The influential blogger you’ve been pitching name dropped your product with a link back to your website – high five! The WSJ business and technology article mentioning your company just published, cheers! Your company just made the top 10 list of best companies to work for, party on! The blog post interviewing your CEO as one of the industry’s leading innovators just went viral thanks to his inspiring quotes, company happy hour!
How do you measure all that digital ink?
With today’s access to advanced technology, the public relations industry must keep up with the data pace. Although dealing with numbers and statistics is a relatively new practice for PR specialists, it’s now part of the requirement to access and analyze public relations ROI. In the past, it was acceptable for PR to be a bit fuzzy when it came to measurement. For instance, an article about your business may be published in multiple publications, and may even result in an overall successful campaign, but how you do know which publication brought in the most traffic? Was it all of them or just one or two? This is where Google Analytics comes in.
Google Analytics 101 Webinar hosted by Sally Falkow, Digital PR Strategists, and Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Website Promotion Specialists, gives us an overview of this valuable—and free—tool.
Not a numbers person? That’s ok. The two experts explain that although Google Analytics may come across as daunting to PR practitioners who typically do not work with figures, there is now a dashboard specifically geared towards PR pros that is actually quite easy-to-use.
The purpose of the Google Analytics PR Dashboard is to track where website visitors came from and what they are doing on the site.
“The need to measure PR campaigns has really changed a lot over the past few years,” Falkow explains. She goes on to emphasizing the importance of the Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles according to AMEC, the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication.
The seven principles outline exactly what you should be measuring during a PR campaign:
- Importance of goal setting and measurement
- Measuring the effect on outcomes is preferred to measuring media results
- The effect on business results can and should be measured where possible
- Media measurements requires quantity and quality
- Advertising value equivalents (AVEs) are not the value of public relations
- Social media can and should be measured
- Transparency and replicability are paramount to sound measurement
There are four parts of public relations that can be measured:
- Earned media
- Social network referrals
- Owned properties (e.g., blogs and websites)
- Paid media (e.g., boosting content on Facebook).
Aspects of measurement include: digital content, digital media, links, clicks, views, where visitors come from, what they do while on your site/newsroom, where they go, and their actions such as downloads. By using the “Goals” feature, all of these things can be systematically measured in real-time or for a selected time period.
Goals allow you to pinpoint which part of your PR campaign positively affected sales, the parts that could be removed, and the parts that could be improved. You can set up Goals to any part of your website where an action can take place. In order to receive the maximum amount of feedback for your campaign, you must define your specific goals. Each “goal” or completed activity is called a conversion. Goals can include number of subscriptions, completing a purchase, downloading media, and clicking links.
So what should PR practitioners be measuring?
Google Analytics tracks the number of new and returning visitors (sessions). This can be viewed in real-time and over a set time frame. The cool part about real-time is that you can send out a link, see how many people click it, and see how many people stay on your page in actual time. You can also track your traffic sources—where your visitors are coming from.
Using the “Social” feature listed under Acquisitions, you can access “Network Referrals.” This feature gives you access to a list of social networks that you’ve shared your content on. You can then view the number of sessions that derived from sharing your public relations content on that specific platform.
(Note: Sessions are defined as “a group of interactions that take place on your website within a given time frame. For example a single session can contain multiple screen or page views, events, social interactions, and e-commerce transactions.”)
You can also assess the amount of pageviews and average session duration. The reason this tool is so significant is because you can know see which social media platforms are giving your business the most exposure and which ones you need to improve on. Measuring the amount of traffic you receive from each social media platform will help you strategize your social media campaigns and allows you to have a better understanding of who your audience is.
Overall Bounce Rate
This is to determine what people are using your site for. This answers questions like: How long are people staying on the page? What are they staying for—reading an article? Making a purchase? Which pages have a low engagement? Which pages are generating the most traffic?
All of these questions must be answered in order to know exactly which aspects of your public relations campaign are working and which are not effective.
Highest Traffic Pages
While measuring the amount of overall visitors is important, we can learn even more about our audience by examining which pages are generating the most traffic. The page with the highest traffic is not necessarily the homepage. It can be a page on your site with a popular article or item that is being shared via social media. Pay close attention to which pages are engaging the most clicks and use that information to generate new, related content.
This tool is especially useful when it comes to creating new content. This measures socially shared content. Meaning, what is being shared, how many times it is shared, where it is being shared, and the number of unique visitors that share generated. Using this information, we can now strategically create new content based on what our users are telling us they like.
If you go to the “social” feature under the Acquisitions section you can check out “Landing Pages.” This tool allows you to see which shared URLs are bringing in visitors and how long these visitors are staying. Now you can properly analyze which headlines are enticing people click on the link to your site and use that for future posts.
Goal Conversion Rate
This can measure multiple important aspects for a public relations campaign. You can set goals for number of subscribers, number of purchases, how many people click a link, how many people are downloading your media, etc. Looking at all of these individually will tell you what’s working and what’s not. This will help you determine which activities on your site are adding to the success of your business.
Social PR Secret: Looking for a visual way to report Google Analytics? Have Visually Google Analytics Report automatically delivered to your inbox each week. Learn more at https://create.visual.ly/graphic/google-analytics/.
Analytics and measurement are quickly becoming a part of regular PR practice. Remember, public relations can influence the good links, don’t fall behind PR pros!
Ready for the PR Measurement download? GET THE DASHBOARD.
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Want more Social PR tips? Read Social PR Secrets by Lisa Buyer.
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