Measuring the value of PR
Consumer PRPR measurement 27.04.2021

Measuring the value of PR

A constant source of debate in the marketing world is the age-old argument of whether you can really measure the impact of PR and communications. Whilst there isn’t an easy answer, the short answer is that yes, it is possible to measure the impact of PR. 

This week our podcast, Revitalise & Grow, focuses on how you can measure your PR and communications, you can check that episode out here or read on for more tips!

The importance of goal setting 

Whatever communications activity you are planning, setting goals is an absolute prerequisite. Measurement and evaluation should be a core component of your planning process – start with the end in mind! 

Create your goals to be based on the change you want to see and found them in research. When you are creating your goals, cover off: 

  • Who (e.g. women in their 30s and 40s) 
  • What (e.g. increase intention to purchase brand X’s new product)  
  • How much (e.g. by 20%) 
  • By when (e.g. by end of quarter four) 

You can then measure and evaluate your activity against these pre-defined goals, created at the outset. 

Consider both the outputs and outcomes of your activity 

Outputs (the communications “stuff” you are doing e.g. creating a landing page, securing coverage, generating coverage, securing a speaking opportunity etc) play an important role in helping to understand the holistic picture of the overall communication effects. However, it is only when outputs are linked to outcomes that a more meaningful and credible story is told. Outcomes are the changes created as a result of your outputs. This could be a change in behaviour, an increase in market share or an enhanced reputation. To be truly valuable to your organisation, outputs and outcomes should be evaluated on an ongoing basis, measuring the effectiveness of each audience touch point across the customer journey. 

Measurement should be both quantitative and qualitative  

When measuring your communications activity, it can be easy to get caught up in the quantitative data. But it’s also important to understand how your messages are being received and interpreted. Fundamentally, what we’re trying to assess is how our communication reached and engaged our target audiences. 

Some example quantitative metrics you could use include… 

For cross-channel research:  

  • Impressions or reach among target audiences 
  • Competitive or sector share of voice 
  • Engagement with earned/owned/paid content across channels  
  • Sharing of earned/owned/paid content across channels.  

For audience survey-based research:  

  • Awareness 
  • Recall 
  • Message/ content relevance 
  • Perception/ attitude change 
  • Expected behaviour change. 

On the other hand, some qualitative metrics you could use include… 

For cross-channel research:  

  • Sentiment and/or emotional response from target audiences 
  • Call to action inclusion 
  • Third-party endorsements 
  • Inclusion of company spokespeople 
  • Prominence of the piece, relevant to the channel.  

For audience survey/ interview/ bulletin board-based research:  

  • Underlying motivations 
  • Rationale for expected behaviour change (or not). 

When performed consistently over time, communication measurement and evaluation can gauge trends in quantitative and qualitative performance to identify drivers and context of results (i.e. the why behind the what) and implemented into future communication planning efforts 

Breaking up with vanity metrics 

Communications measurement and evaluation needs to have a richer, more nuanced, and multi-faceted approach to really understand the impact of communications activity. 

Brands need to go beyond vanity metrics such as “likes” to have a better understanding of the target audience by focusing measurement on engagement, conversion, perception/attitude change, consideration, and purchase intent/behaviour changeYes, this is more difficult (and more expensive) but that way, at least you will know which elements of your communications campaign are genuinely driving results, which in the long-run will save you money as your activity will be more targeted and effective. 

What’s your view on measuring PR? Please let us know on hello@adpr.co.uk

As PR experts, we want to give you all the tools you need to find the best PR agency for your business needs. If you need PR support but aren’t sure where to start, download our PR Buyer’s Guide to identify what to look for and expect! We want you to make the right choice for your business’ success!

You have created a product or service that your customers want or need. That is an amazing achievement. How often do you take the time to step back from the day to day to focus on the bigger picture within your business? With just a few small tweaks your company could be even more successful than it already is. We have created the Revitalise and Grow sessions to do just that! And they’re absolutely free. We are passionate about helping businesses succeed and we know that communications is a powerful tool to help you achieve your goals.