The job title of media analyst can cover a range of activities. Broadly speaking, it is the activity of looking at the interaction between businesses or other organizations and the media. However, this can involve both objective and subjective measures and be motivated by different needs.
One type of media analysis is the study of markets to find the best place to promote a particular business. This is usually a very objective type of project based on extensive use of statistics. Such work requires the analyst to not only understand the figures, but to understand how those figures relate to and affect one another. For example, seasonal patterns in consumer spending may affect the best place to promote a product. An analyst might decide that a product which is normally best advertised in magazines for wealthy consumers should be advertised in tabloid magazines at Christmas when less wealthy people are more likely to splash out.
Another form of media analysis is keeping track of how well a company or product is portrayed and covered in different media such as newspapers, television and the internet. This involves a combination of subjective and objective abilities. Part of the work will simply involve keeping track of how often a product is mentioned and how many people will have seen the article, program or website. But the work also involves making judgments about whether the article creates a positive or negative image, and how important the particular audience is for the product’s success.
The average media analyst is relatively well-paid. As of May 2009, the Simply Hired website listed the average media analyst position in the United States as having a $61,000 US Dollars (USD) salary. Because it involves fairly specialist knowledge, media analyst salaries do not vary as much by location as many jobs. However, there is a very wide range of salaries across the industry depending on the position held and the level of experience.
The role of media analyst is constantly changing. Today there are even specialist roles as a social media analyst. This involves keeping track of the way a product, company or even an individual is portrayed online. The work can be much more complicated as it doesn’t simply involve measuring the original page which mentions the subject. The analyst must also take into account the number of visitors the page gets, how influential the sites which link to it are, and what feedback the page gets from users on the site itself, on other sites, and through personal accounts on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.