The Language of Media Analytics. It’s Easier Than You Think.

Learning a new language is never easy. But, the language of metrics in media analytics? Dr. Esther Thorson says that can be learned in three weeks – tops.

As part of the Strategic Communication Master’s Program, Thorson teaches Media Analytics and is an expert on advertising, audience and messaging. In addition to her 100+ peer-reviewed research articles, 20+ book chapters and 6 edited volumes, she has received multiple awards for her studies on advertising and journalism, and was the first female Fellow of the American Academy of Advertising.


Dr. Thorson is also an enthusiastic teacher. In the StratCom Media Analytics class, she shares her extensive knowledge of audience targeting and data analysis. Analytics skills are helpful for advertisers, PR specialists, journalists and anyone else who needs to make sure they are communicating effectively with the right people.

What the Class Delivers

Despite the potentially intimidating subject matter, Dr. Thorson says this class is perfect for beginners. Students are introduced to the basics of media metrics, including the terms, tools and uses of analytics. "Just knowing the language of the metrics is huge," she says.

Once you learn that... you're really going to be able to talk to potential employers very effectively.

Knowing the language and tools of media analytics will allow students to better understand their potential audiences. She explains, "If you want to know more about audiences, millennials, how men and women differ, the Golden Agers... this is a great class."

This class is not just for beginners, however. Learning analytics can enhance any set of communication skills by helping the student to deliver their message to the correct audiences and helping the student to analyze the effectiveness of their message. For example, Dr. Thorson says, a student with experience in branding would be able to "figure out much more sophisticated ways to get the personality of the brand out there" with media analytics.

Learning is a Two-Way Street

Despite her many years of research and teaching, Dr. Thorson says she learns something new in every class. She points out that for most of her students, "their whole life is digital everything," and that these digital natives always surprise her with what they can do. "I think the number one reason I love to teach is that I learn so much. I like to see what students can do... it always surprises me."

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