In this series, we looked critically at the ways PR has traditionally been measured and the ways we’re measuring PR today. Measuring PR and earned media has always been something of a challenge in the past, but thanks to digital marketing and metrics tools, it’s easier today to find the impact of PR, even with businesses that have significant offline components.

Posts in the series:

We finish out our measurement series today with a discussion about how to use these metrics. One of the hidden traps of these 7 kinds of metrics is treating them as though each were an independent silo when we know, in fact, that the opposite is true. Many of them are not only related, but contain a degree of what’s called endogeneity, where they are dependent on each other. These synergies are only detectable if you use the right tools and the right analysis methods to find them.

Here’s a simple example that’s accessible to everyone, via Google’s Multi-Channel Funnels (MCF). Take a look at the assisted conversions and see how the different channels interact with each other to create conversion results. For example, we can see below that social media is responsible for 260 last interaction conversions, where the last thing someone did before converting was to interact with a social media post. We also see that it has 245 assisted conversions, where it was part of the conversion process but not the last thing someone did.

Assisted Conversions - Google Analytics

As a result, we know that if we focus on the social channels in our PR and marketing, we’ll get roughly 50% of the conversions straight from social and pick up a bonus 50% through other means that were assisted by social. Using a tool like MCF (which is free and built into Google Analytics) can give you a starting point for asking better questions about your data and setting up some tests for your marketing and PR efforts.

Each of the 7 buckets of metrics we’ve discussed in this series can be put together in statistical analysis software to find the most effective, most powerful combinations of methods that PR can influence. For example, we recently did an analysis for a client which showed that for every 100 visitors from their website they got from their social networks, they could expect roughly 3.5 conversions, but only if they were posting to LinkedIn and Twitter together. If one of those channels went inactive, their conversion rates would drop by almost 30%. For this particular client, there was an interdependence between LinkedIn and Twitter that you couldn’t detect with the unaided eye looking at the raw traffic charts.

Here’s the good news if you don’t employ a massive quantity of nerds at your organization: any level of analysis and insight is better than just guessing. Even if you only get to the point of reading your web analytics, you’ll still generate better questions and give yourself more refined test scenarios for ideas than just flinging things against the wall and hoping it sticks. Obviously, the smarter you get about analytics and statistics, the better your abilities to get answers for your questions will be, but you can start at the very basics and still get answers that will move the needle for your organization. Something as simple as looking at your website traffic after a PR hit is a good place to start, a good place to begin asking better questions of your PR team (like how can we get hits that will yield better traffic or traffic from certain sources).

We hope this series on how to measure PR has been helpful, and of course make the unapologetic offer that if you’d like help measuring your own PR and marketing efforts and you don’t want to hire a statistical analysis team at your company, by all means feel free to contact SHIFT. We’d be happy to help.

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