By: Brian Loschiavo
You get an amazing placement or a mention in one of the most sought after publications in your industry. (Thanks in part to your agency.) Your quote is genius – a combination of wit and authority – and you look fantastic. All of that is great, but how do you measure that success beyond the clip itself?
The world of public relations has always been difficult in terms of measuring the ROI of media placements. Most PR professionals have had to brush up on their measuring skills at some point in their career in order to calculate the “black magic” of ad space.
Tom Kolesk of SLICE COMMUNICATIONS recently wrote an entry on using placements to measure ROI. He outlined goals that should be set into place in order to get everything you possibly can out of each media placement you receive. The use of Google Analytics helps us to take the measurement of ROI even further.
Google Analytics is a free service that, in part, helps analyze and evaluate website traffic. Whether or not your PR or social media effort is driving people to your website is critical to measuring its efficiency since visiting the website is often the first step a prospective customer will take.
Of course, web traffic generated is not the only metric of success, but there are some strategic insights that can be learned by reviewing and analyzing this data regularly.
If you don’t currently have Google Analytics or another analytics package installed on your website, correct that immediately. (I can help – just email me.) Once you do, below are some simple things you should be tracking and reviewing:
- General website traffic – every time you have a media placement, check your Google Analytics for the next few days to see if you’ve had a spike in visitors to your website. This will tell you if the media placement was seen and compelling enough for people to take the action of visiting your website. Ideally, you’ll also be able to track incoming inquiries you’ve received as a result either through the website or over the phone.
- Traffic sources – this should be reviewed at least monthly. As PR professionals, we look for news websites, aggregators, blogs, and other URLs where we know we’ve placed articles to see how many people clicked the link in the article and came to the website. (When we have our SM hats on we look for referral traffic from Facebook, Twitter, etc.) From there, we want to know how long those people stayed on the site, how many pages they visited, and how they exited. Then, we want to compare that to the general web traffic.
- Pages Visited – again, our interest lies mostly with the pages on a company’s website where they post their news and press releases. We want to know how many people visited those pages compared to other pages on the website, how long they stayed, and whether they exited the site. If you are getting a lot of traffic and no one is leaving the site after viewing the news pages, your PR effort is likely helping to attract and sell to customers.
For tracking purposes it is extremely important that reporters link back to your website whenever there is an online media placement. This will make tracking even easier when looking at where website traffic is coming from.
The search for the Holy Grail of ROI measurement in PR is far from over. But as the world of communications and the Internet continues to evolve, we need to implement new ways of tracking the success of media placements and the impact on the overall business.