While there isn’t a surefire answer to how to inspire world peace or peel a hard boiled egg in just one sweep, there are a few things I think we can all agree on: when it comes to measuring the success of a PR campaign, it’s all about them numbahs!
We could talk for days about the PR metrics we at AirPR find most useful (and we have). Instead, we’ve asked a handful of data-driven PR professionals the following question:
What is the most powerful PR metric you use to gauge campaign success?
“I know some people consider me a snake oil salesman because I advocate for PR-generated revenue, but the fact is if we aren’t contributing to the P&L of our organizations, we aren’t doing our jobs. Sure, there are things that cannot be directly attributed to dollars, such as brand awareness. But we know that inherently does increase sales. To that end, the most powerful PR metric we use to gauge success is how much revenue we drive through our efforts, both for ourselves and our clients.”
Founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich
2. Source traffic
“There are many (PR) metrics to consider, but the one I count on the most is source traffic. We’ve moved past impressions and hits. I’m sure I don’t have to remind everyone what HITS stands for (how idiots track success, according to PR expert and measurement queen Katie Paine).
Source traffic reveals how your PR outreach to the media, influencers, customers, and other stakeholders can be tracked. Every time you run an awareness campaign, launch a product, hold a media tour, or fundraise, you can track whether or not people visit your website for more information and how they take action. It’s the top of the sales funnel, but it’s a very important starting point.”
3. Metrics tied to specific business outcomes
“Honestly, there is no PR metric I can’t live without. At the end of the day, I want to see business outcomes, so it’s the related social PR outcomes I focus on; whether those are number of downloads, signups, attendees to a webinar I’m teaching, etc. Those numbers show engagement, interest, and action — and you can’t reach desired outcomes without action.”
President and CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting
4. Stories in “goal outlets”
“The single most vital PR metric I use to gauge success right now is the number of placements per month in my clients’ top 10 most important outlets. How to determine which outlets those are? The ones with the most prestige and credibility with their key audiences. What? A lame “small-data” metric? Yes. 🙂 Social engagements and page views can give granularity. Opt-ins and conversions obviously drive business. But the people who come to me are looking specifically to boost their credibility, so we start with finding ways to share their message with the third parties deemed most credible by the people who give them money.”
Principal at MichaelSMARTPR
5. A mixture of metrics, depending on the content
“Metric such as unique views per month for media outlets and impressions are not accurate — they are a part of an old-school approach to measurement. To measure PR success accurately, I take many things into consideration. I always have my clients track their Google Analytics to see where their website traffic is coming from. If there’s significant traffic coming from articles I’ve placed, that’s hard evidence that I’m helping create awareness for a client. Also, if I get a thought leadership piece placed and it is shared a significant number of times, then we know the article was a success. In short, I use a mixture of formulas based on the project or campaign.”
Co-founder and CEO of talkTECH