The PR discipline at large is still trying to come up with widely accepted measurement criteria. The Barcelona Principles—which now include specific suggestions for measuring social media—do a good job at this, but they remain unknown to many communicators. On top of this general confusion, many social networks offer their own native analytics. With these tips, PR pros will be able to gather and analyze their data to align with business goals and build social media intelligence into organizational strategies.
It is becoming increasingly critical to meet the needs of businesses that operate in different markets around the world. As a result, many companies are integrating global media measurement programs into their communications plans to provide a worldwide roadmap that drives future strategy. If you are considering a similar path, here are some important steps to take your measurement program global. Many are the same that you follow in your U.S. market. But there are some stark differences that require your attention.
One of the most polarizing topics in PR generally and among the measurati in particular is advertising value equivalency, commonly known as AVEs. And yet, notwithstanding the controversy and despite efforts promoting professional standards to the contrary, AVEs remain among the most common form of measurement in PR. Why are they so popular with the masses? And why do so many PR experts hate them? Essentially, advertising equivalency is an easy, accessible way to attribute a dollar value to media coverage by calculating print column inches and TV/radio time factored by the cost of that space and time on an “if-purchased basis.” But does it represent value? And if so, is it the best way to demonstrate PR’s unique contribution to the enterprise? Let’s explore the history of AVEs, detail reasons against their use and shed light on the current state of AVE measurement to provide a balanced view along with a moderate’s advice on a better way forward.
After a reported two years of testing recipes, researching and listening to consumers, PepsiCo admitted June 27 it had goofed regarding artificial sweeteners. The result: Not even one year after spurning aspartame and launching Diet Pepsi with sucralose, the soft drink brand was forced to reverse course. Amid falling sales and consumer outcry, it said Diet Pepsi with aspartame will return shortly. Adding a touch of confusion to the situation, PepsiCo also will continue to offer Diet Pepsi with sucralose. Importantly for communicators, this sour episode occurred when it’s easier than ever to gather information about customer preference via social media.
No matter how great the current state of analytics is, the experience of putting together a visual campaign on social media may bring back nostalgia for the days when data was harder to come by. There’s just too much to measure. With the various types of media available—video, still images, infographics, etc.—the task of developing a fitting measurement framework at the beginning of a campaign can be uniquely tricky.
PR News’ Measurement Hall of Fame members have a thing about data or, rather, a thing about the casual disregard of data in the PR discipline. Few things aggravate them more than a PR professional who worries openly about proving the value of communications efforts yet shies away from taking the first steps toward using data to inform their work and show the effect of their work on an organization’s goals.
In 2002, social networking came into play with the launch of Friendster, followed by LinkedIn in 2003. In 2006, Facebook opened up to the general public and Twitter launched. With each new social media milestone, the movement to cultivate relationships with influencers has grown. As we know, modern-day social influencers are prominent people, often bloggers, who have the reputation and power to sway others with their opinions. They represent opportunities to shape perceptions about your corporate and brand reputation, in addition to your products and solutions. The long-term goal is to convert them into brand advocates.
For communicators looking to implement visual campaigns across the social spectrum, there’s no shortage of things to consider when building a measurement framework. Large multinational corporations like Oracle, for example, need to take into account which platforms have greater impact in various countries around the globe. Though many organizations don’t have to deal with this kind of complexity, there’s always the issue of making sure everyone is speaking the same measurement language.
Most American adults know exercise and diet are critical to a healthy, fulfilling life. Still, only about half of us get the amount of exercise the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. It’s similar when it comes to PR measurement. PR pros know it’s important to measure, but measurement itself often is done minimally or skipped altogether.
Despite years of being asked for more concrete performance metrics, of complaining that “they just don’t understand” what we do, and of being given opportunities at every turn to make a change, we somehow believe that public relations is absolved from having to play by the same rules.