There are plenty of tools available for monitoring just about any segment of media, whether social networks, traditional media, or broadcast content. Some are free, while others carry a cost.
So, how do you decide which to use? And, more importantly, do you need an all-in-one solution or a more tailored approach?
There are a number of ways in which to choose the best tools for the job, but there’s a fundamental question that needs to be answered first: what is the objective of your monitoring program?
Here, we look at the right tools to fit the most common measurement objectives:
1. Objective: ongoing monitoring
For routine monitoring, an all-in-one solution presents a number of advantages. The benefit of these tools is that they cover a number of different media types and sources and can pull consistent information into one dashboard. This allows you to access a range of media formats and keep everything in one place. And, if the tool has the ability to export this information to a spreadsheet or other format, you’ll be able to preserve monitoring data over time, which allows you to conduct year-on-year analysis.
2. Objective: social tracking
If the focus of your activity is reaching audiences through social channels, a solution designed specifically to monitoring social media might be the right answer. Measuring social media activity generally includes tracking elements like engagement, shares and sentiment. You’ll need to look closely at what kind of additional insight can be captured, though, and make sure that you also measure out-takes and outcome metrics to determine the program’s impact and success.
3. Objective: traditional media tracking
For some programs, you may be looking for more robust traditional media tracking, while keeping an eye on social channels for message amplification. This decision will largely be based on the audience you are trying to reach. Highly targeted influencer activities, such as a public affairs, often require intensive monitoring of local traditional media across all formats, but might not merit the need for paying for a separate, stand-alone social media monitoring tool. It may be more cost-effective to pay for a tool that tracks traditional media and supplement that with free social monitoring tools, such as Talkwalker or Mention.
4. Objective: goal-orientated measurement
By now, we expect you’ve heard the message repeatedly: your measurement program needs to align with your organizational objectives. The Barcelona Principles are a helpful starting point to getting this right – setting out how to make measurement meaningful. It stands to reason then, that the tool(s) you use should make monitoring as easy and accurate as possible. When you are looking at monitoring tools, think of the organizational objectives the communications work is supporting, and make sure that the tool can provide the necessary data to meet the needs of measurement and insight.
All-in-one tools are going to be a good fit for a variety of purposes, from daily monitoring to crisis management. However, tailored solutions provide more specific, often richer, information and insight. You might only need the all-in-one for day-to-day, but you might also find it necessary to add tailored solutions to measure the impact of specific programs or activities. Finding the right solution means asking – and answering – questions that zero in on your objectives.