By The Numbers: PR Measurement

By OCGPR Staff | March 19, 2015

If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

If a PR campaign is a wild success, but isn’t captured with tangible measurement, was it really a success?

A consistent challenge for PR practitioners is measurement – tangible, concrete measurement that demonstrates the value and impact of PR campaigns. With advertising and marketing, it is easier for clients to see impact: website visits or page views, clicks, CPM, sales conversions or spikes – just to name a few. However, with PR, you may be measuring an increase in brand value, stakeholder goodwill, awareness and attitude changes.

This is by no means an intense dive into PR measurement, but for those of you struggling to measure the impact of your campaigns, here are a few important numbers to remember:

SEVEN: In 2010, delegates from The International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) and the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) adopted a series of seven measurement standards known as the Barcelona Principles. These seven principles have served as a basis for the modern measurement of communication and public relations. Why? As the delegates in Barcelona said, for the common good of our industry. You can take a closer look at each principle here.

FIVE: The best things in life are free, but like any part of your campaign, measurement costs something. So, be sure to budget for measurement before you begin your campaign. Let your client or company executives know when and how you plan to measure your results. A good rule to follow from PRSA: allocate about five percent of your overall budget for measurement and evaluation.

THREE: As a good rule, there are three ways to measure PR measurement: outputs, outcomes and business results. In a perfect world, you will measure all three: what you produce, what impact it has on stakeholders, and how that impact helps business. When you demonstrate how outcomes influence business results, you can move from defense to offense when it comes to showing PR’s value. Look at this outline from Ketchum to see examples of how these three categories look.

TWO: There are numerous resources for measuring digital PR strategies and tactics like social media and websites. Whether it’s measuring web traffic on Google Analytics or calculating a net promoter score, you should measure digital engagement! Why? Because digital should be a two-way conversation, where you should not only produce content, but listen as well. Whether it’s passively listening to brand sentiment or actively asking questions or requesting survey responses, the two-way communication of social should facilitate your ability to measure it.

It’s not a question of can PR efforts be measured, or a question of should, it’s a question of how well you adhere to principles of communication evaluation, be it outputs, outcomes or business results. It’s one thing to create a great campaign, it’s another to capture it with concrete evaluation. Don’t cheat yourself of the opportunity to prove the value of PR.

Do you agree with any one of these measurement tactics? We’d love to know! Share your thoughts on measurement in the comments below or tweet us at @ocg_pr.

OCG PR offers expertise in diverse multicultural segments, including African American, Hispanic and Asian communities as well as women, youth and LGBT populations.

As multicultural strategists, our obsession with cultural influences on communities – local to global – is what sets us apart in delivering results and is the backbone of our ability to start your conversations.

Join our email list for the latest in PR, multicultural and what's happening at OCG PR.