To date, I’ve written seven posts for the PR Tech Sum series – so a little more than half a year. In each one, I aim to explain in jargon-free language, what is new with the vendors making technology that helps PR pros to do their jobs.
As it’s the end of the year, the news cycle is a little slower I’ve also spent some time going back through the previous summaries and picked a few announcements that I think have potential to make an impact in our career field.
And here we go…
1) The most interesting PR tech announcements from 2019
Here are my picks for the most interesting PR tech announcements this year:
- 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. See item #1 here for more.
- Cision unveils retargeting for earned media audiences. Cision is working with adtech companies to allow PR (or their peers in digital marketing) to launch retargeting campaigns based on earned media. In other words, all of the information Cision learns about who is reading your coverage can be used to define a target audience for a paid campaign. Detailed briefing here.
- Meltwater improves sentiment analysis. The company is “moving away from document-based sentiment to sentence based sentiment. This means each sentence of an article or post is evaluated individually and gets its own sentiment (positive, negative, neutral).” This granularity promises to provide better sentiment analysis in its media monitoring tool. See item #2 here for more.
- Onclusive acquires Ozmotik to amplify earned media. Onclusive announced the acquisition of Ozmotik which will help PR discern which earned media is the most valuable. Next, it can “automatically deliver this content to more of its target audience using digital media amplification.” See item #1 here for more – or this detailed briefing here.
Are there any that stood out for you?
2) Cision Q3 earnings and profit up
Cision announced its Q3 earnings earlier this month and the numbers looked better compared to the same period last year:
- Revenue grew 4.7% to $185.7 million;
- Operating income grew 46.3% to $20.6 million; and
- Net income landed at $2.4 million versus a loss of $6.2 million.
The company was rather muted in this earning announcement, stating it would “not be holding a conference call to review third quarter 2019 financial results.” Last month the company announced plans to be acquired by a PE firm, which has since become the subject of at least three law firm investigations (1, 2, 3).
I have no idea if these investigations have merit, but a law firm that puts out a press release announcing an investigation looks like a fishing expedition to me. Candidly, I’m not excited about another PE firm snapping the company up, but if the deal goes through, it’s a premium for investors and there isn’t another company I can currently envision buying Cision.
Disclosure: I own 25 shares in CISN. My main motive for buying the shares was to track the company, for this column, and out of personal interest in the PR technology space. If I sold these right now, I would stand to earn about $80 in short term capital gains – less taxes of course.
3) The mainstream media is back with influence
Cision and PRWeek published the results of a third annual global survey of PR professionals. Among the findings, about one-third (34%) of the 527 respondents say their media budget goes toward earned media, which up from 26% from the same survey last year.
Other findings highlighted included 60% of respondents said mainstream journalists wielded the most influence on consumer behavior – more than other consumers, bloggers and celebrities. Accordingly, some 61% of respondents said they now focus engagement efforts on mainstream journalists which is up from the year prior. In addition, “Instagram has grown in significance, with 22% selecting it as their most important social channel, up from 9% last year, passing Twitter and closing in on Facebook in importance.”
In my assessment, the renewed focused PR is putting on mainstream PR is related to the rise in disinformation, and a growing cancer of snark in news. PR wants to work with fair and reputable reporters the same way reporters want to work with credible sources.
However, if you are looking for reporters to pitch on Instagram, good luck with that. Surveys of reporters show they all favor Twitter by a very wide margin.
4) Meltwater joins AWS Data Exchange
Meltwater has plugged into the AWS Data Exchange, which makes the news and monitoring information it captures, available by subscription on the AWS platform. The advantage of the data exchange is that you can use Amazon’s machine learning tools to analyze it.
“With the market calling for more external data to complement internal datasets, AWS Data Exchange customers can now leverage Meltwater’s data to enhanced visibility into the world around them, so that they can make better informed decisions,” according to Stephen Orban, General Manager, AWS Data Exchange, Amazon Web Services, Inc.
Buyers on AWS Data Exchange will not be the quintessential PR customer Meltwater usually serves. In fact, the release points to various potential customers from across verticals such as entertainment to healthcare to the investment community.
So, take the investment community for example. They host financial data in AWS and subscribe to a Meltwater feed – have Amazon’s machine learning crunch the data to assess the impact of news coverage and sentiment on stock prices.
As the press release says, “investors can identify potential trading opportunities by tracking daily changes in media coverage and sentiment for companies, and rebalance portfolios based on shifting sentiment and business event patterns across different industry verticals.”
“Historically, we have provided PR and Communications departments with the insights they need to stay ahead, but with the launch of our derived data sets available on AWS Data Exchange, we bring this expertise to departments such as business intelligence, competitive intelligence, marketing and legal, who can leverage this data and create insights to their advantage,” said Leor Distenfeld, Executive Director of Outside Insight at Meltwater.
Meltwater also wrote a blog post with a little more detail – and AWS has a 3-minute video that explains the data exchange conceptually, keep in mind Meltwater is just one of the data providers, albeit the first one from the PR tech community.
5) Picks from the PR tech vendor news blogs
Here are a few picks from the vendor blogs worth a read. If you are a vendor, the best way to get a link here is to keep your blog up-to-date and maintain an RSS feed (some of you don’t!) You can also email me if a link if you think you have something truly compelling, but read this first, please.
“…social mentions around influencer marketing are on the decline, dropping 42 percent…mentions of fake influencers are also on the rise…could mark a turning point regarding how marketers manage their influencer campaigns, suggesting the growing use of micro and nano influencers…”
“We know that earned content is more persuasive than paid media, yet we keep investing in paid media rather than earned content. How could that be?”
“IT professionals play the most impactful role in the enterprise purchase process.”
“Twitter understands the importance of standing out from the crowd. They do this by developing a distinct social media identity for IR, separate from their corporate profile that focuses on product and customer service.”
“If I know you and have met you, I’m more likely to read your email past the first line and pass it along to a reporter if it’s something we’d potentially cover. I’m interested in invitations to interview execs at major publicly traded tech companies, and to small or unusual evening events with interesting and influential people.”
“I recommend a minimum of 15-20 hashtags per post and getting as close to 30 relevant hashtags as possible.”
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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: Unpslash and the cited Cision/PRWeek survey