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How to Use Meltwater As a Research Tool

Becca Challis

May 26, 2020

Traditional media monitoring is a long established PR and marketing practice, taking place in most organisations across the UK. In fact, the origins of media monitoring are considered to be as early as 1879, when an agency in Paris began supplying actors with clippings of their reviews across multiple publications, meaning they no longer had to buy multiple whole papers themselves.

This idea of selecting only relevant content and gathering it in one place used to be the soul purpose of media monitoring providers. However, with the invention of the internet, the rise of social media and the focus on analysis and data-driven decisions, times (and business) have changed.

Founded in 2001, ‘Magenta News’ was the first phase of Meltwater, as a traditional news clipping service. However our CEO, Jorn Lyseggen always had an eye on technology and the insights you can derive from the internet. In November 2016, Jorn published ‘Outside Insight’, his guide to breaking out of the ordinary and adopting an external data and analysis fuelled approach to decision making and strategising.

His idea focuses on the insights you can find in the data that consumers and companies leave behind online. Using this approach, you’re able to explore new avenues and get a richer picture of the audience, industry and competitor landscape you’re in. This hugely expands the traditional ‘brand mentions’ model of media monitoring, allowing Meltwater to use the vast amount of data produced across the globe to provide a fuller, rounder and more insightful picture for its clients.

In a previous article, we examined the impact social listening can have for any organisation: big, small, consumer-focused, B2B, nonprofit or government department. Building on this, however, is to use our software for research. Be it product, market, consumer, competitor, educational, or political, below are eight use cases which demonstrate Meltwater’s power as a research tool.

Tip: Visit the Meltwater Academy for courses and more detailed information about how to use Meltwater. Also, learn more about market research.

The Market

First of all, with 10 years of retrospective online news data, 15 months of social data, and the largest global online source base, Meltwater gives you access to a huge wealth of information. In using the platform, you can quickly and easily gain valuable market insights.

For instance, if you want to see the public perception of ‘plant-based diet’, you can search for mentions over the last three years and see the astronomical increase – perfect for a product proposal. Companies looking to enter new markets can identify what is already available and find a gap, or read what is being mentioned in a proposed new region.

market research tool chess piece


Meltwater is also an effective tool for competitor research. Using the unlimited keyword search, organisations can track for competitors, products, individual campaigns and hashtags. Benchmarking their mentions against your own allows you an overview of the market and the share that your organisation occupies.

This then helps PR/Marketing/Publicity/Social/Digital teams to develop a strategy for the market based on the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor. By keeping tabs on competitors, you can use these breadcrumbs to inform your own business strategy. If a competitor lists a high volume of job postings when setting up a new customer insight team, you are able to make an educated decision on what their focus will likely be for the next year. This way organisations can keep informed of their competitors’ latest products, campaigns, stakeholders and share price – after all, knowledge is power.


This ‘listening’ can also be applied to your target audience as a form of consumer research. Using our social data, teams are able to build up a profile of their current audience, learning about the key influencers within the market, and common characteristics.

This analysis can also be performed on the industry as a whole, to help identify your target audience, and directly compare the customers you are reaching and those you wish to reach. This works just as well in B2B business as consumer focused ones, and ultimately leads you to create more effective targeted campaigns and content.

Consumers woman shopping


In discovering more about the consumer, or prospective client, you can target campaigns and individual products to different audiences or locations. For instance, if Coca Cola identifies that young people in London who like their product have a shared interest in online makeup tutorials, they can seek out appropriate brand ambassadors to maximise the efficacy of a localised campaign.

They may also find that an older demographic of consumers in the Southern United States choose Walmart over any other supermarket, and use this as a basis to produce promotional material catering to that audience.

Campaign research is applicable to any industry. Even pharmaceutical companies can use social listening to filter and access online forums, where patients turn to discuss their health issues. By creating targeted searches and examining the language customers use in these conversations, they can create relatable educational content.

Additionally, Meltwater can be used as an internal campaign analysis tool, to research the effectiveness of the campaign and prove the ROI. Using a number of metrics, such as reach, AVE, volume, social echo and many others, you are able to report on campaigns, past and present.


Media intelligence is also helpful in informing the product or service you provide. By researching the most mentioned pizza flavours, food manufacturers can gauge their popularity or find the opinions of their current customers and implement their feedback. Similarly, in tracking competitors’ products, product teams can identify gaps in the market and common complaints, making sure to improve and implement these in their offering.


Research for business decisions and partnerships can be easily achieved in the platform, whether this is stakeholder research and corporate tracking, pitching or researching a potential sponsor or partner. Banks can use the data in Meltwater to deliver insights to leadership teams on topics which could affect partnerships and investments, identifying the potential risks.

This can also be useful for sales teams, as a form of lead-generation. By creating targeted boolean searches for people who have a problem or a need for products or services, an approach can then be made knowing that there is interest. For example, a company which produces live chat bots, can identify energy and water companies who are being mentioned on Twitter for having no live chat option or poor customer service.

The software can be used in many creative ways. For instance, an insurance company uses Meltwater to keep track of regional news reports of break-ins to inform their ad-spend on bus stops, making sure to place their ads in affected areas for comprehensive home insurance. This is a further example of ‘Outside Insight’ – what information could help you with your business needs?


Meltwater can be of great help to universities and the departments within them, in keeping up to date with the latest research and developments in their field. For example, a department of physics looking to produce research in quantum computing can keep informed on academic developments in journals and blogs across the world, as well as industry news and the progress of startups in the sector.

Departments can also research new projects, examining how well funded research is at other universities, and look up individual studies. Associations and government departments can also keep up to date with academic and industry news as it happens – especially during crises such as the current pandemic. Organisations can receive instant alerts to track the latest vaccine developments and travel bans, in order to be informed and educated on how it will affect their business going forward.

education research tool


Political research is also possible within the platform with access to Hansard, detailing discussions and the minutes of Parliament and filtering those which are relevant to your industry and employees. In situations such as the current COVID-19 crisis, the ability to create twitter searches containing only tweets by MPs, can help when following the trending themes and latest news from Parliament itself. Pressure groups and associations can also use our data to perform campaign research on public opinion around issues such as nuclear power, vaccinations, grammar schools and many more.

Drop us a line below if you’d like more information on how Meltwater media intelligence can improve the quality of your research.