Salience Insight CEO Giselle Bodie predicts that the global market for media evaluation – approaching US$100m in 2013 according to AMEC*  – is facing tough challenges from  the massive increase in social media usage and pressure to service an increasingly global market.

She warned that many evaluation providers are struggling to integrate social media analysis into their offer, both because of the technical challenges involved and social media’s global scale.

A market polarised between technology/data providers, and those providers who can actually interpret the data and help clients make the right business decisions, may be the result, she said.

“While it would be unfair to claim that clients are being short-changed, it’s clear that the industry is playing catch-up in order to meet the highly specialist demands of effective social media evaluation on a global basis,” she said.

Announcing the global launch of Salience Insight, which brings together the UK’s Report International and the US-based KD Paine and Partners, both acquired in 2012 by Middle East-based News Group International, Ms Bodie said the global market for evaluation has trebled in value since 2006, much of it fuelled by social media.

However, Bodie contends that this growth has proved a double-edged sword.

“While new technology, and the steps taken by the industry towards adopting common standards in social media evaluation are good news for clients, this does not address the fact that social media is no respecter of national borders. So we’re finding that companies and agencies are turning to ‘glocal’ evaluation companies like us for our ability to combine local market knowledge with a global take on media issues,” Ms Bodie added.

“US and European companies, in particular, are keen to know more about new, high growth and emerging markets such as the Middle East which, with its young, technologically savvy demographic of under-25s, offers untapped potential for consumer goods and services.

“Helping companies make sense of what is being said about them, so  they can target communication more effectively in these markets and understand the risks, must become a given for the evaluation industry.

“Those providers able to combine local cultural sensitivity with consulting expertise and global reach are going to be best placed to provide the strategic business decision support that these companies require,” she added.