Measuring the World: Tips & Tactics for Global Measurement Programs

It is becoming increasingly critical to meet the needs of businesses that operate in different markets around the world. As a result, many companies are integrating global media measurement programs into their communications plans to provide a worldwide roadmap that drives future strategy.

If you are considering a similar path, here are some important steps to take your measurement program global. Many are the same that you follow in your U.S. market. But there are some stark differences that require your attention.

It is also important to note that global measurement is a big lift that requires a team to tackle.

Choosing markets and languages

Margot Savell

When setting up your global measurement program, your first step should be determining which of your markets should be measured. After that rank their order of importance based on your business and communications goals. This will help you focus your analysis, insights and recommendations on the priority markets.

The next step is to pin down the languages that are important to your industry in each market. For example, a measurement program in India might require an understanding of six languages in coverage about consumer electronics, but only one language in the technology industry.

Next, find out which media channels are used most frequently in each market. Don’t waste your time and effort on media that is not being consumed by your target audiences.

Once you have all of this information, check to make sure your listening tool has the functionality to pull coverage in those markets, languages and media channels. Every tool does not cover media sources in all countries and languages.

Finding the right tool

If you don’t already have a data license with a specific tool, reach out to several vendors to determine which one best meets your needs. Many options are available; for example, one tool offers coverage in 40 countries and 80 languages, while another spans 186 languages in 190 countries.

In addition, some tools provide online coverage only, while others access data from television, radio and print, in addition to online. As well, be sure to check how many media sources are included—I’ve seen ranges from 2,000 to 2 million depending on the number of media channels, countries and languages available in each tool.

Translating keywords and results

After you finalize the priority markets, languages, media sources and tools, the next step is to set up keywords and search strings in all languages important to your global measurement program. The best choice is to have a native speaker in each language translate the keywords for you. An additional benefit: Analysts on the ground in different countries also have the advantage of being able to interpret the data from a local perspective, with an understanding of the resident issues, challenges and cultures.

If you lack native speakers in your organization, this step can be outsourced to PR agencies or research companies that have a global presence.

A less-desirable option is to use a free tool to translate your keywords and search strings. Such tools also can be used to translate coverage results. Should you take this route, however, the best practice is to use more than one translation tool to make sure the context is accurate. I have seen analysis based on only one tool, which provided a translation that was out of context and made no sense in conjunction with the report itself.

Validating data

Data is inherently messy. It’s more so when coverage is in different languages. For example, one company discovered that its stock market ticker formed an unrelated word in Spanish. Additional qualifiers had to be added to its search strings to eliminate that coverage.

Be sure to plan for extra time to validate and optimize your results to eliminate unnecessary noise, ensuring that the data is clean, relevant and consistent in each language and country.

Visualizing data

Global data, like domestic figures, can be sliced and diced in several ways, depending on your PR strategies in each country. For example, if your PR activities are consistent across markets, identical metrics can be applied to each. This will demonstrate a global view of how each country stacks up against others and can showcase performance successes around the world.

But when different strategies and tactics are developed for each country, as is often the case, consistent analytics and data visualization gets a bit trickier. Coverage volume and other metrics cannot be applied equally across markets because some have unique PR activities. For example, one country might focus on a video program, so video metrics such as views come into play. Another country might activate an Instagram and Twitter program, where the metrics are quite different.

In these cases, comparing metrics across markets is unlikely to yield an accurate global view of performance. It might be more helpful to equate coverage of key messages or topics in different countries. Perhaps comparing results and outcomes from campaigns or launches is the answer.

Customizing your program

In summary, your global measurement program must be customized for countries, languages, metrics and visualizations. Look for global trends and overarching themes when analyzing the data to see what is generating attention in the global media landscape. This will enable you to uncover your high-impact markets across the globe. It also will unveil opportunities to revise strategies and build brand awareness for the most important industry topics in each country.

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