Jan 29th 2020

Measuring the impact of PR campaigns

I had a new business meeting last week with a start-up whose main focus wasn’t on our relationships, nor on how we work, but instead was on how we measure the impact of these things. Of course, measurement comes up all the time in PR, but this was the first time I’ve had such an unwavering request for us to prove the results of what we do.

The PR industry is continuing to work towards a universally agreed method for measurement.  And we’ll continue to subscribe to the AMEC framework (along with many others) as a guide, as it does.

Measurement isn’t just something to talk about in a pitch and then never to mention again – or to just revisit on an ad hoc basis. Measuring the impact of PR campaigns is an ongoing process which must be continually analysed and reviewed as business objectives evolve.

Translating business objectives to measurable PR objectives

Let’s start with business objectives. It’s imperative to know what these targets are for your business. These will dictate the PR strategy that is adopted and delivered, and the audiences that your messaging needs to reach. The key here is for PR agency and brand to work together to ensure business objectives can be translated into clear, measurable PR objectives. For example; ‘grow brand awareness in the media’ becomes ‘increase share of voice against competitors in relevant, defined media’.

More than this, the question to ask is: ‘what are the business outcomes that matter and how can those be measured?’ An easy way to find initial answers to these questions is to use a measurement tool like Google Analytics in order to get a deeper insight into the volume and type of traffic to your brand’s website. Allowing a PR agency access to Google Analytics insights enables it to track peaks in traffic which can be linked to campaigns and coverage simply and effectively.

Setting PR campaign benchmarks

Which leads us to setting those parameters. There has to be a benchmark.

For web analytics: what are the current levels of web traffic you are seeing? Where is it coming from?

For share of voice: who are the competitors that matter? Where is the audience getting its information from and therefore where does your brand need to be visible/increase visibility?

For coverage: what are the current coverage levels? Where is the coverage? How well is your message cutting through?

Setting up for measurable PR success

Brands and agencies must work together to ensure that the most effective parameters are put in place. And this measurement should be at the heart of any proposed programme or campaign. When you’re listening to a proposal or idea from an agency, look out for how metrics are considered and built in at every stage.

And remember that measurement is not static. It must be analysed regularly and adjusted as your business moves forward. If you want to find out more about how best to set the right measurement parameters for your brand’s marketing and PR campaign, get in touch with the team at Babel.