PR Research

Only nine per cent of UK PR agencies believe they have a reliable social media monitoring service

Date: 29 October 2012 09:32

Social media monitoring is no easy task. The technological and logistical challenges are significant. Kantar Media company Press Index has just published a survey on social media and media monitoring practices in public relations agencies across Europe, and it paints a mixed picture.

Clemence de Termont heads up Press Index in the UK. She believes that the results suggests PR agencies may be spending too much time on this task and need to review whether they are getting the most out of their current media monitoring solutions.

UK PR agencies are the least confident about monitoring tools. As de Termont explains: “Most of those surveyed believe they have the necessary tools to effectively monitor the media, but In the UK only 53 per cent of respondents share such confidence, reflecting a more advanced and demanding market."

Do you believe you have a reliable service for monitoring social media?

Source: How do PR agencies monitor the media?, Press Index

In social networks, agencies have identified a new source of intelligence not yet measurable by reliable indicators. In fact 80 per cent of those surveyed were unsure that they have an effective monitoring solution for social media. Two countries were convinced that they do not have an effective solution: the UK (41 per cent) and Spain (36 per cent). Andy Black, head of digital at PR consultancy Whiteoaks, explains here the importance of measuring social media activity.

Which services do you use to monitor the media?

Source: How do PR agencies monitor the media?, Press Index

That Google stands on the top step of the podium of media monitoring tools is hardly surprising. But in a world where information proliferates, is it enough? Not according to de Termont: “Our survey finds that agencies find it necessary to rely on a specialist service for their media monitoring. Google appears more as a complement to – not a substitute for – the work done by monitoring specialists. Comprehensive monitoring of print, web, broadcast and social media cannot be carried out using search engines alone. The proliferation of media and data sources requires deeper monitoring, demanding the expertise of these essential providers.”

The third and fourth most popular methods of monitoring are Twitter and Facebook, social networks that make necessary the analysis and identification of strong signals.

What causes you most frustration about media monitoring?

Source: How do PR agencies monitor the media?, Press Index

According to de Termont, the proliferation and fragmentation of media sources generates concerns, and even frustrations across all of Europe: “61 per cent of Spaniards and 58 per cent of French report not receiving complete media coverage. 45 per cent of British agencies want comprehensive monitoring covering all media, both on and off-line. It seems that agencies are looking for information that is both comprehensive and relevant, informed by strong analysis and yet delivered at speed.”

Would you be interested in a media monitoring solution that includes comprehensive social media?

Source: How do PR agencies monitor the media?, Press Index

Uncertain about the effectiveness of their social intelligence strategy, agencies are potentially working ineffectively and now seek a monitoring tool that also covers social media. A desire to capture comprehensive coverage motivates both the British (90 per cent) and Spaniards (88 per cent), who are calling for a single monitoring and analysis service for both mainstream and social media.

Do you use a specialist to analyse your media coverage?

Source: How do PR agencies monitor the media?, Press Index

For the analysis and evaluation of media impact, the French (44 per cent) and Spanish (59 per cent) also prefer to hire a specialised service provider. The reluctance of their British (18 per cent) and Italian (32 per cent) neighbours to do the same is explained by the persistence of a "do-it-yourself” approach. But, says de Termont, practices that make a distinction between monitoring and analysis may result in less satisfactory results than an integrated approach.


The survey was distributed via social networks and responses collected online and by telephone during the first and second quarters of 2012 in France, Spain, Italy and the UK. 240 responses were collected representing a sample of 116 different PR agencies. The full survey results are available via a downloadable report and video.

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