Can you believe that about 82 percent of PR professionals had no idea how to measure and evaluate their campaign’s ROI not that long ago? Yes, measuring PR campaigns is tricky, but you can’t ignore this process if you want to succeed with your PR endeavors.
PR measurement serves to improve your media coverage and communications, track the distribution of materials, and measure your earned media value. More than that, it provides access to your PR effort’s results and allows you to prepare reports for presenting your work results to supervisors. The long and short of it: PR measurement and analysis is your proven way to craft campaigns for maximum customer benefit.
This article reveals the most critical PR metrics for you to follow when evaluating ROI. They’ll help you measure campaign results and understand if everything goes the way you planned.
But first, the question:
How to measure a PR campaign?
Most PR professionals use media monitoring tools to reach the metrics and evaluate them. Such tools let you follow KPIs and assess the impact on the business you promote. When measuring a campaign’s success without any corresponding tool, a PR manager risks coming up short and choosing the wrong strategy. Plus, it becomes a super time-consuming task.
But don’t think that tools will do all the job on PR measurement for you.
First, you need to prepare for running and measuring the results of your work. And that’s where PR campaign planning comes into place: Clearly defined and measurable goals will allow you to set up a project and define the metrics you’ll need to monitor to improve your communications.
What do you plan to achieve with your PR campaign?
- Raise brand awareness?
- Spark the interest in a new product?
- Make the audience take a specific action?
Once you know the goal, you can prepare a PR strategy, choose the keywords (company or campaign-specific hashtags, or any other industry-related terms), and decide on metrics you’ll need to know for achieving it.
So, what are the top seven PR metrics for you to consider?
In a world producing tons of data daily, it’s challenging to choose the right PR metrics—those providing actionable insights into the campaign and helping your brand grow. Here, a colossal temptation is to focus on so-called vanity metrics—those that look great in reporting documents but bring no practical value to your campaign.
Instead, please do your best to consider the following seven:
1) Brand mentions
For many PR campaigns, this metric is a primary one, especially if the goal is to raise brand awareness in the media. Some PR professionals may know it as “the volume of mentions.” It indicates how often your brand name, hashtag, or any other word of your interest has been mentioned online during a set timeframe.
Brand mentions also help you see what people say about a brand or a product you promote. A PR metric we know as sentiment assists here.
The sentiment is about the feeling your prospects has toward your PR message. Not that long ago, marketers used metrics such as the number of page visits or the bounce rate to guess the audience’s interest. Now, more accurate ways to track the sentiment exist.
PR specialists analyze the language people use and theses they generate while discussing a particular topic online. Based on the words and emojis they use, three types of sentiment can be assigned: positive, negative, or neutral.
It stands to reason that a high volume of mentions with positive sentiment is a sign of a campaign’s success: Not only do people spread the news about you, but they are also happy about your message. But if the negative sentiment prevails, it’s a sign of a crisis and a signal that you need to implement changes to your campaign. Otherwise, it can hurt your brand reputation far more.
As a PR specialist, you probably know what can be worse than negative sentiment: No mentions or sentiment at all! It means that all your PR endeavors are in vain. To understand if it’s so, consider the metric we all know as engagement.
Engagement is about the activity users display towards your PR materials on social media. Here, you’ll examine the number of likes, shares, and comments, encouraging the community to be more active if necessary. The higher engagement on your posts, the more visible they become on social media channels. It’s your chance to reach a broader audience and build an engaged community around your brand.
Reach is a metric allowing you to measure how many users could have seen your PR materials online, both on social media and outside of it. The higher your reach, the bigger your chances for a successful PR campaign.
Most media monitoring tools can collect the data from all central social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Plus, they allow you to monitor other media outlets, tracking the right KPIs this way.
5) Website traffic
Even though many PR campaigns focus on social media channels, please don’t forget about your website: Its traffic can provide tons of insights regarding your campaign’s quality. Google Analytics is the instrument that will help here.
Qualified leads, referrals, and bounce rate are the metrics to pay attention to when analyzing your website performance. Then you’ll know where your potential clients come from and whether they like what they see on your website.
6) Earned media value
It’s one of the most critical metrics for PR specialists today. Earned media value reveals how much money you would have to spend on a PR campaign to achieve maximum results via advertising. It shows the correlation between your work and the budget your company or client saves.
7) Email metrics
Email outreach is an integral part of most PR campaigns. If yours are among them, you’ll need to follow several email metrics such as open rate, click-through rate, and response rate to measure the results.
Without a proper PR campaign measurement in place, you won’t be able to evaluate your work results and understand if you did everything right. You need to set up clear goals before you start a campaign, decide on core metrics you’ll use to measure success, and adjust your PR marketing strategy accordingly. Keep in mind the activity on social media, have a crisis management plan in place, and remember competitor analysis: It will help you see your strengths and weaknesses.