SEMrush goes IPO; Meltwater acquires Linkfluence; G2 names best media monitoring solutions; Critical Mention adds GA integration; Vetted is generally availability
This time last year was the first PR Tech Sum published after the Coronavirus was declared a global pandemic. I took a quick look back to review what was going on then, and thought the subhead accurately summarizes that snapshot in time:
Some PR technology vendors have made pandemic-related announcements, but there’s a bit of “business as usual” too.
At the time, I remember thinking, as many did, that the crisis wouldn’t last much longer than perhaps June or July. Little did we know we’d be in that place for more than a year.
Things are definitely picking up though and from where I sit, there’s a renewed sense of optimism across the PR and marketing community. More daylight and warmer temperatures certainly help, but so too does the vaccine role out.
To that end, there’s a little bit of everything in this month’s PR Tech Sum.
1. SEMrush goes IPO
SEMrush started trading on the NYSE under the ticker SEMR on March 29, 2021. The firm sold 10 million shares priced at $14, which was fewer shares and at a lower price than initially forecast. However, the company did raise $140 million in cash, minus expenses, according to Seeking Alpha.
The publication also said, SEMrush “reported a $7 million net loss for 2020 on $124.9 million of revenues, improving on 2019’s $10.2 million of red ink on $92.01 million in sales.”
SEMrush is better known for its SEO tools, but it moved into PR last year with the acquisition of Prowly in 2020. The war chest they raised with this IPO makes SEMrush a credible competitive threat to the incumbents in PR.
One of the things SEO tools can do, that most media monitoring solutions cannot, is detect backlinks. That is when one site links to your site – and doesn’t mention your brand by name. Traditionally, backlinks were more valuable than mentions alone, although some technical SEOs say that’s starting to change. Either way, every PR pro should want to know when their company or client earns a new backlink.
SEMrush has had an impressive streak in the SEO space. Where Moz was once the undisputed leader among SEO tools, SEMrush has challenged that thinking. Although it’s been a while since I read it, I seem to recall Rand Fishkin, who founded Moz, crediting SEMrush with topping Moz in his book Lost and Founder.
Still domain authority, or DA, which was created by Rand and others at Moz, is the industry standard in PR. You’ll find DA integrated into several of the mainstream media monitoring platforms familiar to PR. SEMrush has something comparable it calls an authority score.
2. Meltwater acquires Linkfluence
Meltwater said it agreed to acquire Linkfluence, a French company with software that uses artificial intelligence to mine social media for consumer insights. The price tag is roughly $59 million (USD) at today’s exchange rates “in a combination of cash, equity, and earn-out.
According to the announcement, Linkfluence earned about $20 million in sales in 2020. Meltwaters says, excluding earn-out, it’s paying about two-times 2020 revenue – half in cash and half in new (Meltwater) stock shares.
Linkfluence was founded in 2006 has 150 employees in seven offices, with headquarters in Paris. Its software is sold as a subscription-based service.
The Linkfluence product helps “brands to identify buyer communities online and understand how to activate them, see how a brand is associated with certain topics or values to measure brand perception as well as detect and monitor trends or analyze customer experience.”
This mark’s the ninth acquisition by Meltwater since 2016, and the first since it went public on the Euronext Growth Oslo stock exchange in 2020. Meltwater says “acquisition is part of Meltwater’s growth strategy, which involves investments and acquisitions in the social media segment.
The two-minute video nearby is a solid case study that provides a quick overview of Linkfluence.
3. G2 names best media monitoring solutions for 2021
The grid that G2 produces, “G2 scores products and sellers based on reviews gathered from our user community, as well as data aggregated from online sources and social networks.”
You should look at some of the solutions on the grid if you are in the market for media monitoring.
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4. Critical Mention adds Google Analytics integration
Critical Mention rolled out integration for Google Analytics. This allows users to review “Google Analytics website metrics alongside mentions in reports to understand the impact of earned media on web traffic and conversions.”
The company, which made its name initially as a media monitoring tool, has made substantial strides towards becoming and an all-in-one solution for the PR profession. Last year the company added a media database and podcast monitoring.
With podcasts, in particular, it’s the only all-in-one solution I’m aware of with a homegrown podcast monitoring feature. Every other solution integrates podcast monitoring from TVEyes.
5. Vetted is generally availability
Vetted said it “emerged from beta” with some 65 users. The company aims to connect sources it has vetted – with journalists.
Sources pay a fee if they are included in a published article. The company’s fees range “from $350 to $600 depending on the size and reputation of the media outlet in which experts are quoted.”
In a statement, the company said its solution “is currently used by journalists at ABC News, Forbes, Bloomberg, USA Today, San Diego Union-Tribune, and American Business Journals.”
Vetted co-founder and CEO Jon Amar also owns a PR consultancy.
6. PR tech mentions
- Proof Analytics says it partnered with Salesforce. “Proof has done for analytics what Tableau did for data visualization. We see Proof as the ‘missing piece’ to deliver true closed-loop marketing,” according to a press release. Proof was founded by Mark Stouse who made a name in the PR industry as the top comms person for BMC Software.
- Innodata, which owns Agility PR Solutions, said it had amended its “statement of work with one of the world’s leading social media platforms to provide up to $7.0 million in AI services in 2021. The company said it provides “product classification, sentiment analysis, misinformation and toxicity identification, and trends representation. The social network was not named and it’s not clear if the technology providing this belongs to Agility or another brand in the Innodata portfolio. An email requesting clarification to the company was not answered.
- Business Insider, citing anonymous sources, reported that Cision may be pondering spinning off PR Newswire. I think the publication is being used: fueling rumors that lead to a story is a way to kick off the search for a buyer, or drive bidding. Cision acquired PR Newswire in 2015 for $841 million.
- PRophet says it uses AI to forecast whether or not a reporter will be interested in a story. However, this month, its agency admitted in writing it pitched this blogger on an announcement using Muck Rack, which, in my opinion, is a competitive product. PRophet shares roots with its agency as the founder of both companies is the same person.
7. Articles, blog posts and content picks
- An analysis of 650,000 pitches by Propel finds Forbes, Business Insider and The Wall Street Journal are the most pitched publication in the U.S. However, the WSJ opens email pitches about 80% of the time, while the Business Insider opens about 60% of the pitches. It appears Forbes opens even fewer.
- 94% of reporters prefer to receive pitches by email according to The State of Journalism 2021 by Muck Rack. See my take here: How 2,400 reporters use social media for reporting.
- “While COVID-19 has boosted digital interactions, consumers have been looking for more human contact & support in their brand experiences,” according to the State of Conversation report by Talkwalker and Trustpilot.
- “Around 78% of our surveyed journalists agreed that there is a greater need to verify facts and information today versus in the past,” according to Business Wire.
- Meltwater spells out the ins-and-outs of media monitoring and competitive intelligence.
- Product analytics is surpassing net promotors scores as a measure of customer experience (CX) according to the Bulldog Reporter at Agility PR Solutions.
- Activist investors are back in full force, according to a study by investor relations platform Q4.
- The pandemic put trust to the test, says Burrelles, which also cites yours truly in their analysis.
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