What is communications analytics?
Communication analytics analyzes massive amounts of data to reveal patterns and understand trends in communication. It provides scientific reasoning and support to the art of communication.
Communication facilitates the flow of ideas and information, within internal teams or between the company and its customers. While essential in every area of life and business, communication is an abstract concept. It is an arduous task to correctly define good communication or identify its parameters. However, it is important that companies track their communication and evaluate it against set standards and benchmarks to understand what is working and what needs improvement.
Given the abstract nature of communication and evolving technology, this proves to be quite a challenge. This is where communication analytics steps in and makes the process scientific, accessible, and truly useful. It helps companies understand what, where, and why communication works or not.
Communication analytics helps companies assess their communication channels, communication effectiveness, pain points, and how the targeted audience receives, reacts, and interacts with the company. The basic objective is to check whether the communication is working and if not, then try and locate the roadblocks. When it comes to communication, most companies struggle with obstacles, which may or may not be accidental. These roadblocks hinder the smooth flow of communication and can often lead to negative consequences. Communication analytics studies the flow of information, identifies any direct consequences, and then tracks them back to their root causes.
Since most of today’s communication takes place over digital channels, companies can easily pin-point issues using communication analytics and then resolve them to improve communications. When companies enhance their communication, employees are more productive, engaged, and creative—and customer churn is reduced.Given the abstract nature of communication and evolving technology, this proves to be quite a challenge. This is where communication analytics steps in and makes the process scientific, accessible, and truly useful. It helps companies understand what, where, and why communication works or not.
Businesses using communication analytics
Communication analytics is useful for assessing communication effectiveness and spending for businesses across many industries. By analyzing the way communication is received, companies can adjust their communication strategy to meet their goals better. In the past, feedback on communication was usually gathered through focus groups and surveys. While these methods can provide valuable insights, the turnaround is often slow. With communication analytics tools, customer reactions to any messaging can be studied in real time. This enables the companies to make faster adjustments so that they do not lose excess time or money.
Companies can employ communication analytics to evaluate both internal and external communication channels to function better. With the help of analytical tools, they can ensure that the right message is conveyed at the right time to the right people.
There are many stakeholders in any company. Internal stakeholders include employees and management while the public are external stakeholders. It is essential that proper communication flows internally and externally to ensure consistency. Public relation campaigns, corporate communications, employee communications, and various engagement initiatives are all communication channels through which stakeholders are engaged and kept updated about the company.
Communication analytics enables companies to understand customer behavior based on their message interaction. It also helps them understand the complexity of how the media campaign’s content and reach affect site visits, conversion rates, and ultimately sales. Communication analytics analyzes each communication component conveyed and helps the company adjust its messaging to ensure better engagement. Marketing campaigns, advertisements, website content, and social media messaging are all channels utilized by companies to communicate with their customers. In most cases, the channels offer interactivity, and therefore customers can talk back or interact with the brand or product. It is important that this interaction is constantly monitored to assess the effectiveness of the messages and to course correct as and when required.
Why use communication analytics?
Communication is often accompanied by a lot of useless noise. Communicating with employees, customers, and other stakeholders must be clear and precise. No one should have to search for the information they need.
Communication analytics helps companies craft out appropriate messaging at appropriate times by assessing feedback and adjusting the message accordingly. With the help of communication analytics, companies can ensure:
- Their message is consistent across all channels
- People are not overwhelmed by too much information
- Internal change management is carried out with the help of continuous communications
- Pre-emptive planning is carried out for crisis communication
- Recruitment and branding efforts are well supported
When it comes to campaigns, communicators should create marketing founded on current insights. This ensures the best possible customer experience, a competitive edge over other players in the same arena, and valuable support to marketing strategy, contributing to overall business growth.
Analytics helps in creating useful and engaging content. It can optimize for search engines while still creating tailored content that presents a helpful and relevant solution for an audience’s problem. An effective content strategy is one founded on industry insights and targeted audiences. It must address customer pain points and provide resolutions. Customization is only possible when communication analytics provides companies with insights regarding the likes and dislikes, behavior, and interaction of their audience with their current content.
Companies can gauge the effectiveness of any campaign once they holistically gather and analyze all available data, such as online traffic, conversions, and brand performance. With the help of complex algorithms, communication analytics can draw several quantitative conclusions regarding specific campaigns, such as:
- How many visitors did it activate?
- What was the cost per visitor?
- How did the online and offline content work together?
- Is any part of the media budget wasteful?
- What mix of media do customers respond best to?
- How did the proposition quality affect the visits, sales, and conversions?
Communication is not just about marketing and external messaging. There also needs to be a common platform for all employee communication. It should be fun and collect feedback. Communicating well with employees ensures they are engaged and committed.
Key performance metrics for communication analytics
Before companies can analyze communication, they need to identify key performance metrics. These metrics help companies understand and evaluate their performance in key areas. Using communication analytics, companies can regularly track these metrics.
Click through rates
Email marketing is used by many companies to maintain contact with their customers and solicit potential ones. The click-through-rate (CTR) metric indicates how many of the emails sent out were delivered, opened, read, and acted upon. Low rates could mean problematic content, layout, or messaging strategy. This metric tells companies whether or not they are heard by their target audience.
When employees do not feel heard or spoken to, their engagement levels with the company fall, leading to dissatisfaction and low productivity. Poor communication is often a major reason behind this. Engagement rates also work for external audience segments. Tracking visits to websites or even customer care data can help companies understand customer engagement.
High turnovers are one consequence of disengaged employees, and poor communication is usually a root cause. The same is true for customers. When customer queries and issues aren’t answered or resolved, they tend to drift towards other companies who make them feel heard. Churn is expensive, whether it is employees or customers.
The need for communication analytics
Communication is an art form, and it is extremely important for companies. With effective communication, companies can engage more productively and efficiently with employees and customers. While communicating with employees and customers, companies need to have a strong content strategy in place. The communication needs to be precise, informative, and engaging.
Communication analytics extracts data from communication systems effectively and turn it into valuable insights that are comprehensive, detailed, and practical in nature. Using such information in communication strategy enables companies to meet their business objectives while reducing turnover and increasing customer satisfaction.
There are a few ways in which communication analytics can be useful for companies.
Companies may have multiple communication systems in place, which can lead to a lot of confusion and mismanagement. Communication analytics can establish a cross-platform reporting system that makes the process simpler. Analyzing organizational communication ensures effective communication and comprehensive data reporting.
Communication analytics facilitates the analysis of team collaboration data. This helps managers assess the amount of time they need to spend interacting with their team members. Employee connection and engagement fosters positive interactions and relationships between team members and is correlated to satisfaction, retention, and productivity.
Analytics enables companies to process and evaluate a team’s communication while working on projects. It highlights the progress of the team towards project goals and has a great impact on the overall business.
Collating and analyzing employee communication data can help companies keep track of when employees are working. If a company notices its employees are often working off hours or over the weekend, it can then make changes to reduce stress and manage a better work-life balance.
Benefits of communication analytics
With the help of communication analytics, companies can fine-tune their messages and achieve their desired results.
Communication must go through the appropriate channels. While there are several channels available, not all are well equipped or successful in acquiring the attention of the target audience. The readership and participation data gathered through communication analytics is helpful in selecting the right channel for the selected audience. This choice also helps in content strategy. Is direct email more successful or SMS?
Communication is difficult to measure if objective standards are not defined. It is important that metrics are aligned and systems are in place to track what is working and what is not. Communication strategies can be tracked and assessed with the help of communication analytics. For example, content can be tweaked, spending can be increased or decreased, and activity frequency can be changed.
It is helpful if companies can measure the engagement of their employees and their customers from time to time. This helps them revisit their communication strategy and revise if required. With a communication analytics tool, audience engagement can be evaluated, and from there, reasons for engagement (or lack thereof) can be assessed.
Communication analytics helps in reporting past data along with predicting the future. For instance, if the data shows an increase in younger workers, more interactive communication channels could be chosen. If there are more work-from-home employees, then the format of the messages must be compatible with mobile devices. Similarly, if a particular target segment is found to be engaging more during certain periods of times, the messaging frequency can be modified to align.
Communication analytics and opportunities
Communication analytics provides companies with the opportunity to not just transform the way data is gathered but also the way it is analyzed and utilized to refine communication strategies.
Communicators have always wanted to discover evidence and insights within their work. To build communication strategies that succeed, companies need to rely on data and not guesswork. Communicating effectively is not easy; it needs to break through the noise while catering to the perceptions, behaviors, and motivations of the target audience. Companies should make decisions that are quick and informed. Communication analytics offers the following opportunities for companies that can help them succeed in their strategy and stay ahead of the curve:
Preparing for reputational threats
There are a range of reputation drivers that every organization should monitor. Assessing online conversations using those drivers as a baseline can help companies take a more pre-emptive approach to reputation management.
Digital space opportunities
By applying analytics to social listening data, companies can identify emerging trends and act on them. This information helps realign communication strategies to match trends and audience expectations.
Data science for the art of communication
It is one thing to create content but a whole other thing to explain the reason behind it. This is where communication analytics comes into play.
Communication analytics is transforming the way companies communicate internally and externally: with more conviction and better results. It provides companies with insights that help them assess their communication strategies at a deeper level and enables them to make changes that engage their audience better.
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