We talk to PR professionals in both brands and agencies every day. One of the biggest frustrations that they share is more fundamental than the mechanics of PR measurement. The challenge for many is having a clear idea of which metrics matter and how to think about them in a meaningful way. What has been missing is a detailed framework, much like the demand waterfall or Buyer’s Journey used by marketers.
To address this need and provide a specific and complete way of tracking and talking about PR success, we have developed the Communicator’s Funnel. It helps provide structure to communication goals, poses the most important questions, and establishes metrics for each goal.
We recently covered this content in-depth during our on-demand webinar "Executing a Data-Driven PR Strategy", but here is the basic structure.
Brand impact is PR’s effect on how the brand is viewed by the general public and potential customers. Building a favorable impression in the marketplace is the key to engagement. Brand impact breaks down into three categories:
Before customers can flock to your brand, they have to know that it exists. You can get a feel for the market’s level of awareness of your brand by tracking the number of mentions overtime. The more frequently your name gets out there, the better your chances of becoming known to your potential buyers. But keep in mind that not all mentions are created equally. The impact varies based on the publication and the sentiment. Advanced media monitoring software can really come in handy when trying to understand awareness.
Mindshare assesses your brand’s significance in the market. It can be evaluated in a number of ways including the delta between mentions and featured mentions. (Featured mentions are articles that are about your brand or product specifically. Non-featured mentions are those where your brand is cited in an article about a broader topic.) Another measure of mindshare is share of voice, an analysis of your mentions and featured mentions vs. those of your competitors and other companies in the industry.
If you have a bad reputation, awareness, and mindshare can be dangerous. That’s why it is important to keep a close eye on how the market views your brand. This can be evaluated by looking at social amplification, sentiment and key message pull-through.
Digital impact involves two components. Driving traffic to your website and other digital properties and getting them to take action when they get there. Marketers have long understood the importance of quantifying digital impact and now PR professionals are starting to do the same. It does take a specific set of tools and a mindset that welcomes this more concrete way of thinking about and assessing the effectiveness of PR. Digital impact can be measured in the following ways:
The foundation of digital impact is how much traffic PR is driving to the website, but that is not the only thing that matters. Engagement is also critical. There’s not much joy in driving visitors to your site only to see them bounce. It is important to sort out the mentions and activities that drive action vs. the ones that might spike your visitor number, but don’t produce results.
Search ranking has a major impact on brands in more ways than the obvious. In addition to helping to boost organic traffic, it also has an impact on media contacts (are they really going to go past the first page of Google to find you). Our Communicator's Funnel eBook gets into the details on how SEO impact impact can be measured and improved.
Social amplification happens when your audience extends your digital footprint by engaging with your content and mentions on networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others. Your PR strategy should be informed by which articles or content types get the most engagement and which platform(s) are most appealing to your audience.
PR pros are probably most comfortable with the top level of our funnel, Brand Impact. Many are becoming more accustom to tracking Digital Impact. Bottom-line impact, on the other hand, is a new idea to many.
When we talk about bottom-line impact we are talking about the number of sales driven by PR, how much business was influenced by PR, and whether PR sped the buyer’s journey. For PR measurement purposes, here is how it breaks down:
The question to answer is, of all the opportunities in the pipeline, how many of them are there in whole or in part because of PR? This may seem impossible to measure, but it is doable by adding PR as a campaign or lead source in your marketing automation system.
Marketers view conversions as a change in the status of a potential buyer. For example, if I click on your website, I am a “visitor.” If I download an eBook, I am a “subscriber.” If I fill out a demo request form, I am a “lead.” (Your marketing team may use different terms, but you get the idea.) Each of these events signals positive movement toward a sale. PR pros can use the same tools that marketers do to track and report on PR driven conversions.
If are tracking conversions and you can assign a dollar value to each of them, understanding PR’s impact on revenue becomes a simple math problem. PR analytics software makes it easier by assigning values to conversions and displaying them in a way that is easy to understand. If you are trying to justify additional or continued investment in PR, keep in minds that Revenue is a language executives understand.
This post is just a high-level summary of the strategies that PR pros need to use to measure PR's impact on a brand. While this data can be aggregated from multiple sources into excel for analysis, it is an extremely time consuming process that can take days to develop meaningful PR reporting. TrendKite's PR Analytics platform can provide this data on-demand with customizable dashboards and shareable reports. Request a Demo to see a custom TrendKite dashboard for your brand.