Rayna de Lange, Head of Media Evaluation at A Data Pro, shares in this post her key takeaways from the 47th FIBEP World Media Intelligence Congress that took place last month in Vienna (17-20 November). Furthermore, Rayna shares her insights about what is driving change in the area of media monitoring and analysis in her region, what are the most common measurement mistakes she encounters when interacting with clients and what does she consider as biggest challenge ahead for measurement. We posed these questions to Rayna in an email interview.
Q: What are your key takeaways from the 47th FIBEP World Media Intelligence Congress in Vienna, 17-20 November?
RdL: Our industry showed in practice no fear from the terrorist attacks in Paris which happened just the weekend before – there were no cancellations for that reason; all our colleagues from Paris, as well as from all over the world arrived while the European governments were gathering in panic to discuss the situation and tourists were withdrawing bookings globally.
The big picture: despite the grim outlook on the global economy described by economists just at the start of the congress, the media intelligence industry seems to witness growth and boast optimistic outlook. This is also in line with my personal view of the general business development – along with all projects and new opportunities flooding into most sector companies, I have been observing a trend of many upcoming start-ups. And I am talking about start-ups not only on the technology side (which has been a stable trend for years now, driven by the Internet and the social media) but also in the consultancy and the human-analysis segment. After the strong consolidation in the industry in the last couple of years, this new trend comes to say we see market demand, believe in the future of our business and keep investing in it.
Apart from that, the technology segment in media monitoring and specifically in social-media listening once again proved to be the vital part of the industry with big players as Brandwatch, Talkwalker and pressrelations presenting and many start-ups underway.
Another thing which I consider an industry fact has been confirmed – no matter that we all know technology in the communications measurement and evaluation is the future, the humans’ role into the analysis area is still acknowledged as the big differentiator in our industry. Technology cannot deliver valuable insights without experienced open-minded people “translating” and making sense of the data. Talking about analysis, another trend I’ve been noticing –analysts are no longer enough to be “media statisticians”, or sticking only to what they’ve read in the media; clients now require us to open our minds, use all our background, common sense, brains and intelligence and tell them what the data and insights mean, how to behave towards the audience and what to expect in the future.
RdL: When I arrived in Vienna (my first FIBEP congress) I kept on hearing this “FIBEP is a family” thing. At the beginning it just sounded as a cliché. Don’t get me wrong, I really felt among friends as I knew most of the delegates as I am a regular delegate at the AMEC events, so it wasn’t that I felt uncomfortable or a stranger in this environment. Yet, in the course of the 4-day congress in Vienna I actually started realizing why people were talking about FIBEP as of a family. Yes, they did know each other well for generations now, and yes, they knew each other’s kids, wives and husbands. What I was really impressed by was the extremely warm and friendly atmosphere they created – an atmosphere in which I felt as a family member rather than as a dear guest at someone’s home. So, this is FIBEP so far to me – family, friends with whom it would be a pleasure to do business. Thank you so much for that Mazen Nahawi, Sophia Karakeva, Daniel Schaible, Romina Gersuni, Christophe Dickès and all of you my friends!
Q: In the area of media monitoring, what would you highlight as the most significant findings in your region?
RdL: As the person who launched Perceptica, the media analytics brand of A Data Pro, together with my colleagues we were among the pioneers in the media evaluation sector in South Eastern Europe and especially in Bulgaria – a market which recognized only traditional media monitoring (clipping) and had neither intentions nor budgets to embrace the media analysis methods. That was back in 2010. Now this is still a market where media monitoring is “the king”, however, social-media listening and partly analysis of both social and traditional media is getting pace. Imagine how much energy and efforts it took to educate such a market from scratch. And while the local communications sector has been slow and reluctant in developing towards accepting the media analysis as an evaluation instrument, we have been lucky to be finding great multilingual analysts, mostly young, with big potential and various backgrounds. Analysts who form a new generation -tech-and social-media savvy, interested, perceptive and unprejudiced towards the old. So, in short, our region’s big advantage are people, the rest is education, education, education.
Q: What is the most common measurement mistake you encounter when interacting with your clients and how to change this?
RdL: I think it won’t be a surprise to anyone if I say that most of our clients do not realize that the analysis metrics should be exclusively linked to their communications and organizational strategy and very specific to their industry and business cases. Otherwise, all our work becomes useless – if an evaluation project doesn’t measure the appropriate communications against the appropriate goals, it cannot help spotting the trends of interest, identifying gaps or successes, and building up a meaningful communications strategy. Media evaluation cannot be and should not be standard (which should not say we are not supposed to strive for industry standards, but this is another big theme) it must be tailored to goals and strategies.
Q: What do you see as measurement’s biggest challenge ahead?
RdL: Integrated analysis, predictive analytics, social-media forecasting and proving social-media ROI in communications. Measuring the impact of social media on sales and business results in general, thus proving its ROI, is often described as The Holy Grail of Social-Media Evaluation. Because that’s what all CEOs ask for – what is the social-media value to my business…but please use numbers. Because the future in communications measurement is now more than ever focused on integrated metrics that align much closer to corporate strategy and go beyond standard media analysis.
The biggest challenge in this respect appears to be structuring scientifically justifiable methods that could be applied in various industries and on multiple business cases. So, we are all testing and trying. Exciting times…
Q: Any closing moments?
RdL: I think globalization in the media intelligence industry should not be perceived as something negative. Generally speaking this term brings about some negativity as it calls for lack of identity, neglecting cultural differences and no respect for individualities. However, thanks to the driving powers in our business – digital and social media – nowadays any local media monitoring supplier can become a global player with the proper technology and expertise in place. And any small analytics firm with a multilingual, skillful and open-minded workforce can grow into a global provider of media intelligence.
Knowing the people working in our industry I believe this is possible, because we dare to jump into the unknown. And no matter our industry is heading more and more towards technologies, in the end, these are just the tools, and not the tools but the human brain is the driving force behind any innovation and development.
About Rayna de Lange, Head of Media Evaluation, A Data Pro
Rayna is an analyst, consultant and an entrepreneur. She is the founder of Perceptica, the media analytics brand of A Data Pro, head of the global media evaluation business of A Data Pro, author and mentor of numerous business strategies, methodologies and projects in the media intelligence field. Rayna is working actively to help the industry advance as a member of AMEC’s Social Media Measurement group and as a lecturer on media evaluation in the University of Sofia and the University of Plovdiv. Her background includes managing various business and financial news groups at SeeNews and setting up Bulgaria’s directorates-general for translation and communication at the European Parliament.
A Data Pro is a worldwide provider of high value-added data processing solutions and capabilities, real-time business information, market and investment intelligence, and media evaluation services with over 15 years of experience. We are the owner of the SeeNews and Perceptica brands, bringing value to our clients with highly qualified and skilled knowledge workers and project managers. The company employs more than 350 people working in 30+ languages, 24/7, located in our offices in Bulgaria’s major university centers of Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo and Plovdiv. OUR MISSION IS TO MAKE SENSE OF INFORMATION