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PR Metrics That Matter: How PR and Marketing Pros Can Get the Most Out of Measurement

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The Role of Measurement in Marketing

More than ever, measurement, reporting, and analysis are key to a successful integrated marketing and public relations (PR) program. However, it’s important that these integrated marketing and PR metrics are presented and interpreted in a way that they can effectively be put to use. At the end of the day, we all think we want more data, but what we really want is good data that is designed to be actionable. Data that showcases success, provides insights into opportunities and helps guide your strategy.

For your data to do its job, it’s important to ask the right questions and set a solid foundation to get the most of your monthly or quarterly reports. This is why we love making integrated marketing and PR measurement a key part of our quarterly client discussions – both in looking back at what’s worked and looking ahead at what might work even better.

We love when our clients have strong opinions on data and on what’s most important to them for measuring and showcasing success. When your team is presenting your latest report, you bring an important perspective as someone who hasn’t been ingrained in the data yet. Asking the right questions enables you to turn a conversation about results into a conversation about strategy.

5 Questions to Ask to Get the Most Out of Measurement

The Role of Measurement in Marketing

Next time your team is presenting the latest report, here are some questions to consider:

1. Do the PR metrics in this report align to my overarching marketing goals?

If the answer to this is no, then talk to your team about what PR metrics would be most valuable to you. Are there any stats that would help with internal reporting you’re required to share? Is there information about competitors that would be helpful to have in the next quarterly report so you can effectively plan a defensive and offensive approach to the next quarter? Reports are made specifically for you, so have a voice in shaping them to be something that will really bring value to your organization.

Related Read – Content Marketing Metrics That Matter

2. What does this metric mean?

What good is a report you can’t understand? If you’re not clear on what a certain metric means or why it’s valuable, ask your team to explain the rationale behind including it. This not only helps you get on the same page as your team, but it encourages your team to think through the purpose of each slide and each chart as it relates to your specific business goals.

3. Are there any external factors that could contribute to a spike or decrease over a certain timeframe?

If you know your top competitor has its user conference every November, take that into account when looking at PR metrics like share of voice and social engagements in Q4. If there was a major scandal in your industry at the beginning of the quarter, message pull-through might look low. Metrics like share of voice and engagement won’t increase every quarter. There will be fluctuations based on what is happening in the industry and with your customers, so it’s important to remember what factors are contributing to this outside of your integrated marketing and PR activities.

Related Read – Voice of the Customer Strategy: A 6-Step Approach for Driving Awareness and Brand Equity

4. How do these metrics interact and impact each other?

A rising tide lifts all boats. That’s our approach to measurement. If PR is going well, then brand awareness should go up, which means web traffic should go up and social engagement should start to trend upwards. Teams responsible for brand awareness, media relations and revenue marketing are working off of the same results, forcing a disciplined review of critical, pre-funnel metrics. The data provides common ground for PR, product, demand and sales teams – and common ground leads to success. Think about how PR metrics tie into what you’re reporting on internally to help connect the dots between marketing and PR success and business success.

5. How can I translate success in one area to another?

Brainstorm with your team around how you can take a big success and stretch it across your marketing landscape. For example, if message pull-through for a particular product, theme or line of business was really strong in Q3 and resonated well with the media, think about how to extend that across the marketing mix. People are starting to recognize you as a leader in that area, so make sure to build out resources on your website – blogs, eBooks, white papers – to capitalize on the opportunity. How can you extend that to social media and demand generation?

Related Read – Social Amplification Defined (With and Without Ad Spend)

Top 12 Integrated Marketing and PR Metrics That Matter

PR metrics are a set of measurements or key performance indicators (KPIs) used to gauge the efficacy of earned media opportunities. At PAN, we help our clients realize their full potential with the perfect mix of brand awareness and demand generation activities so they can engage potential buyers through all stages of the sales funnel with a simple, seamless narrative thread. That’s why even our PR metrics go beyond earned media KPIs to take an integrated approach. When used individually and holistically, these 12 metrics allow integrated PR and marketing teams to examine when (and how) earned media coverage impacts brand and demand:

1. Branded search visibility

Branded search visibility represents the clickthrough rate of branded terms in organic search. Since 55% of consumers prefer to get pre-purchase info from search engines, this is an important metric to keep an eye on.

2. Strategic search visibility

Strategic search visibility represents the clickthrough rate of strategic terms in organic search.

3. Search rankings

Related to No. 2, search ranking is the average search rank for each strategic term (or keyword). Bear in mind: 5 key factors determine query results — meaning, relevance, quality, usability and context.

4. Organic traffic with conversion

Be sure to monitor web sessions that result in a conversion and originate from search engine visits. Patterns there can be leveraged strategically to support nurturing campaigns.

5. High-value page traffic

High-value page traffic is the percent of organic web traffic to top-10 prospect-centric web pages.

6. Key linking domains

This is a metric used to track linking domains to your site with a domain authority greater than 80. But take care to ensure a <1% inferred spam score for key linking domains, excluding link shorteners.

7. Media share of voice (SOV)

Media SOV is a breakdown of online media mentions measuring the market your brand owns compared to the competition. To calculate media SOV, use the following formula as a baseline:

Media SOV = Brand Metrics / Total Market Metrics

8. Referral traffic

Referral traffic is predominantly a Google Analytics metric that tracks visits from sources other than direct and search engine traffic – including social media.

9. Social media SOV

Social media SOV measures how much of the conversation your brand owns vs. competitors on social media

10. Social media power of voice (POV)

Social media POV examines the quality of reach of your followers’ networks on social media. With 43% of Gen Z consumers making purchase decisions based on social media, this is another integrated marketing and PR metric to watch closely.

11. Domain authority

Initially developed by Moz, this metric predicts how likely a domain is to appear on search engine results pages (SERPs).

12. Performance score

3 metrics, known as Core Web Vitals (CWV), are key to determining this score: Largest Contentful Paint, Interaction to Next Paint, and Cumulative Layout Shift. It essentially measures the responsiveness of a website and how quickly it loads. In short, how real users experience your brand via your website.

An infographic detailing the top 12 integrated marketing and PR metrics to monitor to make the most out of measurement

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Put Your Data to Good Use

Data is not easy. There’s a reason why the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that the employment of data scientists would grow 35% from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, knowing how to look at a report and ask the questions necessary to get the deep insight you need to drive further success is critical. The experts at PAN are trained and eager to pull the insights for you and make the data digestible for you and your team. However, it’s up to you to put it into good use! Let us help you do that.

Next steps – If you’re looking to dig even deeper into data, you can learn more about how to use Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to unlock the full potential of your data with a free GA4 audit.

Article originally published in October 2019 and updated in May 2024

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In our annual Brand Experience Report, we asked marketers and customers how they are using and experiencing AI to better understand how the technology is changing that relationship.