PR measurement or public relations measurement is the measuring of consumer or public opinion and effectiveness of advertising or public relations campaigns. The success of these campaigns can be measured in various ways from simply measuring the ‘mentions’ in various mediums or by increasingly more complex ways of measuring response to marketing in public opinion and sentiment surveys.
Traditional PR Measurement
The majority of firms are stuck in a system design of previous decades. Where the fact that publicity appearance is a sign of a successful campaign. These measurements emphasize the ability to generate publicity and generating these clips for clients as a measurement of success. Some more auspicious agencies will attempt to evaluate these placements as to their viability and effectiveness in comparison to a target market or desired number of placements. However, this system of measurement is basic at best and does not show the client a proper understanding of the value of their marketing and PR campaigns. With the rise of the internet, complex computer modelling and better techniques, there is a push for standardization within the PR measurement industry for better metrics producing better results.
A New Model
Measuring models and standardization has come about to help push the industry into the right direction. These models and standardization all have the same issue at their core; providing better metrics for a better understanding of getting results. Past metrics focused on measurable results in marketing, sales and output metrics. These included total impressions, impact on sales, and other tangibles. However with the rise of social media and the internet new forces are at play in influencing the public which are not always as visible as traditional media impressions of a brand. New metrics need to measure beyond the simple outputs to include brand recognition and reputation, overall consumer engagement, influence and action and beyond sales goals to include marketing cost savings and marketing cost avoidance.
The ability to determine a company’s Return on Investment (ROI) in its media campaign has always been a difficult task, and many argue with the development of social media platforms it has become even more so. However, putting in metrics and a process that follows the process to desired outcomes should be instituted. The first step in measuring is determining exposure across all mediums. The next is determining the public’s level of engagement with the content delivered by determining the who, how and where questions. The next step is possibly one of the most difficult, the need to determine the amount of influence this measured engagement has had on the public’s perceptions and attitudes with relation to the brand. The last, which is often the most important step but often ignored is the necessity to take action from the understanding gained. If trends in social media engagement are showing a negative perception of a product or service of the brand, there needs to be corrective action taken to avoid larger costs or lower sales. The cost of inaction needs to be equated in ROI discussions.
By developing proper PR measurement criteria your marketing department or agency will be able to provide a much better plan forward and be able to be proactive in marketing campaigns and social engagement policies to avoid costly PR mistakes and keep a positive company and brand image.