IPVM For PR / Marketing PeopleBy John Honovich, Published Apr 29, 2020, 09:22am EDT
Since IPVM does not accept advertising nor sponsorships, etc., PR / marketing people can find IPVM hard to understand and confusing for them to interact with us. This post aims to help them productively do so.
Who is IPVM?
IPVM, now 12 years old, is the world's largest and most influential video surveillance publication, conducting unrivaled testing, industry research, and investigative reporting. The video below overviews us:
We have 20 team members and continue to grow each year.
Visits / Traffic
The chart below shows the trend in overall visits to IPVM over the past 12 years:
[Note: many people visit multiple times per month. Given that people can access from many devices (phones, tablets, work PCs, home PCs, etc. accurately estimating actual unique visitors is not feasible.]
IPVM has ~900,000 page views per month, or just under 3 per visitor.
In terms of individual articles / stories, in the first month after publication, this is a rough rule of thumb for how many reads they will get on IPVM:
- 12,000+ reads - 'mega' story; typically involving a major manufacturer and major trend
- 8,000+ reads - very high interest; our best tests, statistic reports and news events coverage are in this range
- 5,000+ reads - strong interest; the top 20% of our posts are here or higher
- 2,000 reads - average post, average tech topic or mid-sized manufacturer
- 1,000 reads - niche post, either a small manufacturer or small topic
In the first year following publication, after the first month, articles average an additional 50% more reads. So if an article received 1,500 reads in the first month, in the next 11 months, it would typically get ~750 more reads.
In the last 2 years, an increasing number of our reports have gone 'viral' being picked up on social media or recommended by Google. This happens a number of times per month. Those reports will receive 25,000+ visits. How valuable those visits are is debatable. Lots of them are by people outside the industry with little impact but a non-trivial number are important people with influence in politics and journalism.
The most 'viral' / top read reports are generally politically related since that attracts a broader audience, e.g., US DoD Declares "Can No Longer Do Business" With Contractors Using Dahua, Hikvision, Huawei - 52,000+; Hikvision OEM Directory - 45,000+; Hikvision Markets Uyghur Ethnicity Analytics, Now Covers Up - 42,000+.
Non-political related reports with particularly high reads include Detecting Coronavirus Fevers With Thermal Cameras - 25,000+; Directory of Companies Dropping ISC West 2020 - 23,000+; Milestone Has Problems - 17,000+
Citing World Publications
Likewise, IPVM reporting is regularly cited by major news publications:
And IPVM is increasingly influencing the US Government:
Geographic Visits Breakdown
Geographically, ~45% of visits are from the USA, our home base, with the majority from outside the USA. The following lists the top 10 countries, by visits, for March 2020:
Comparison To Other Sources / No 'Rivals'
IPVM does not have any meaningful 'rivals' within the video surveillance or physical security industry. Our traffic, staff size, number of original reports, etc., is far higher than any other source.
We attribute this to 2 factors: (1) advertising, which is the norm, forces publishers to self-censor to not offend their advertisers, which, in a niche industry, means refraining from critically covering the most sizeable companies in the market. Moreover, advertising prices continue to decline, especially now with Coronavirus. (2) Our membership model generates far more revenue than advertising could which lets us invest in more people, more resources, etc.
We Care About Getting It Right
While we do not care about manufacturer money, we do strongly care about getting things right technically. If a company feels something is wrong or incomplete, we want to know. The best thing to do is have a technical / product person reach out to us and explain.
Neutral vs Independent
We are not neutral. We are not trying to be the 'Switzerland' of security technology.
We are independent and technically grounded. We are not impacted by manufacturer money. Rather, we always seek to ground our opinions on research/testing, frequently unique work done nowhere else in the industry.
We do generally accept embargoes - which are effectively pre-briefings on news (typically products) that are not yet released with an agreement that we will not report on it until the company officially announces it. Doing so helps us get detailed questions answered that improves our coverage as well as helps the company better understand our concerns and potential criticisms up front. If we already know of the news through other sources, we will tell a company up front that we will not accept embargoes. That said, since readership in this industry is so low (compared to Apple news or national politics), we have little incentive to break embargoes. Equally important, we see the value of IPVM to our members in the analysis we provide, not the sheer fact of reporting first.
Off the Record
We regularly speak to manufacturers off the record, which means we will not print what was said in phone calls. The goal here is to let execs or marketing people explain their issues / concerns or point of view without fear of being ambushed or misquoted. The reality is that with our product testing, integrator surveys, general knowledge, public materials, etc. if we find something to criticize, we can do so based on that. Calls are a chance for a company to clarify things and understand what our concerns are.
Speaking With IPVM
We are open to talking to any company in the industry that we cover. For example, for a while, we spoke regularly with Hikvision and they readily gave us feedback on their products and positioning. They were very happy to get what is essentially free exposure from us. Then shortly after we started to report on their Chinese government ownership, they banned communication with us. And then later on, they return to communicating with us, depending on the topic. It certainly does not prevent us from reporting on a company but it does make it harder for the company to share their viewpoint, which certainly hurts them.
If companies want to restart communications, we are happy to do so but we will certainly continue to do product tests, conduct surveys, issue analysis, etc. with or without official communication.
As long as PR / marketing / execs are willing to speak honestly with us and not to try to push to run their canned marketing, we are happy to speak with them.
In 2020, we launched Online Shows, a series of ongoing events that allow sellers to pitch their offerings, moderated by IPVM, to IPVM members, that will disrupt trade shows:
This is good for buyers and sellers, providing free marketing for sellers to a high quality audience. For buyers, with IPVM experts moderating, they get additional insights and perspectives about the value and fit of that seller.
IPVM in Marketing
Companies can factually say that we covered them or that they are part of an online show but they can’t directly or indirectly imply that we are endorsing their company or products.
Approved - “IPVM tested [company name] see results... [link]”
NOT approved: “See why IPVM said [company name] is [better than, great, should be used, etc.]"
If you want to talk about anything else, feel free to leave a comment or email us and we will respond.
[Note: this was originally written in 2013 but was substantially updated in 2017, 2018 and 2020.]
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