Imperva - An analysis of twelve months of international press coverage

This blog takes a look at Imperva's international press coverage over the last twelve months.


Over the last twelve months Imperva has had an up-and-down experience at the hands of the press. They are a good example of how a PR campaign can be totally derailed by unforeseen crises, and yet salvaged with a carefully orchestrated crisis management PR program. 

The chart below shows the volume of coverage that Imperva had in the last 12-months across 22 different countries in coverage points (click here for an explanation of coverage points). The orange line shows, of all the journalists that wrote about Imperva, the percentage that wrote about Imperva in each particular month. 

There were five main coverage peaks: 

  • March 2019, when Imperva reported a bug in Facebook Messenger with lots of different journalists eagerly reporting on Facebook’s flaw. Although there were many stories, Imperva were rarely the main focus and hence the impact made was less than if they’d dominated the stories.
  • In June it was widely reported that Imperva had acquired Distil Networks. This, in coverage terms, was a big success with great volume and a large number of writers involved.
  • Then in August, one of the quietest months of the year for news, it disclosed that it had been breached and that customer API keys and SSL certificates had been exposed. The press, naturally, seized on this story of a security company being breached. However, by disclosing the breach Imperva were able to control the narrative to some extent.
  • In October they carefully and fully explained how the breach had occurred and their CEO, Chris Hylen, stepped down.
  • The final peak was in January when it was announced that they had appointed Pam Murphy, the former Info COO, as their new CEO.


The Apollo research team identified 221 different journalists that wrote about Imperva across 22 countries over the last twelve months.

Of these 69% of them wrote about Imperva once, and of the ones that did write multiple times only 5.4 percent wrote five or more articles mentioning Imperva. 

Story Types

At Apollo we categorise stories in one of 17 different ways. Looking through the prominent stories that featured Imperva the largest number of stories were devoted to the security breach that Imperva suffered in August. The accompanying movement of senior executives meant that 22.1 percent was about executive appointments whilst the third largest was acquisitions - mainly to do with the purchase of Distil Networks but plenty of smaller mentions referencing Thoma Bravo’s acquisition of Imperva at the beginning of last year.

Sentiment of Coverage

Thanks to the breach in August and the fall-out that resulted from it, nearly 40 percent of Imperva’s coverage was negative. However, over 60 percent was either neutral or positive.

Audience Reach

We expect that Imperva’s main audience are security professionals and, in particular CISOs. In the USA we took a look at the reach they achieved through their press coverage with those audiences plus CIOs and network professionals:

We can see that they reached more CIOs than CISOs throughout the year, but the CISOs they did reach had 33 opportunities to see Imperva’s news.

These are a selection of other audiences they reached through their coverage in the USA:

If you want to know which media will give you the greatest reach amongst security professionals, CISOs and CIOs then have a look at our Media Planning Guides on Security Professionals, CISOs and CIOs. These planning guides will give you excellent guidance in where you should concentrate your PR efforts, and also your advertising budget. If you'd like to see an example of one of these guides then there are quite a few available, such as the Media Planning Guide to Targeting Indian IT Managers, that can be downloaded for free.

Editorial rivals

This chart shows the companies that were mentioned most alongside Imperva. Top of the list is Thoma Bravo, Imperva’s owners. Imperva had many mentions where the main story was about Thoma Bravo’s acquisitions. Many of the other companies in this list compete directly with Imperva.

If you want to see more on some of these companies then click on any of these links:  Thoma Bravo, Veracode, Google, McAfee, Fortinet, IBM, Cloudflare, LogRhythm

Top themes and topics

The top topic was, unsurprisingly, ‘Security Company’ because that is how the press describe Imperva. However, the other themes and topics in this list are a bit more interesting with mergers and acquisitions with the second largest share and Imperva’s specialist areas such as Web Application Firewalls, Application Security, DDoS protection and Bot Management all featuring.

We hope you found this analysis interesting and if you would like a similar analysis on your company then get in contact at