At CLIP Mediaservice we offer monitoring services for print, radio & TV and social media as well as editorial online monitoring. Search results are found using a custom-programmed search engine and sent out to our customers daily – or, upon request, as a news alert.
There are several ways to get online editorial coverage. On the one hand you can read the most important daily newspapers yourself or subscribe to their websites via RSS feed. One of the most popular known tools is Google Alerts. This free tool from Google allows you to subscribe to the results of a Google search via email or RSS.
In the following we would like to introduce keypoints of a professional media monitoring and Google Alerts and to express our views on the advantages and disadvantages of both options.
Speed of information transfer and form of delivery
Both Google Alerts and media monitoring provide real-time information about online articles. However, the delivery form of Google Alerts is limited. You can choose between an RSS feed and email, however, the email frequency is limited to: at publication, once a day or once a week. A separate email is then sent for every keyword searched for. In addition, Google Alerts can only be sent to one email address. If the emails are to be sent to other colleagues, a separate Google alert must be set up for each address, if the original recipient does not forward every email individually.
Whereas media monitoring offers delivery of clippings via XML or HTML in addition to RSS feeds and email delivery. The frequency can be selected freely. For example, you can choose a news alert or certain times of delivery. The results of all keywords are collected and sent together and can be sent to a larger mailing list.
Relevance of sources and content
When trying to obtain useful results with Google Alerts, you have to accept many hits with little or irrelevant content and possibly even old hits. A targeted search is difficult to carry out with Google Alerts, because the search query itself is limited. And when it comes to sources, a restriction through Google is hardly possible or very cumbersome.
Compared to Google, professional media monitoring companies have better options available for filtering. Using a Boolean search, restrictions can be made in the search profile, word combinations can be easily observed, even a thematic search is possible with the right search programming. In addition, media monitoring has a great deal of experience in online monitoring, resulting in good and relevant search results. A source or media restriction under various aspects is easily achievable.
Processing of information
Google Alerts are only partially suitable for further processing of information. Only an email or the RSS feed with the raw data is received. Google Alerts neither allows for indexing nor proper archiving. An automated analysis is not featured in Google Alerts and also the possibility of exporting data for easy further processing into another format (for example Excel) does not exist.
When obtaining the services of a media monitoring company online clippings are transmitted with further metadata, such as range (based on ÖWA-data). In addition, the possibility of assigning different subject baskets contributes to a more efficient reading. An obvious key advantage of professional media monitoring is the archive for the clippings, where customers have various options for editing, such as indexing, comment fields, intranet integration, export to various formats and much more. Individual analysis results, such as tonality, can be stored in the archive or an analysis can be commissioned directly with the media monitoring company.
Monitoring setup and support
The actual setup of Google Alerts is a fairly simple task. When searching only for a simple keyword and sending the results to only one email address, a Google Alert is set up relatively quickly. However, a Google Alerts account can quickly become confusing while handling complex queries, many keywords, and multiple recipients. This account must be maintained regularly and the alerts must be kept up to date (for example, when the search profile or email addresses change). If difficulties should arise, support can only be found online at support.google.com/alerts. But this is more of a FAQ page since there is no direct personal contact.
When commissioning a media monitoring with online monitoring, first benefits come from the experience of the employees. This can already be an advantage when setting up the monitoring, as the media monitoring staff can assist in fine-tuning the search profile. Through their experience, they knowing when it makes sense to restrict keywords and when it is better to widen a search. Finally, human support is valuable should questions and changes arise over the course of the monitoring concerning the search profile or mailing list.