5 Essential KPIs that Showcase PR's Value

February 20, 2017 Steve West

Let’s face it—the ROI struggle is real. Sure, digital analytics and media monitoring tools have exploded in recent years, offering PR professionals plenty of data to track and measure their efforts. However, PR has yet to solve for its biggest challenge—proving value through measurable ROI.

This influx of available data has forced PR to graduate from vague metrics like reach and Advertising Value Equivalencies by providing more concrete analytics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that directly correlate to impact and revenue.

Then what the heck is the problem?!

Admittedly, tools and technology can be cumbersome and difficult to use, but more often than not, it boils down to a lack of context.

Without context, these metrics become muddy and end up complicating a strategy. But by defining clear goals at the onset of your campaign, and matching appropriate metrics that correspond to those goals, the data begins to take form.

So which KPIs actually matter? Here are 5 essential KPIs every PR pro should utilize to measure campaign success and demonstrate value to executives.

Impressions
Impressions get a bad rap—but there’s plenty of potential in this ‘potential’ metric, as long as it’s used in the correct context. As a read on your overall reach, impressions can reveal a ton once you drill down and begin analyzing what role your total potential audience contributes to conversions. It’s certainly not a standalone KPI, but impressions can play a convincing supporting role. 

Media Mentions
We can write a whole eBook about the mention itself (coming soon!). Simply put—a mention is the quintessential earned media metric, representing any instance your campaign, brand or key message is discussed in the media, whether it’s online or on TV. Don’t group these with social mentions, which have taken on a life of their own. Media mentions carry more weight, as they occur within highly trusted channels from reputable sources and publications.

Web Traffic
A brand awareness campaign can best be measured by a boost in traffic and new unique visitors to your website. And as long PR and marketing teams are aligned, attributing campaign web traffic to subsequent conversion opportunities will certainly prove your worth.

Content Quality
Quality is key when evaluating your mentions—especially in crisis situations. Two different metrics can inform the quality of a mention:

  • Sentiment Analysis establishes the tonality of a mention by evaluating the level of positivity or negativity in surrounding discussions.
  • Prominence is calculated by measuring how often a mention appears in an article, if it’s part of the headline or buried deep within the copy.

Share of Voice
This KPI is all about comparing apples to apples, or in this case—understanding where your brand stacks up against competitors. When analyzing and strategizing to compete for market share, share of voice measures media presence or the strength of a particular media mention.

Now that you’re ready to begin measuring your efforts with the appropriate KPIs, it’s time to prep your next campaign or strategy.

To get a head start, we recommend you check out our eBook, “The 4 Steps to Achieving PR Success.”

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