Using Web Analytics to Measure Your PR Results

October 17th, 2011 No Comments

One of the things I’ve always advocated when consulting clients or internally is to measure business outcomes, not just activities.

Digital marketing has actually made tracking actual business results much easier and much more accountable than print or telephone channels.

In digital marketing, this requires web analytics. There are several types of analytics, but the most popular is click-stream, which tracks actual clicks and visits.

Many of us have Google Analytics or other click-stream tracking set up … but many of us probably have never checked it.

This is a huge mistake. By measuring our web data, we can:

  • determine the effects of our outcomes. In PR, this may be determining which media outlets or wire services drive more traffic or more conversions (you did define your conversion metrics, right?)
  • Determine effective channels
  • Determine which messaging drives more conversions
  • Determining if there are missed messages or missed areas that are gaining traction despite not being targeted – discover untargeted and hidden markets
  • Determine which channels, both paid and earned media, drive more conversions
  • Evaluate decision making funnels, across multi-channel campaigns



Traditional public relations measured outputs, not outcomes. Traditional PR reports measure data such as coverage volume, placements, sentiment, etc. But what business value does that provide?

Of course, before implementing a tool, we need to define our conversions: our overall business goal and the steps along the sales and decision funnel that are necessary in order to achieve this goal. As our campaign is running, we should be analyzing our results to see where we need to optimize. This may mean pitching new reporters, using a different wire service, or perhaps refining our message.

By incorporating an effective analytics programs into our marketing campaigns, we don’t have to guess the business results: rather we can see them as they happen. Without them, we’re operating blind.

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