Five essential questions for measuring PR success

As an industry, PR teams are continually looking at ways to improve how we gauge effectiveness of campaigns and prove we’ve shifted the dial or changed behaviour.

A recent debate on Mumbrella, a PR industry portal, put forward some interesting, yet conflicting schools of thought. The article proclaims the days of impressions as a measurement of success are over, and then in the same article says we should measure based on shares.

But are shares not impressions? At the end of the day, shares ultimately boost total impression figures.

I think the distinction the article is trying to make here is around behaviour and perception – the presumption is that a share is positive engagement, highlighting that the audience has engaged with the content, and therefore the brand. However, a lot of this is still wrapped up in assumption.

At IMPACT, we believe it is critical that we target activity effectively. Five questions we ask when measuring PR success include:

  • Is the platform appropriate to the target audience?
  • Is the content secured on third party sites of high quality and depth?
  • Does content include key brand and campaign messaging?
  • Does the campaign coverage collectively re-position or shift perceptions in line with objectives? Or is there more work to be done?
  • Depending on the campaign call-to-action, how do these metrics overlay with social media conversations, website or Facebook page traffic, lead generation, or sales?
Context and human analysis is critical to determine the effectiveness of a campaign. The more we can integrate and connect with all measures of business success, the better off we are all; if a PR campaign is successful, the marketing team and the wider business all benefit.

Pre and post-campaign measurement is still the strongest way to evaluate true shifts in perception. Sometimes brands can find this cost-prohibitive; however, it doesn’t have to be.

Brands need to weigh up the business importance of the various measurements of success in a campaign and weight both activity and evaluation accordingly. For example, if a product knows in-store is critical to purchase, a strong focus and investment in in-store communications, training of floor staff and visibility will complement paid, earned and owned media activity.

There are a huge range of measures and metrics we can incorporate into a campaign, relative to the objectives and campaign deliverables. If you want to find out more about how we can tailor metrics and evaluation, contact Katie Eastment on +61 2 9519 5411 or katie@impactagency.com.au.

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