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artificial intelligence benefits PR measurementAdvances in artificial intelligence (AI) will bring new benefits to social media analytics and PR measurement.

AI tools can comb through enormous numbers of online posts, including both traditional and social media, and analyze brand mentions to determine the overall sentiment. With advances in AI and natural language processing, the programs can detect sarcasm and irony.

Learn What the Public Thinks About the Brand

“With such knowledge, brands can detect what the public thinks about their brand,” points out Wendy Marx, founder and president of Marx Communications. “Knowing this, PR pros can identify problems and skillfully guide a brand around the issues. They can also use positive sentiment to know and emphasize a brand’s strong points.”

Most members (79%) of the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation (AMEC) believe they need to take AI “very seriously” and 61% already deploy the technology in various forms.

Because AI can review millions of items in seconds, it can provide insights and recommendations that humans cannot. Data from a social media monitoring service can be combined with data from web analytics, public sources, SEO data and trend data from reputable providers like Google.

Machines that Can Learn

While AI can automate familiar tasks, more advanced AI can learn and improve itself, allowing it to perform unfamiliar tasks. AI can learn to understand text, classify articles, and determine how relevant posts are to the organization. AI can help PR understand how people will react to negative news by analyzing previous similar situations.

AI can also filter data to remove the bulk of spam and irrelevant comments, and can attribute business outcomes to PR by distinguishing earned media from other types of content.

Some people may fear AI, perhaps because of its futuristic name that conjures up images of robots taking over the world. But experts urge PR pros to fear not. The automated programs will complete time-consuming, number-crunching tasks. It will not replace human creativity and messaging skills.

Although the technology has improved, some companies have rejected AI tools after testing, says Francois van Dyk, head of operations at Ornico.

“There is a growing demand for true insights rather than metrics, with some of the most critical areas identified for further investment being data science skills, insight consultancy skills and new data sources across paid, earned, shared and owned media,” van Dyk says.

The Different Technologies

PR practitioners can benefit by understanding the differences distinguishing AI, machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP) semantic analysis, say Regina Luttrel, an assistant professor of public relations and social media at Syracuse University, and Adrienne A. Wallace, a strategist at BlackTruck Media & Marketing, in PR Daily.

AI teaches systems to perform tasks based on ML and NLP. ML enables computers to learn from patterns. Based in predictive analytics, ML can help practitioners identify patterns to predict future actions.

Semantic analysis is the understanding of emotion, sentiment and tone of online conversations. PR pros can use semantic analysis to choose the right words and develop personalized experiences based on customer service ratings and social media data.

NLP enables practitioners to analyze text, extract data and retrieve key findings to customize campaigns.

“Rather than fearing robots, practitioners should rejoice. AI sits at the intersection of human interactions and computer intelligence,” they say. “There is no better time to be a practitioner.”

Bottom Line: Artificial intelligence is no longer technology of the future. Advances in AI and related technologies are significantly improving media measurement, bringing exciting benefits to PR.