Media Tour Reports- Not All Impressions Impress

While listening to a podcast by one of my favorite radio shows (sports/comedy based The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on ESPN), I was fascinated by an interview with Kevin Brilliant, Chicago Bulls Business Strategy & Analytics Manager. Their discussion of a behavioral economics theory immediately translated to the experiences many PR agencies and brands associate with satellite media tours – and specifically post tour reports.

But before diving into the application, here’s a bit of background on the Peak-End Rule:

The Peak-End Rule is a principal from psychology that describes how we all perceive and remember experiences. It states that a person will remember and gauge any experience by the “peak” of the experience, and the end.

Here’s what that means: the “peak” of an experience is the point in the interaction that varies the most from the “norm.” In other words, that’s emotionally either the highest, or lowest, point of the experience. The other key moment is the end of the experience.

If applying what Bill Cusick surmised above in Retail Customer Experience to a project with a satellite media tour vendor, the peak of the engagement is the actual tour (SMT, RMT, etc.) and the end is naturally the final report of airings.

While much work goes into the coordination of a satellite media tour (strategy, media relations, technical logistics, etc.), many tours are judged solely on the day of execution and the final report handed off to a client. Many broadcast PR companies pride themselves on flawless tour executions based on years of experience, but there is a major difference in the way audience reports and impressions are presented.

Media Tour 4.png

With the continued public relations debate on impressions, here are 4 transparency questions to ask when scrutinizing media tour reports:

  1. Can you confirm this interview aired?  If a station takes the time to conduct an interview and value is provided during the segment, then the vast majority of taped interviews make it to air. With monitoring services and tools, it’s easy to find most clips and airchecks. However, some stations are not monitored so there is a reliance (and trust) on a producer’s email confirmation of airing. As with any earned media, there is always a chance an interview never clears for any number of reasons including breaking news or too much branding.
  1. How did you calculate the TV audience number?  Broadcast monitoring services typically include a Nielsen audience number based on Average Half Hour Viewership for TV clips. These numbers fluctuate based on market size and the station’s ratings during that time period. It’s not uncommon for SMT vendors to use a multiplier. If your client demands highly accurate numbers, ask if a multiplier is used in the report.
  1. Are the radio audience numbers based on Average Quarter Hour (AQH) or Weekly Cume?  As a former radio talk show host, this is a particular pet peeve of mine. My career and paychecks were determined by radio ratings, and I could debate the methodology all day. However, it is what it is. Personally, I believe the number that should be provided is the AQH. If it’s a 10 minute radio interview, then the best measurement is an audience number based on 15 minutes in an hour. But, many RMT and SMT reports share weekly cume, which represents the total number of people listening during a daypart (6a-10a) Monday through Friday. This is obviously a much larger number and not representative of who actually heard the interview on a Tuesday at 7:20a.
  1. Why is the online number so large?  In addition to television and radio bookings, many SMTs now incorporate interviews with online outlets often resulting in a story write up and a video. The corresponding metric associated with the coverage is often left to interpretation. Unique Visitors Per Month (UVM) to the website has quickly become the standard for further slicing and dicing to reach a more accurate impression number. Many brands will take a UVM and divide it by 30 with the belief the story will live on the front page of a website for one day. So if a website has a UVM of 9,000,000, then it is likely 300,000 visitors saw the story in some form.

When evaluating satellite media tour companies, keep the Peak-End Rule in mind. But never assume. Ask for examples of outstanding executions and final reports.

You might discover that in the end, not all impressions impress…

At 4media Group, we pride ourselves in transparent reporting…Like to chat about your next project?

Mastering the Art of Brand Mentions in Media ToursWhy Quality Media Coverage Is Possible During the Holidays