Each April, PR News inducts into its Measurement Hall of Fame communications professionals who have played longtime leadership roles in helping to define and expand industry measurement strategies, programs and standards. This year’s inductees—Elizabeth Rector, John Gilfeather, Richard Bagnall and Mike Daniels—will be honored during a special ceremony April 21 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. during PR News’ Measurement Conference.
Most of us are familiar with the core KPIs of Google Analytics such as users, sessions, page views, bounce rate, average time on page, search and CTR. These metrics are important to The Coca-Cola Company too. But do they provide the holistic view the company needs? The answer is, no, because they alone do not capture engagement. So, the company created its own KPI.
Trying to separate the signal from the noise when it comes to PR measurement can be a daunting task. There is so much data at your disposal that it’s tempting to try and embrace it all. But one of the most common traps companies fall into when starting a measurement program is in taking too wide of a view of what should be measured, says Jessica Onick, corporate public relations program manager at B2B software firm Citrix. “The biggest mistake that we as PR people make is the tendency to want to measure the universe,” she said.
As PR pros know, measuring the effectiveness of social media posts can be tricky. Many measurement strategies emphasize vanity metrics such as reach, impressions, shares or retweets, but those KPIs can be misleading. Just because a tweet is re-tweeted multiple times doesn’t mean users actually are clicking on the link found within. So communicators must separate quantitative and qualitative metrics—volume vs. quality—for a more complete picture, says Danielle Brigida, national social media manager at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Measuring the impact of social media posts can be tricky. Many social media measurement strategies revolve around “vanity” metrics like reach, impressions, shares or retweets, but those KPIs can be misleading. Just because a tweet is retweeted multiple times doesn’t mean users are actually clicking on the link found within. So, communicators must separate quantitative and qualitative metrics—volume vs. quality—to get a more complete picture of how social media posts are faring, says Danielle Brigida, national social media manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Google Analytics can be a powerful tool for measuring the effectiveness of PR work—but only if you know where to look. New users can easily be overwhelmed by Google Analytics, falling prey to “analysis paralysis” in trying to navigate its many moving parts. Here’s a quick checklist of where to look, and what to look for, as a primer on navigating all of that data.
Facebook has reported more metrics troubles for those who use its mobile platform (read: most Facebook users). The social platform has reported a discrepancy between Like and Share counts when a user enters a URL into the search bar in its mobile app. The true count of shares could be above or below the number reported; Facebook says it is working to resolve the issue.
The term PR may be obsolete by the end of 2017. The concept of PR meaning ”building relationships with one’s publics” remains valid. But the common vernacular meaning of PR as being mostly about media relations is rapidly going the way of the landline and the floppy disk. Look at titles today. My database used to be filled with titles like “PR manager.” Now it includes one or more of the following words in an astonishing variety of combinations: social, digital, content marketing, PESO, public relations, public affairs, communications, advertising, marketing, development, events, etc.
It’s too late in the year to plan and execute a new PR campaign. And you lack the amount you would need in the budget for another major expenditure. But your use-it-or-lose-it situation means you need a smart solution, stat. Have no fear: It’s measurement to the rescue. Why measurement? Think of it as an opportunity to demonstrate to your company leadership that you can be resourceful and that you understand the importance of data. In other words, use the rest of your budget in a data-driven media analysis to substantiate the influence of your 2016 PR effort and provide a strategic roadmap for 2017.
Google Analytics is among a PR pro’s most valuable means of proving ROI on a campaign. But for communicators that consider themselves more wordsmiths than STEM experts, it can be challenging to move past “analysis paralysis” when approaching a complex tool like Google Analytics.