How do you measure Public Relations campaigns?
The pressure to measure Public Relations campaigns in hard numbers has never been higher. While the true value of a PR campaign will never be captured in a spreadsheet, today we can use analytics to make smarter decisions about Public Relations from defining your target audience to how we measure Public Relations results.
Defining your target audience
Years ago, when PR pros were their planning Public Relations strategies and tactics, they had to make educated guesses about their audience. One of the most important things you can do when you’re planning a campaign is figure out who your target audience is – and to do that, you should look at who’s engaging with you the most already. All you need to do is link your website to Google Analytics to get a world of information about your visitors.
Under All Website Data, click the Audience tab on the left. Straight away, you’ll see which countries your visitors come from. Under the demographics tab, you can find out what the gender breakdown of your visitors is and their age profiles. How valuable is that information in deciding on your messaging?
And that’s just to get you started, the further you go down through the Audience menu, the more the sophisticated the information gets – you can even find out what your audiences interests are; whether they log on from desktops, tablets or mobile devices; and what proportion of your visitors are new compared with those who have visited before.
By the time you’ve delved through all that data, you should have a really clear idea of who you’re going to target your next campaign at!
So, you created a super-targeted campaign and implemented it. Congratulations! Now, how are you going to measure the results? Well, for most campaigns you’ll be looking to see if you generated either awareness or action. Google Analytics to the rescue once again. Head back to the Audience tab to start looking at your results.
You can track how many people visited a specific page on your site – but that’s not enough to really tell how they got there, or if they genuinely engaged with your content. First, check the channels your visits came from – were they organic traffic from search engines, direct hits from someone typing your site’s URL in, referral traffic from another site linking to yours, or social media channels.
You can look at how much time they spent on your site, which is a good indicator of awareness – if the average time spent on site is less than 30 seconds, that’s not good news, but if it’s above two minutes then you’re doing great!
Your bounce rate is also an important thing to keep an eye on – that means how many people left or bounced from your site after looking at just one page. The lower your bounce rate is the better. To keep your bounce rate low, you should make sure your site is rich in content, that it’s easy to navigate, and that you optimize your images and link internally to other relevant posts.
Here are some of the ways analytics can help you drive revenue. Has there been an increase in web sales as a result of the campaign? Sometime attribution can be difficult, but try to use the dashboard in your sales software to track any uptick in sales. If you use discount codes or coupons in your PR activity, the sales results tie back directly to your PR goals.
If your website gets a lot of traffic, you can drive extra revenue by hosting Google Adsense ads. Adsense connects directly with Google Analytics, so you can monitor which posts and pages generate the most income for you.
Social media and email engagement
If your campaign is connected to a landing page, you can track how many new email subscribers it generated – email subscribers often convert into buyers at a later stage, so getting new subscribers is really important. Monitor your social media analytics too; watch out for an increase in followers, likes, comments, shares, mentions or the use of relevant hashtags.
These are all ways of measuring awareness and engagement quantitatively, and should inform the strategies you use for future campaigns.
So that’s all I’ve got for you today. I hope you found this useful – so I’m asking you to help me out. If you learned something today, hit share OR – even better – copy the link and email it straight to a friend you KNOW will find this interesting.
If you feel like I missed something – PLEASE let me know in the comments!
Katie Harrington is a Public Relations professional based in Galway, Ireland. Her book, Strategic Communications: The Science Behind the Art launched in November. Katie has worked with global brands including Emirates Airline and Allianz, as well as the Irish parliament and Qatar’s semi-government oil and gas company Nakilat. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
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