Small Businesses Competing With Cision and Meltwater in PR Tech: Report


  • Public relations technology is a $ 4.8 billion global industry, according to Burton-Taylor International Consulting.
  • The report explains how small businesses are battling behemoths like Cision and Meltwater.
  • However, the established giants still have an advantage in terms of market share and access to capital.
  • See more stories on the Insider business page.

Public relations software – which includes services like social media monitoring and press release distribution – is a $ 4.8 billion global industry, according to a 148-page report by Burton-Taylor International Consulting, a research and consultancy company that covers the industry.

The report says small and medium-sized businesses like Muck Rack, which is best known for its database of journalists, and media monitoring provider Fullintel, have gained ground against industry giants like Cision and Meltwater whose the all-in-one approach failed to live up to its promise, according to anonymous users interviewed by Burton-Taylor.

Cision and Meltwater have taken over other companies to add services such as social media analytics, enter new regions and increase their revenues. The Burton-Taylor report also references a potential merger that the two companies explored in 2020.

However, these acquisitions have been slow to integrate, which has given small businesses the opportunity to pitch their business to public relations professionals, who often prefer to bring in smaller, specialist firms, said Christopher Porter, consultant at Burton-Taylor.

This report also comes at a time when investors are increasingly interested in PR technology; The startup Memo recently raised $ 7 million in seed funding, for example.

Porter added that there is no clear set of industry leaders – an equivalent of what Oracle is to marketing and Salesforce is to CRM.

“It’s definitely the story of some bigger players that what they provide is an integrated solution, but I feel like it’s really a work in progress,” he said.

The result has been an increasingly crowded field of competitors. For example, Denmark-based InfoMedia and Germany-based UNICEPTA are expanding globally to hunt bigger and more lucrative customers, according to the report. Porter also named Roxhill Media, PublicRelay and Access Intelligence as other winners.

Here are the top four takeaways from the report:

  • Social media is the largest and most dynamic segment of PR technology and regional and global players are investing resources in this area. Spending on social media tools increased 18% year-over-year to $ 2.2 billion in 2020, leading Cision and Meltwater to acquire specialist social media companies. Most recently, Meltwater acquired social influencer marketing firm Klear for $ 17.8 million in April and social media intelligence firm Linkfluence for around $ 59.6 million in March. In the biggest deal of recent times, Cision bought Brandwatch in February for $ 450 million.
  • The other segments experienced modest to negative growth in 2020. Media analytics saw mid single-digit growth as companies struggled to understand what was being said about their brands in the media during the volatile news cycle of 2020. Influencer Management and Media oversight have had mixed results: smaller players have grown through new tools and services while bigger players have seen declines.
  • Carma, InfoMedia and Access Intelligence were the big winners of 2020. These companies were known for their strong growth, robust expansion plans and new capabilities. Carma, which is owned by News Group, a Dubai-based digital news and engagement company, has grown in the US, UK and Asia Pacific despite economic challenges. InfoMedia, based in Denmark, is emerging as the de facto leader in the Nordic countries after acquiring the media intelligence assets of M-Brain. Meanwhile, Access Intelligence is expanding aggressively in the United States after acquiring social media technology from Pulsar. Other winners included UNICEPTA, Roxhill Media, PublicRelay and Muck Rack, who have grown despite the pandemic by converting larger customers and expanding into new regions.
  • Historic players like Cision and Meltwater saw slight drops in global market share while Kantar also saw revenue losses. Cision’s PR Newswire is generally strong but in decline as press release circulation is sensitive to economic downturns, Porter said. Kantar’s media monitoring activity has steadily declined over the past five years. However, these large companies still have a strong market share and access to capital and scale.


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