What the Data: Measure PR Bottom-Line Impacts

September 12, 2018 Lacey Miller

In the past, PR focused on the top of the sales funnel — brand awareness. More and more, PR pros are looking at site analytics to measure PR’s digital impact, too. But at TrendKite, we organize metrics that matter into a framework we call the Communicator’s Funnel — and with it, we do all that plus measure PR’s bottom line impact.

Read previous post: What the Data: The Digital PR Impact

PR value isn’t just a guessing game. We can measure and report on concrete value that earned media and PR activity drive for the business. How? We’ve broken it down into 3 categories — influenced pipeline, conversion, and revenue — to help you prove PR’s value:


Influenced Pipeline 

Think of “pipeline" as all the the business that, in a perfect world, your business could close. It’s made up of potential customers who are aware of your brand, and engaged in shopping or other high value activity or, for B2B, in an active sales cycle. PR helps build this pipeline — your task is to find out how much.

Check in with your demand generation or marketing team to learn how they measure pipeline activity. Your company might use systems like Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot, or Eloqua. When a new prospect enters the sales pipeline, the marketing team tags the prospect with a lead source or campaign.

By adding PR as a campaign or lead source, you’ll soon be able to run reports showing which pipeline prospects were influenced by PR. Spoiler alert: it’s almost certainly more prospects than you (or your CMO and CFO) might suspect.

Conversions

There’s more to digital marketing than just getting visitors to the site — you need those visitors to convert. Think of a conversion as a “change in status.” When you browse on Amazon, you’re a prospect. When you make a purchase, you’ve been “converted” into a customer. And a sale isn’t the only conversion that matters.

Dive into your marketing team’s goals, and you’ll find they monitor a number of high-value activities as conversions. It may be downloads of sales collateral, online purchases, donations, or sign-ups to a list. Work with marketing to draw up a list.

With this information and site analytics, PR can report on how many conversions PR drove in a given time period and compare the conversion rate of PR-driven traffic against the other site traffic. For example, if an article drives traffic that traffic converts more frequently, PR has tapped into a valuable audience.

Revenue

Forget ad value equivalency. PR drives traffic that takes high value actions — and those actions tie to actual sales, bookings, demo requests that are worth money. You can measure PR value in terms of revenue.

A good marketer will know the dollar value high value activities. An online retailer will know how much an average shopper spends per transaction. A B2B marketer will know the cost and value of a new opt-in or content download based on how often those visitors convert to customers. A non-profit executive will know the average value of an additional donor.

If the value of a conversion is known, the total revenue is easy to calculate. Google Analytics makes it easier by calculating the value based on the dollar value assigned to each goal. A PR analytics platform like TrendKite can make it even easier by pulling that value right into your PR dashboard.

In any case, the math is simple: average value per conversion event x number of conversion events. When you can say “PR drove 10k visitors, 100 completed a high value action, and that represents $350k of revenue — that’s when the power of earned media will become clear to your C-suite.

Metrics that matter allow PR pros to advise business leaders on bottom-line in a language they understand — business value. It’s all about guessing less, and knowing more.

Whether we’re talking brand impact, digital impact, or bottom-line impact, the right metrics empower you to prove PR value across the entire sales funnel. Leave conceptual conversations behind and focus on data-driven reporting that gets PR recognition you’ve earned.

About the Author

Lacey Miller

Passionate about public relations and empowering practitioners, Lacey Miller found her dream job at TrendKite, where she carries the crown of 'word nerd'. With a background in public relations and technology, she's a great fit with her desire to innovate the industry! You can find her most days writing for PR Forward, PRSA, and other marketing trade publications.

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