How we must approach PR measurement
On his Journalistics blog, Jeremy Porter has a nice summary and analysis of a recent survey conducted by the American Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) and Institute for Public Relations (IPR), through which 520 PR professionals were surveyed on PR measurement. I agree with Jeremy's surprise that the number of people who responded that they are currently measuring their PR programs was only 77%. In our case, 100% of our clients demand that we measure our programs.
Jeremy summarizes the part of the survey on how clients want programs to be measured this way:
- Client demand for measurement of online communications increased from 29% in 2008 to 41% in 2009
- Client demand for broadcast media evaluation is up from 15% of assignments in 2008 to 25% in 2009
- 77% of clients commission single country measurement programs or projects
- 69% of survey respondents say procurement specialists are becoming more involved in the purchase of measurement and evaluation services
Beyond this, our own experience of late is that clients want more measurements of the outcomes of a PR program -- clicks to a web site from coverage, product downloads and leads -- as much as the outputs -- clips, briefings, blog posts and tweets. I don't believe it is realistic to expect new measurement standards, as there are too many competing interests at work, as well as the fact that every client has their own expectations and priorities with regards to how they measure marketing and PR, so it's up to us to work with them and deliver the metrics they need.
It does mean, however, that there are some new fundamental approaches we must take to measurement, which as I mentioned above, we are already doing.
These new approaches blend the traditional, output-based metrics with important new, business-oriented metrics that quantify the outcomes:
- Traditional marketing and sales metrics like lead generation and customer satisfaction/retention;
- Traditional interactive marketing metrics like web traffic and share of search;
- New metrics like sentiment, viral value (e.g. how coverage creates word-of-mouth on Twitter, blogs, etc.), and engagement
This is necessary because social media is blurring the lines between PR and interactive marketing, customer service and sales. More importantly, it’s necessary because ROI is paramount and these blended measurements help demonstrate that to marketers and CEO’s.
What is important to you as far as PR measurement is concerned?