Zoom - An analysis of its international press coverage over the last twelve months

Zoom, in the last couple months, have probably done more than any other technology company in helping to keep estranged families and friends connected during this very difficult Covid-19 crisis. Its prevalence has, in a very short time, tuned it into a generic verb for all online video contact. Expressions such as "we're Zooming tonight with friends" have become common parlance in the last few weeks.

So we thought it'd be interesting to take a look at the way Zoom has been covered in the press over the last twelve months. It's been a turbulent but very interesting journey for this video communications company.

Coverage

The coverage landscape for Zoom has changed somewhat since April 2019 when it successfully launched its IPO. Prior to that, Zoom had very little coverage in the business pages of the national and mainstream media. Now they have a lot more scrutiny of their financial performance and even in March 2020 where it was receiving lots of favourable coverage, the Q4 results and its projection of slower future growth contributed significantly to the volume of coverage.

In this twelve month period it has been covered by the press in all the 24 countries that Apollo Research currently monitors, and the chart below shows the volume of coverage across those countries measured in coverage points (click here for an explanation of coverage points) and plots it against the percentage of the total number of journalists that covered Zoom (orange line).

Zoom's coverage across the months has been steadily between 10,000 and 20,000 coverage points (the average point score for a technology company in an article is 43 points, but Zoom average 53 points throughout the year). There was one large peak last month, and four other peaks driven by a range of different stories:

  • April 2019 - This month saw the very successful IPO with many financial commentators very excited about the event. It also primed them to take a closer look at Zoom.
  • June 2019 - Following the IPO, Zoom published its first set of earnings which were very positive. In addition it announced a partnership with Sennheiser and a reselling agreement with Verizon.
  • July 2019 - Until July, press coverage for Zoom had been almost universally favourable but in this month it was discovered that a flaw in its software was leaving Apple Mac users' webcams vulnerable to being hijacked. This dominated coverage for most of July with both Apple and Zoom taking steps to fix the problem.
  • October 2019 - This month started with another security issue when it was discovered that Zoom, along with Cisco Webex, had bugs that let attackers spy on meetings. This news was subsumed later in the month by Zoomtopia, Zoom's user conference, where a whole raft of positive stories were covered.
  • March 2020 - As the Covid-19 crisis hit and countries went into lock-down, so Zoom emerged in an explosion of press coverage. Most reporting concentrated on how to use it and how it was being used in a mostly warm and positive manner. However, there were also plenty of less positive stories that questioned Zoom's security. In addition, Zoom announced its Q4 results which were very good but projections for slower future growth prompted a drop in share price.

 

Story Type

Despite Zoom's extraordinary recent rise in popularity, the last twelve months have been blighted by security issues which the press are only too happy to report. In the chart below we took a look at Zoom's top 500 stories by coverage point score (i.e. those stories where Zoom featured most prominently) and, it's clear to see that nearly a third of Zoom's stories over the last year have centred around the security issues affecting its service.

With Zoom's IPO and reporting four quarters in the period, it is unsurprising that 'Financial' was the next highest story type. The third highest was that of 'Deployment' with most of that coverage coming in March 2020 as people and companies made full use of the service and journalists offered advice on how to setup and use it.

 

Sentiment

Whilst the general sentiment towards Zoom is currently very favourable, its security woes over the last twelve months has meant that it's actually had more negative coverage than positive. But overall, almost 75 percent of its coverage was either positive or neutral.

 

Journalists

The Apollo research team identified 2,140 different journalists that wrote about Zoom across the 24 countries over the last twelve months. 

As can be seen in the chart below, 7.5 percent of these 2,140 journalists covered them in five or more articles:

 

Audience Reach in the USA

Because Zoom appeals to so many different job functions and groups of people it's difficult for us, at Apollo Research, to pin point the exact target audience for its media coverage. The fact that during this twelve month period it reached more CIOs in the USA than any other buying group suggests that CIOs may be its primary target audience, although it also did well at reaching a high percentage of CMOs and giving them over 465 opportunities to see Zoom's message in the USA.

They've also been pretty successful at reaching USA based Sales Directors and CFOs.

Below is a list of how they got on in reaching other job functions in the USA via their press coverage. The top group reached here were CTOs and also scored highly with Data Analysts and Project Managers. 

If you want to know which media will give you the greatest reach CIOs, CFOS or CMOs then have a look at our Media Planning Guides on CIOs, CFOs and CMOs. 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

Which companies were covered the most in articles where Zoom were mentioned? In total there were 2,780 different technology companies that were mentioned alongside Zoom but the chart below shows the top 15 together with the percentage of articles they shared with Zoom. Most of the companies in this list have products that either compete are complimentary with Zoom. Microsoft, with Teams and Skype were the highest ranking appearing in over 25 percent of Zoom's articles (they also own Windows which also gets plenty of mentions). 

More details on some of these companies international coverage can be seen here: Slack Technologies, Google, Cisco, Apple, LogMeIn, Blue Jeans Network, Dropbox, PagerDuty, Atlassian Software, Salesforce.

Themes and Topics

This next chart shows the topics that featured most prominently in Zoom's coverage. It won't come as any surprise that videoconferencing has the largest share. IPOs, webcams, collaboration and chatrooms also feature strongly. Vulnerability and privacy are key themes and featured prominently in much of Zoom's negative coverage.

 

Qualitative Terms

We don't normally show this chart in our company reviews but we thought Zoom's qualitative terms (i.e. the way the press describe Zoom and its products) was quite interesting. 

The two biggest qualitative descriptions accounting for over a third of its qualitative coverage was 'Quality' and 'Ease of use'. There is no question that the press regard Zoom as a very good product and it often scores favourably when it's compared with its competition. The fact that 'Leader/Top' accounted for 11 percent does, perhaps, lead naturally from the 'Quality/Ease of use' description.

Many of the terms here amplify the characteristics that have made Zoom so successful in the last few weeks.

We hope you found this analysis of Zoom's international press coverage interesting and if you would like a similar analysis on your company then get in contact at enquiries@apolloresearch.com.