12 tech terms every PR professional should know
Since the turn of the century, the global tech sector has grown exponentially. In fact, it’s currently estimated to be worth more than $3 trillion and counting – making it one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world.
Today, we rely on this industry every day. We use its products and services to share important information instantaneously, communicate with consumers through social media, and complete simple, mundane and often time-consuming tasks in the click of a button.
As a result, both our personal and professional lives have benefited greatly. We’re not only more productive, efficient, and capable, but we’re more aware of the market and our brand’s place in it.
However, the rate at which technology changes has also proven extremely challenging. Today, we’re forever trying to keep up with new devices, apps and solutions in order to take full advantage of their capabilities.
One of the best ways to fully appreciate technology and better understand the people who work to create, design and build it, is to familiarise ourselves with the language and terminology used by the industry. This is especially true for PR professionals whose communications strategies are becoming increasingly reliant on big data, social media and digital marketing.
To better your skills and make sense of tech’s behind-the-scene activity, familiarise yourself with the following 12 terms:
Application Programming Interface or API is the interface used to build web applications. In simple terms, it is the line of communication between two servers – making it easier for web systems to interact and developers to build solutions.
E.g. “We can monitor multiple social media channels through the custom-made dashboard, which displays various data transferred via API.”
2. Dark Social
Dark social is the social media activity that is not publicly available – often from private channels such as messenger apps, text messaging and emails. While it’s still social activity – people sharing ideas, opinions and information – it can’t be easily measured like public social media activity.
E.g. “We’ve measured our social media activity for the last month – excluding dark social – and the results show that consumers prefer video content over plain copy.”
3. Command Centre
A command centre is an area inside an organisation’s office space solely dedicated to social media use. These creative spaces are where employees, PR professionals and/or marketers go to monitor and engage in conversations with consumers.
E.g. “From the Command Centre, we can monitor sentiment and the progress of campaigns in real-time.”
4. Bounce Rate
Bounce rate is the percentage of users who only visit a webpage for a short amount of time – often not looking at or engaging with the content. Often, it is because these users have landed on a page that is not of interest to them.
E.g. “We need to post more meaningful and relevant content on our website to reduce our bounce rate.”
UGC or User Generated Content is social media content created by individuals not associated with the brand or enterprise. For example, when a customer writes a review about your business or service online and you choose to publish it on your Facebook page or Twitter feed.
E.g. “Our Facebook page received more views this week thanks to positive User Generated Content (UGC) on Twitter and Instagram.”
Conversion Rate Optimisation is a system used to calculate the percentage of website visitors who convert to paying customers. CRO is usually measured by asking webpage visitors to complete targeted actions such as joining a mailing list or typing a special code in at checkout to receive a discount.
E.g. “We used CRO to measure the results of our latest Instagram campaign.”
7. Keywords and page descriptions
Keywords are the common words and phrases used in search engines like Google and Bing to find relevant search results. Attaching keywords to your website’s pages will give it a greater chance of being found online.
E.g. “We need to use our website’s keywords across all social media platforms to strengthen SEO and drive web traffic.”
Search Engine Optimisation is used to increase a website’s visibility on a search engine’s unpaid results. Search engines like Google and Bing reward websites that align their content – from keywords to page headings and captioned images – increasing their likelihood of being listed in the first five to ten search results.
E.g. “We need to work on our SEO in order to appear on the first page of Google results. This will drive more consumers to our website.”
9. A/B testing
In web analytics, A/B testing is the comparison of two types of online content – such as two trial websites – in order to find out which one will perform better among consumers.
E.g. “We used A/B testing with a select group of consumers to find out what they’d like to see on our new website.”
10. UI and UX
User Interface refers to how a person interacts with a computer system or application such as 3D displays, website drop-down menus or touch screens. User Experience is how simple and enjoyable someone finds a particular piece of technology. The better the user experience, the more likely they are to use it again.
E.g. “UX and UI are inextricably linked because the best user experience is often frictionless, and is the result of considered UI design – offering users the information they want/need in the fewest clicks possible.”
11. AI and Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence is the development of computer systems to learn and perform tasks by simulating human intelligence – such as robots and chat-bots. Machine Learning is a computer’s ability to learn on its own – without being prompted by a human. It means computers can act on their own accord, learning from past experiences to make decisions.
E.g. “We’re going to use AI chat bots to respond to consumers on social media for our next campaign.”
12. Big Data
Big Data refers to large sets of unstructured data – data that requires sophisticated techniques and software to uncover insights previously unavailable using traditional analytics. Big Data is used by marketers and PR professionals to measure the online behaviours of their target audience.
E.g. “We can use monitoring software like Meltwater to digest collections of big data in real-time.”
Knowing these key tech terms will prove invaluable to you and your PR team – especially at your next client consultation, IT workshop or board meeting.
About the author:
Mimrah Mahmood is the Asia-Pacific Regional Director of Media Solutions at Meltwater, where he helps numerous organisations break down media data (social, print and other), to create meaningful insights; build progressive and scientific frameworks to track efforts in PR and marketing; build road-maps to improve communications plans; and identify opportunities and threats that arise from competitors. As a leader within a multi-award winning company, Mimrah is a proud advocate of better measurement practices in PR, Brand and Strategic Communications. You can connect with Mimrah on LinkedIn https://sg.linkedin.com/in/mimrah
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