CPM: A Legitimate PR Tool for Online Communications

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With PR pros looking to measure the effectiveness of community outreach via their digital channels, there’s an ongoing debate about whether CPM (cost-per-thousand) should be part of the conversation.

CPM, of course, is a universal advertising measurement. It enables media brands to sell advertising inventory based on the number of eyeballs that view an ad, whether in print or online.

Media mavens tend to pooh-pooh CPMs as a legitimate PR tool.

But CPMs can apply to a slew of digital channels, starting with the volume of traffic on your website. CPMs can also apply to social channels, such as the number of Facebook followers.

“Thousand” can represent “quality messages delivered through target[ed] media,” according to Mark Weiner, CEO of PRIME Research Americas. And in an increasingly digital age, targeted media could mean a Twitter campaign, engaging with a LinkedIn group or posting a video on YouTube.

As digital channels evolve into the core of marketing communications, the onus is on PR pros to measure all their digital efforts and align them with corporate goals and objectives.

In this excerpt from PR News’ Digital PR Guidebook Weiner and Johna Burke, executive VP of media monitoring company BurrellesLuce, provide a checklist of what C-level executives want in PR measurement.

1. Align PR measures with the organization’s overall objectives (rather than professional or departmental goals).

2. Report PR results in the language of business (rather than PR speak such “buzz,” “impressions” and “influencers.”)

3. Make sure reports are concise, accurate and guide the decisions executives make (in addition to informing the decisions practitioners make).

4. Avoid perceived prejudice by employing third-party objectivity (similar to an account’s annual audit or a doctor’s physical exam).

5. Eliminate risk by applying generally accepted PR measurement techniques and metrics (Barcelona Principles).

For the full report on this topic, plus dozens of other actionable tips and tactics for digital communications, order the 2013 PR News Digital Guidebook now.

Follow Matthew Schwartz: @mpsjourno1

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About Matthew Schwartz

Group Editor, PR News: Matthew Schwartz is group editor of PR News, the leading source of trends, how-to content and best practices for PR professionals. Matthew leads the editorial strategy for PR News’ premium content products—including its weekly newsletter—and for its digital presence. Matthew was editor of PR News from 2003-2005. Prior to returning to PR News, Matthew was a reporter for Crain’s BtoB and Media Business magazines, where he covered business marketers and media companies. He was also editor of BMA Buzz, a biweekly email newsletter covering B2B marketing, advertising and social media, and contributing writer to Advertising Age Custom. Matthew has helped to launch blogs on behalf of ZoomInfo and direct marketing agency The Kern Organization. He also spent a few years in cable-news precincts, working as a writer/producer at CNN and Fox News Channel.

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