Predictive PR: How Artificial Intelligence changes the PR Industry
Posted 11 Jul 2019
In the marketing and communication industry, it is vital to react quickly to current issues. With crisis communication, if the news is bad, and with rapid responses or newsjacking when you can contribute valuable information to a current topic. So far, it has been sufficient enough to react to topical news in the fastest way possible. Thus, many PR crises were intercepted before they could even reach the media. Nonetheless, in the era of intelligent machines, it is not enough to react to news that have already happened. With the help of predictive PR, it is possible to predict what is to come.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has already reached many areas in our private and professional lives. Whether we like it or not, machines and algorithms are part of our daily lives. Public relations may not be the first industry that comes to your mind when thinking about this subject. However, the public relations industry has been influenced by new technologies early on. Be it the search for current trends or the analysis of campaigns – data and algorithms play a decisive role here. By providing already existing data to an artificial intelligence, not only current issues can be discussed, but also forecasts for upcoming trends could be predicted.
According to Gartner, “Predictive analytics is a form of advanced analytics which examines data or content to answer the question ‘What is going to happen?’ or more precisely, ‘What is likely to happen?’, and is characterized by techniques such as regression analysis, forecasting, multivariate statistics, pattern matching, predictive modeling, and forecasting.”
For example, to predict a company´s success in a few months’ time, AI systems currently only use already available data such as sales and turnover figures or retrospective marketing statistics. Today, it is also possible to use information from social media posts and news articles, CRM data, web analyses and many other available data sources for the analysis.
Nevertheless, all this data is useless as long as you don’t have a way to process it. Thanks to open source technology, we are able to access data from large technology companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Google or Microsoft. This gives us access to intelligent systems and the most up to date software. With these solutions, confusing piles of data can be processed in order to get helpful insights.
With reference to the PR and media industry, this means, among other things, that it is possible to supply a certain audience with the preferred content without providing them with unwanted information. Artificial intelligence even goes one step further, because predictive analytics is able to use data, statistical algorithms and machine learning techniques in order to calculate the probability of future events based on historic data. In this way, the AI already knows beforehand which topics are most probably going to arouse the interest of a certain target audience.
Based on previous PR measures and results, the targeted implementation of AI can support PR experts to shape the most effective campaigns for customers. The data also speeds up the process of creating content by eliminating the need to search for matching keywords, quotations or images. In addition, information can be provided which show in advance how high the interaction or attention for specific content will be and how to optimize that content for better results. A lot of online tools and plug-ins already offer similar features, which could be enhanced by AI in the future.
When it comes to personalization and its relevance in terms of customer contact, AI is also beneficial. Among other things, predictive analytics can help creating new markets. Based on data, the system can identify potential customers and vertical markets. AI can analyze customers in real time and find adequate trends or interests – thus, the reach in marketing and PR can be increased significantly.
Anybody who considers using predictive analytics in PR should first set their business goals straight to see whether an investment in AI systems is profitable. If you decide to do so, it is important to make sure that you understand the systems and use the possibilities to their full extent.
However, you don’t just need a good AI system to use predictive analytics. Moreover, there needs to be a team of experts that know how to deal with the analyzed data – among them technical specialists, web developers and data scientists, who are also able to evaluate data and interpret it, for example, specifically for a campaign. Those kinds of teams do not belong to the classic teams in the PR and marketing sector yet. However, we are already seeing first approaches to use AI in agencies and in PR and marketing departments. It will take some time until this technology will successfully be used in PR and marketing – but certainly not too long.
Account Director HBI Helga Bailey GmbH – International PR & MarCom
Jasmin Rast has been a PR consultant since 2012 and serves clients in the B2C/B2B sector. Her many years of PR experience contribute significantly to successful communication and customer care. In addition to PR, she is also responsible for online marketing, rounding off the agency’s integrated communications concept. Image