Analytics in PR: How to Measure Campaign Performance?

18 mins read

PR Metrics. Almost everything in the world is amenable to calculations and measurements. We can calculate the return on investment in contextual advertising to the nearest dollar, evaluate the effectiveness of the sales department or calculate the funds spent on legal and accounting outsourcing. But in the field of PR, it is almost impossible to accurately determine the effect produced and it is almost impossible to reflect it in figures and graphs. In the same way, it is almost impossible to measure the level of attitude towards your company from the media, society, and other businesses.

But there are several indicators (KPI) by which you can measure the effectiveness of the work done. Of course, it is quite difficult to accurately assess the effectiveness of the ongoing PR campaign. However, in the current conditions, it is the performance assessment indicators that are the main measure of the quality of PR work. Several methods allow you to indirectly determine the effectiveness of a particular PR campaign.

Digitalization is rapidly penetrating all corners of our life and PR is no exception. If back in the 90s of the last century, by measuring the number of newspaper clippings it was possible to assess the very effectiveness of a PR campaign and that was enough, now it is more complicated. The rise of social media platforms and online advertising has revolutionized. Nowadays there are difficulties in calculating but on the other hand, a lot of new methods have appeared to work on brand awareness and increase the reach of your PR messages and impressions in the media.

Clients often refuse to measure the effectiveness, because the cost of the research seems unreasonable to them in comparison with the cost of a PR campaign. Indeed, it makes no sense to conduct a sociological survey worth $10 thousand to measure, for example, the effect of a press conference worth $3 thousand.

In this article, we will explain why you should measure PR campaign results at all, how to improve your PR campaigns, what PR metrics you should follow, and why. After all, you must understand what you spent your money on by contacting a PR agency, right?

How to measure PR campaign performance?

To correctly measure the result of the work done, you will need some kind of media monitoring tool. Measuring the success of your campaign without a media monitoring tool would be a daunting and time-consuming task. After all, this way you can evaluate the feedback of your audience. Media monitoring from PRNEWS.IO can help you a lot with this. The system allows you to visually understand how your brand is perceived on the Internet, how often it is mentioned on the Internet, analyze data, follow trends and follow your main competitors.

Earlier this was all called Press Clippings. One of the methods for determining efficiency is a quantitative analysis of press clippings based on monitoring published publications about the promoted company and its products. The catch is that publications must be initiated in media whose audience matches the target audience of the brand. In case you get a sufficient number of publications in the target media, the implementation of your PR program is moving in the right direction. But you can imagine how long this process, previously carried out entirely by hand, took!

Therefore, the first thing you need to choose before launching a PR campaign is to choose the right tool for further calculating the results of the work done.

The second is planning. The tool is certainly good, but it would be great if you decided on the main goal that you set before launching the campaign. Do you want to increase brand awareness? Spark interest in new proposals? Influence your audience? Extend it? Crush your competitors? Measure the success of the campaign?

Therefore, before starting your PR activity, take the time to set goals. So you will know what to expect and it will be easier for the agency to satisfy you. The goals of any PR event should at least not contradict the overall goals of the organization at this stage of development. In general, PR activity must correspond to the strategic priorities of the company in the field of relations with target groups and the public in the broadest sense.

The third is verification. Even when you have decided on a goal, have thought out qualitatively what steps you will take, what promotion methods to use, test everything before launching. Imagine a great PR campaign that can not be measured because the tool does not work. It’s a shame, right? Therefore, ask the company with which you are going to cooperate about the possibility of a “free trial” for example. Today this is a fairly common practice.

In the context of solving the main business problems of the client, PRNEWS.IO would like to share her vision of calculating efficiency.

PR Metrics to monitor

PR Metrics to monitor

While marketing managers need to guarantee the return on their PR investment, measuring ROI is a challenge. The key to accurately and effectively measuring PR success depends on choosing the right metrics that align with the primary goal of your campaign performance. To identify the results of PR activities, the following ways have been developed:

Online Reach and Opportunities to See PR Metrics

Online Reach is the number of people who might have seen an article or campaign online.

OTS (opportunity to see) mining – an indicator used in media planning; allows you to estimate the total number of contacts in numerical terms, achieved as a result of the campaign, for example, in different cities or different media.

It is calculated as the total PR rating of the campaign, expressed in thousands of advertising contacts.

It is a great way to determine how many of your potential customers have seen your campaign.

Press clippings | PR Metrics

We have already mentioned this method. To reiterate, this is one of the simplest ways to measure the success of a PR campaign – by counting press clippings for print and online coverage.

For example, you are a PR manager and have done a great job promoting the company and increasing brand awareness. You need to make a press clipping, which you will show to the boss or the customer, and also, if the opportunity arises, you will demonstrate to partners, clients and journalists. The so-called “case”. Moreover, focus on media with high penetration into your target audience.

In the age of digital technologies, it is impossible to limit yourself only to paper media. Having made an electronic press- lipping, you can send it over the Internet or place it on a corporate website.

Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE) | PR Metrics

Advertising Value Equivalent – an indicator equivalent to the advertising cost of a publication. One of the most common ways to assess the effectiveness of PR in the media. It is calculated based on the official (declared) cost of advertising space in the media, excluding discounts, markups, and additional placement rules. It shows how much it would cost to post the material in the same place where it was published thanks to the efforts of the PR service. It is calculated by comparing the volume of publications and the tariffs of the respective media.

AVE was quite popular because the press secretaries could show the management a very specific result, expressed in money. However, it soon became apparent that advertising rates, publication space, or airtime did not reflect the quality of media presence and had practically nothing to do with PR analysis. Therefore, the organizations found the methodology questionable. A compromise option for assessing the effectiveness of AVE-based PR efforts is the PR Value indicator (also known as Weighted Media Cost). It takes into account not only the cost but also the quality of the material. For this, indicators of tonality, speaker activity, the density of references, and the genre of the article are taken.

Customer surveys|PR Metrics

After the PR event, the number of responses to the event, changes in public opinion, awareness of the target audience about the product, service, or company as a whole are assessed. All this information is obtained by posting feedback forms on the site. And when customers buy your product or service, they leave a review so you know where and from what source they first heard about the product.

The only problem with this method is that customers may have first heard about the product in the press, but since then they may also come across other marketing channels, so they can not attribute their product awareness to the press.

Tone | PR Metrics

This refers to the tone of reaction to the campaign. For example, if you have 30 press clippings mentioning a brand, but 20 of them are negative, this is unwanted coverage and demonstrates that is needed a change in campaign message. The emphasis should be on a positive tone. Follow the current pattern and change the overall strategy of the campaign. Or maybe it is worth changing the person who does this?

Be sure to also provide some kind of response to negative coverage. After all, it continues to hang on the net. If something gets into the network it will not go anywhere from it. Therefore, carefully monitor your reputation.

Sales figures | PR Metrics

The easiest way to assess the effectiveness of a PR campaign is by analyzing financial indicators: dynamics of sales growth, profit growth, analysis of the percentage of attracted customers, comparing the size of the average check.

If during the launch of a PR campaign, all other marketing activities remain constant, and sales growth is expected in the coming weeks, the campaign likely caused the increase.

Awareness | PR Metrics

Rather, it is another very important goal of the PR campaign. What was the “return” from the publications? The number of calls, comments, letters received from the target audience and journalists is analyzed. Surveys, social media monitoring, and main website traffic can demonstrate how much brand awareness has increased since the start of the campaign. Especially today, the space of social media and the blogosphere can serve as a qualitative indicator of the level of public awareness. After all, the analysis of the dynamics of mentions of your brand in social networks also allows you to judge the effectiveness of PR support of the brand. Because for many today, the opinion of a blogger is more important than their own), consider this point as well.

To summarize, combining metrics is the best way to get a more complete picture of campaign results.

Why do you need to measure the result of a PR campaign?

Why do you need to measure the result of a PR campaign?

The main point is this – without proper measurement of public relations, you will not be able to evaluate the results of your work and provide your customers with even better services!

Of course, the company’s image depends on many factors and promotion channels in the aggregate. Therefore, it is difficult to directly measure how the work of a PR manager has influenced the growth of brand awareness. At the same time, most companies evaluate the effectiveness of the PR channel in different ways. There is no universal way. But you can not improve a single point of your performance if you do not measure the results. After all, how to determine what to improve and how much?

Measuring a PR campaign will show what works and what does not. What channels should you give up, and what to focus on. After all, you never 100% know what kind of response the campaign will receive from the audience. Moreover, calculating the results of your PR campaign will help you justify your PR expenses, which is important.

Strengths of PR measuring

Strengths of PR measuring
  • prove to the authorities the value of your work (agency work);
  • confirmation that certain business goals have been achieved;
  • monitoring the popularity of your brand on the network;
  • monitoring the increase in the number of references and improvement of the quality of references (transition from regional to central press, access to the pages of leading business publications);
  • “OTS” and counting potential online customers;
  • defining a workable PR strategy and dividing the results of PR activity into short and long term;
  • identify the strengths and weaknesses of your actions. This way you can improve your next campaigns.

That is high-quality and deep analytics of public relations impact.

What are the recommended actions for companies in this regard? Determine which of these indicators will be counted and how. Measuring some of them requires expensive research or the use of professional services. But you can take into account some of the metrics on your own, the main thing is that they can be used to track not only the efforts made but also the actual result. 

Also, as we said above, because there are no universal metrics for assessing the effectiveness of PR, we constantly communicate with colleagues in the market, discuss experience, study the market and share our vision for the development of marketing channels in general. 

All this helps you stay current in the analysis tools you are using, discover new ones, and evaluate previous actions. Evaluation of effectiveness is also necessary to confirm the choice of certain instruments for the implementation of one’s communication program.

Also, do not forget to keep an eye on your competitors. Good luck with your thing.

Nastya Zelenovskaya

Content marketing manager at PRnews.io

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