credits: Unsplash and respective vendors