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Media Monitoring vs. Narrative Intelligence - What's the Difference?

May 6, 2022Evan Robert

Online media analysis is nothing new. For decades, companies like Meltwater and Hootsuite have been tracking the reach and impact of online content from every platform imaginable. This process is called media monitoring, and it can be an effective way for a company to get a pulse on where it stands in online conversations.

As the usage of social platforms has exploded, though, consuming large amounts of online data has made it more difficult for organizations to determine how they factor into an ever-growing sea of conversations.

In online media analysis, there are two major approaches to wading through the unending supply of content: analyzing chatter with media monitoring and analyzing narratives with narrative intelligence.

Defining Media Monitoring

Respona defines media monitoring as "the process of scanning public information on print or digital platforms looking for keywords on a particular topic."

Think of media monitoring as casting a wide net to catch whatever you can. Companies like Meltwater will tap in to all of the content surrounding a given keyword, much like a Google search. The media monitoring approach captures a lot of data and can give a great view of the overall state of a topic. Analyzing chatter is helpful for companies who want a high-level overview of the public’s sentiment toward their brand, competitor’s brand, or their industry as a whole.

Defining Narrative Intelligence

If media monitoring is casting a wide net, then narrative intelligence is a spear. Instead of pooling data by keyword across social platforms, the narrative analysis approach starts at the individual source level: CNN, a cybersecurity influencer, a congressman on the Energy and Commerce subcommittee. This approach produces a slightly smaller dataset that shows specific narratives being pushed, who’s pushing them, and how the narrative evolves over time.

Narrative intelligence is a larger methodology of gathering information from individual sources to produce a cohesive story. EdgeTheory’s AI-powered narrative intelligence software analyzes how conversations become narratives, how those narratives grow, and how they shape the world. It delivers results with no algorithmic bias, and works to cut out excess noise in the swell of online content.

Use Cases for Narrative Intelligence and Media Monitoring

Media monitoring and narrative intelligence are both powerful tools, each with its own specific use cases.

If a company is heavily involved in cryptocurrency, and the market takes a dive due to a new regulation, media monitoring could help that company take stock of how they and their competitors are being perceived online, how the public is viewing crypto as a whole, and more.

In that same scenario, narrative intelligence could tell you which members of congress are amplifying content around crypto, how much that narrative is being amplified by other members of congress and media, and help you participate in the conversation with artificial intelligence and data insights.

Regardless of whether a company chooses to use media monitoring or narrative intelligence, it is essential that it has one (or both). Navigating online media and gaining actionable insight from the vast amount of content is crucial for any organization to thrive in their industry.

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