The new year is almost here bringing all sorts of opportunities and challenges with it. Before we get too carried away, though, let’s take a moment to look back on 2018. Here are the most popular stories among readers of the PR Measured newsletter over the past year. Unsurprisingly, this year’s big stories were focused around AI, Google and all of those deals.
January: Edelman Trust Barometer shows demise of media
Back in January, Edelman produced its Trust Barometer – the results of a survey of 33,000 respondents across 28 countries. The 2018 Trust Barometer highlighted a very significant issue for communicators. For the first time media is the least trusted institution globally. The lack of confidence in the Fourth Estate was driven primarily by a significant drop in trust in platforms, notably search engines and social media. (Given all that’s happened in 2018, it’ll be interesting to see how social media fares in the next survey.)
Deals: West Corp announced its intention to acquire Nasdaq’s PR Solutions and Digital Media Services business for approximately $US335 million. Talkwalker was acquired by Marlin Equity Partners for an undisclosed sum. Lone Buffalo was picked up K.C. Brown.
February: Cision announces 2017 revenue of around $US631 million, debt of $US1,183 million
In February, Cision reported revenues estimated to be between $US631.0 million and $US631.5 million a Net Income (loss) of between $(USD111.7 million) and $(USD116.1 million) in 2017. The release of the unaudited fourth quarter and full year financial results also stated that Cision’s net debt as of December 31, 2017 was approximately $US1,183 million.
Deals: Infomedia announced the acquisition of Norway’s Opoint Technology. Falcon.io, the Danish social media listening and engagement platform, acquired Komfo. Ebiquity announced the sale of its Advertising Intelligence division to Nielsen. Zignal Labs raised $US30 million in funding.
March: 20 best social media monitoring tools, by Buffer
The team at Buffer put together a list of the 20 best social media monitoring tools. It probably came as no surprise that Buffer tops a list it compiled itself. However, it has produced a supporting Google Sheet that contains a breakdown of all the competitive information you need.
Deals: Meltwater acquired DataSift. Paragon Partners bought a majority stake in Unicepta. Hootsuite entered into a credit financing agreement for up to US$50 million in growth capital from CIBC Innovation Banking.
April: Journalist database casts a “chill over press freedom”
In April, readers enjoyed a trip to conspiracy town. Bloomberg Law reported that the DHS had issued a request for information “to monitor…news sources around the world and compile a database of journalists … bloggers to identify top ‘media influencers’.” The story prompted a rapid and alarmed response from a wide range of major media. Tyler Houlton, the DHS press secretary, tweeted “this is…standard practice of monitoring current events in the media. Any suggestion otherwise is fit for tin foil hat wearing, black helicopter conspiracy theorists”.
Deals: Meltwater announced the purchase of Sysomos.
May: GDPR hits Klout & US news sites.
Klout, the controversial influencer metric service, closed down on May 25, with GDPR being one reason for the closure. In addition, a number of US-based news websites restricted access to European readers. Among the sites refusing access are Tronc-owned media, including the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. The issue means that Europe-based media monitoring organisations are unable to secure content from blocked sites if scraping from Europe, nor are EU-based customers able to view content when it can be captured.
June: Measurement Maturity Mapper introduced at the AMEC Summit
AMEC’s annual summit on communications measurement never fails to deliver new thinking on measurement. In 2018, AMEC’s introduction of the Measurement Maturity Mapper generated the most interest.
Deals: Signal Media announced that it raised $US16 million in a Series B round of funding.
July: Google announced new products
The Facebook / Cambridge Analytica story covered the front pages, but readers were interested in the slew of announcements at Google Cloud Next, including some interesting new machine learning data products and the announcement of Google’s Measurement Partners.
Deals: TrendKite made its first acquisitions, picking up Insightpool and Union Metrics. Cision acquired the technical assets of Share IQ. Crowd Analyzer, the Arabic-focused social media monitoring platform, has raised $1.1 million in a pre-series A round.
August: Meltwater launched Fairhair.ai
Meltwater announced the launch of Fairhair.ai, a “comprehensive insights platform that gives access to millions of online data sources and trillions of data points –connected by a knowledge graph – and provides the means to extract outside insights with advanced, pre-trained and customizable AI models”. Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Oxford have both announced plans to use the technology across various research initiatives.
September: Google Data Studio
Google Data Studio was released following its very long beta testing. The data visualisation tool sources data from existing Google properties, such as Google Analytics or the Google Marketing suite. In addition, and more interestingly for those of us in media analytics, the Data Studio integrates external data.
October: Reuters: Hootsuite reportedly up for sale
Reuters reported that Hootsuite is exploring a sale that provides a valuation of at least $USD750 million. Unnamed sources have stated that the company is generating annual revenues of $150 million. Bloomberg confirmed that Hootsuite has hired Goldman Sachs to explore the sale. According to sources, the company may still opt to go public.
Deals: Brandwatch and Crimson Hexagon announced plans to merge. Ipsos acquired Synthesio for “over $USD50 million”. pressrelations completed the acquisition Media Tracking. WPP said that it was looking to sell a majority stake in Kantar Group.
November: AMEC Measurement Month
AMEC’s Measurement Maturity Mapper was unveiled during Measurement Month in November, but it was the organisation’s release of Demonstrating the Value of PR (Part Two) that drew the most interest from readers. The eBook, edited by Quantum’s Jesper Andersen, outlines the latest thinking in measurement from a range of practitioners and academics.
December: Cision focuses on the art market
In case you missed them, here’s a quick recap of some of December’s stories:
- Cision has joined forces with Artprice to launch Artpress agency – the world’s leading press agency dedicated to Art Market information the world.
- Sprout Social received $40 million in Series-D funding.
- Frost & Sullivan recognises Sprinklr, with the 2018 North America Customer Value Leadership Award for its full-spectrum social customer experience management platform, Experience Cloud.
- Forrester reports on Crisis Communication & Mass Notifications solutions, naming Blackberry AtHoc, Zignal Labs and VaporStream among leaders.
Don’t forget to let us know about your measurement moments. Email us – firstname.lastname@example.org.