In this series, we’ve looked at what predictive analytics is, why it’s important to public relations professionals, and a glimpse at some actual predictions:
Now that we’ve surveyed the domain of predictive analytics for PR, it seems appropriate that we spend some time making predictions about predictions.
What’s the Future of Predictive Analytics for PR?
Today, predictive analytics still requires a high degree of technical proficiency, even if the costs of materials are low. To execute predictive analytics efficiently and effectively, we need three classes of people in our organizations:
- Developers, to access the data and APIs that provide our data
- Data scientists, to build predictive models from our data
- Data-driven PR professionals, to take the models and turn them into programs of action for our brands and clients
Very few organizations have the resources and capabilities to hire all three classes. Most PR departments and agencies are lucky to have even one of the three, largely due to cost. Developers and data scientists cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per year each.
For more organizations to use predictive analytics, vendors will democratize the process using software. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will make incorporating data seamless, and the software will choose the appropriate time-series predictions automatically. Already, software like IBM Watson Analytics and Alteryx (disclosure, a SHIFT client) make data import and statistical analysis easy for business users; predictive analytics will be a trivial addition to these kinds of products.
Once predictive capabilities become available to general business users, I expect enterprising PR professionals to adapt the software to PR-specific tasks. Few, if any, vendors will publish editions of their software solely for the public relations industry. However, just as data-driven PR professionals have embraced Google Analytics™, sophisticated social media monitoring, and customer journey mapping with data, so too with they embrace predictive tools in daily PR work.
The Future of PR is Predictive
The future of public relations will be powered by predictive analytics and machine learning. PR practitioners who want to increase their impact and results will make use of these technologies every day to always be one step ahead of the news.
Are you ready for a predictive future?
Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology