12 Days of Data 2022 Day 5: Top News of 2022

12 Days of Data 2022 Day 5: Top News of 2022

Introduction

Welcome to the 12 Days of Data 2022 Edition, our look back at the data that made marketing in 2022. We’re looking at the year that was (and oh, what a year it was, something we’ve been saying for three years straight now…) from an analytics perspective to see what insights we can take into the next year. Sit up, get your coffee ready, and let’s celebrate some data and look forward to the year ahead.

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Top News of 2022

2022 had no lack of news stories, from the World Cup to the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine to new COVID variants. Let’s take a look at the year that was. First, we turn to news volume: how much news was there? Using Google’s GDELT news database (which powers Google News in part), we looked at the millions of news stories in 2022:

News stories by year

We see a total, year to date, of 53.2 million news stories in 2022. This number has fallen over the last decade as more news outlets simply vanish due to going out of business. Still, this pace of news means that on any given day in 2022, there were:

  • 156,470 news stories that day
  • 6,520 news stories that hour
  • 109 news stories that minute
  • 2 news stories that second

If we’re trying to stand out from the noise, we’ve got our work cut out for us with that much news. Think about that for a second – if your news hits the wire, in a literal second, 2 more news stories have supplanted it. That’s how fast information is pouring out of the firehose of news.

What kinds of news are we competing with?

Biggest events

Using the CAMEO codes developed first at Pennsylvania State University, we can break down the news of 2022 and the most consequential stories (rated on the Goldstein Scale). Unsurprisingly, the war in Ukraine was by far the most consequential story of the year.

Biggest actors

However, the war in Ukraine was by no means the only story of the year. Other stories that topped the news included the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas (which put police as one of the top actors in news stories), along with the death of the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II and the protests in Iran.

Those were the most consequential events. What about the news as a whole?

Most common events

There’s far more variety in the regular news, but the majority of it is still about conflict.

Most common actors

Finally, when we look at the actors in all the news stories, we see companies – us, marketers, businesses – at only 0.79% involvement in the total news stories.

So What?

What these numbers really tell us about the media environment today is just how much news and information is blasting at us every minute of every day. It’s astonishing to think about that volume – hundreds of news stories every minute – and to recognize the challenge before us as marketers.

Attention is the most scarce resource we could earn from our audience. Not their engagement, not their money, not their loyalty, but just getting them to pay attention at all. Consider how much time and effort companies put into promoting themselves and their products – and of that, globally, companies only make up 0.79% of news stories in 2022.

Other key takeaways from the biggest news of the year is that every company needs backup plans for marketing and operations when the real world just goes sideways. For example, ad inventory during the elections in the USA was scarce as political campaigns vacuumed up available inventory as much as they could, driving prices for inventory far above normal. Or when Russia illegally invaded Ukraine, the sheer amount of coverage and conversation about it suppressed virtually every other topic during those first few weeks. Crisis communications isn’t just for public relations any more; it should be part and parcel of every marketing plan we build.

What if you had a major product launch during that time? What’s the backup plan? As the world continues to get more unstable and our media makes us ever more interconnected, we must plan for substantial disruptions and work around them if we want our marketing to succeed in a challenging environment.

Methodology

Trust Insights used the GDELT news database provided by Google, examining 53.5 million news stories in 2022. A subset of 7.1 million stories was randomly sampled to extract specifics about the news. No restrictions were made on language or geography. The period of the study is January 1, 2022 – December 5, 2022. The date of data extraction is December 6, 2022. Trust Insights is the sole sponsor of the study and neither gave nor received compensation for data used, beyond applicable service fees to software vendors.

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