To the delight of PR service providers—and indicative of their increasing value to the public relations industry—spend on media intelligence software and information solutions by PR pros surged to over $4.1 billion in 2018, according to a new report from Burton-Taylor International Consulting, part of the TP ICAP group. This figure represents double-digit growth from the prior year.
According to the report, Cision and Meltwater lead a growing list of companies focused on the information needs of PR and corpcomms pros, offering services for media monitoring, media analysis and other related tasks. A series of acquisitions helped both of those companies to grow their market share in 2018, but other independent players are fueling their growth more organically.
What’s driving growth?
Industry growth continues to be driven by increased spend on tracking and analyzing social media, with Sprinklr, Salesforce, Hootsuite and UK-based Brandwatch among the pack, the research finds. Social media is 2018’s biggest driver, as Burton-Taylor reports that the media intelligence industry grew mid-single-digit in 2018 if social wasn’t counted.
In addition, suppliers of influencer marketing platforms such as Traackr and HYPR are also starting to gain traction and contribute to industry growth.
“This market is still evolving very rapidly and it is by no means clear who will emerge as the most successful suppliers,” said report contributor Chris Porter, director at Porter Walford Consulting and a consultant to Burton-Taylor, in a news release.
Opportunity comes with responsibility
In an increasingly crowded marketplace, vendors must put their best foot forward to win and maintain business, particularly in the areas of usability and customer service. Recent user reviews on G2 Crowd and other third-party feedback sites clearly indicate that PR pros and firms prefer to give their business to the tech providers that are easy to do business with.
“In the last few months, we have seen Cision acquire fast-growing digital PR solutions provider TrendKite and social media platform provider Falcon.io. Meltwater has had a global recapitalization,” Porter added. “A majority stake in Kantar is for sale. Isentia has launched a new strategy. Major communications technology provider West Corp, which entered the market last year, is already making further acquisition moves. This is a very keenly contested space and everything is still to play for.”
“The companies we track are often not in public ownership or do not fully disclose details of their Media Intelligence business,” said Douglas B. Taylor, founder and managing director of Burton-Taylor, in the release. “This report provides unique data and insights into the market and the strategies of leading and emerging players, to help business professionals and investors make more informed business decisions about where to put their money.”