Comms professionals are about to face a ‘finite eyeballs’ problem

August 17, 2023

Written by Benedict Nicholson

Before you dismiss this as just another AI article, hear me out: I promise not to waste your time, because I’m well aware of our content consumption limits. In fact, that’s kind of my whole point.

You don’t have to work at a media monitoring company to know that generative AI is hot these days. Justifiably, it seems everyone is excited about its capabilities—from writing articles to producing videos.

The problem is, everyone can do that. And everyone is doing that. Since the invention of the printing press, I doubt we’ve ever had a bigger surge in content quantity. The rise of AI means we need to worry even less about the amount of coverage our organizations receive, and more about the quality of that coverage, and how much it moves readers.

Put simply — if 100 websites write about your product launch or latest crisis, but nobody reads it or shares it on social media, does that matter as much as one article that gets shared 100k times? Probably not. Which is why you need to be able to measure how impactful articles are rather than relying on article volume alone.

Infinite coverage, finite eyeballs

Our focus should be less on infinite coverage, and more on finite eyeballs (admittedly, also a fantastic name for a punk band). There will always be a limited number of human eyes available to consume or engage with AI-generated media. The amount of articles or videos produced doesn’t affect the total hours in a day or people on Earth.

What does this mean? Much of what is created by AI will only ever be seen by other bots, likely for indexing and search marketing purposes. To receive coverage that really makes an impact, you need to understand what matters to people. And quickly.

Humans at the helm

It’s important to keep in mind that AI started with humans, and ends with humans. We’re still the ones calling the shots. AI content might help your website rank better or optimize your workflows—but if you can’t measure if it’s working for people, it won’t work for you.

Photograph of US dollars

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In marketing, you’re interested in what formats work, what copy is engaging, or what memes are resonating right now. In comms, you want to know if anyone cares about the 1,000 articles that covered your product release, or whether that piece in a niche blog from last week ended up being 10x more relevant. And you discover that by collecting real-time data from real people. 

Interest vs. coverage

Remember: AI is a tool for you to wield. It’s your friend. In fact, it’s powering our newest feature, the Interest Quadrant, helping comms teams like the one at FINN partners predict whether their news will resonate, connect with journalists, fill white space opportunities, and more.

Instead of wasting time worrying about receiving more media attention, focus on who your consumers are and what they want to consume. Pay attention to interest, rather than coverage. 

Your readers, human and bot alike, will thank you.

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Benedict Nicholson

In addition to leading the NewsWhip Research Center in New York, Benedict Nicholson manages partnerships with internationally recognized media outlets furthering data journalism, which includes NewsWhip’s Data for Democracy program. Benedict also facilitates consultations with communicators from the top 10 public relations agencies across America and Europe and with Fortune 500 brands to discuss consumer engagement trends and effective media monitoring. Email Benedict via benedict.nicholson@newswhip.com.

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