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  • Tag Archive: PR measurement

    1. Why It’s Hard to Measure PR in the First Place

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      Our in-house data scientist, Fletcher Stump Smith, spends his days building machine learning models that identify news articles relevant to AirPR customers and predict the business impact of those articles. In layman’s terms, Fletcher’s work allows us to solve a pretty itchy problem: the problem of proper PR measurement.

      Recently, Fletcher gave a presentation about what data science looks like at AirPR so our team could get a greater window into how his expertise makes our PR analytics software possible.

      Why share it with you? Great question. Gaining a stronger understanding of the data science behind PRTech can show you how PR data is harnessed to help you achieve your public relations and communications goals. And when you have a grasp on the science behind the tech, you can better explain issues tied to PR measurement to your C-suite leaders.

      Let’s break it down.

      Articles in their raw form aren’t measurable. That said, we rely on technology to identify, categorize, and analyze entities found in a given document (or piece of content). Let’s look at a slice of an article from our blog to illustrate what a computer sees:


      After entities within an article are recognized, our technology identifies constituent parts of each sentence and determines how the words relate to one another. Those entities are then categorized and labeled.

      If a piece of content on the web includes the sentence “AirPR is a PRTech company that provides analytics, insights, and measurement solutions to the evolving PR industry,” our tech will capture relationships between words (indicated by arrows) and identify parts of speech (signified by colored abbreviations).


      From this analysis, we can see that AirPR is a proper noun and a nominal subject, both of which can be indicative of salience. In other words, we can identify which entities are most prominent or relevant to a piece of content. You could liken it to how “Sir Mix-a-Lot” in the sentence “Sir Mix-a-Lot likes sunny days” is more important than “sunny days” in terms of relevancy. Other features that can be identified within an article include word count and paragraph location.

      Cool beans. What does that mean for PR?

      Say you’re an in-house PR manager for a big technology company like Apple that’s mentioned nearly every day in the news. If you manually read through Google Alerts every time your company is mentioned, you’d be swimming in email alerts for decades. A lot of these mentions would be incidental and not necessarily worth tracking from a PR perspective.

      What you really want to know is when and where notable articles about product launches and other company news publish. Being able to distinguish between irrelevant mentions and relevant news is invaluable — and it starts with PRTech.

      Thanks, Fletcher, for the window into your work!

      Live in San Francisco? Be our guest at tonight’s Salesforce panel: “PR Upgraded.”

      Sign up here

    2. The Most Powerful PR Metrics According to 5 PR Influencers

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      PR Metrics Power

      While there isn’t a surefire answer to how to inspire world peace or peel a hard boiled egg in just one sweep, there are a few things I think we can all agree on: when it comes to measuring the success of a PR campaign, it’s all about them numbahs!

      We could talk for days about the PR metrics we at AirPR find most useful (and we have). Instead, we’ve asked a handful of data-driven PR professionals the following question:

      What is the most powerful PR metric you use to gauge campaign success?

      1. Sales

      “I know some people consider me a snake oil salesman because I advocate for PR-generated revenue, but the fact is if we aren’t contributing to the P&L of our organizations, we aren’t doing our jobs. Sure, there are things that cannot be directly attributed to dollars, such as brand awareness. But we know that inherently does increase sales. To that end, the most powerful PR metric we use to gauge success is how much revenue we drive through our efforts, both for ourselves and our clients.”

      Gini Dietrich

      Founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich


      2. Source traffic

      “There are many (PR) metrics to consider, but the one I count on the most is source traffic. We’ve moved past impressions and hits. I’m sure I don’t have to remind everyone what HITS stands for (how idiots track success, according to PR expert and measurement queen Katie Paine).

      Source traffic reveals how your PR outreach to the media, influencers, customers, and other stakeholders can be tracked. Every time you run an awareness campaign, launch a product, hold a media tour, or fundraise, you can track whether or not people visit your website for more information and how they take action. It’s the top of the sales funnel, but it’s a very important starting point.”

      Deirdre Breakenridge

      CEO of Pure Performance Communications


      3. Metrics tied to specific business outcomes

      “Honestly, there is no PR metric I can’t live without. At the end of the day, I want to see business outcomes, so it’s the related social PR outcomes I focus on; whether those are number of downloads, signups, attendees to a webinar I’m teaching, etc. Those numbers show engagement, interest, and action — and you can’t reach desired outcomes without action.”

      Shonali Burke

      President and CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting


      4. Stories in “goal outlets”

      “The single most vital PR metric I use to gauge success right now is the number of placements per month in my clients’ top 10 most important outlets. How to determine which outlets those are? The ones with the most prestige and credibility with their key audiences. What? A lame “small-data” metric? Yes. 🙂  Social engagements and page views can give granularity. Opt-ins and conversions obviously drive business. But the people who come to me are looking specifically to boost their credibility, so we start with finding ways to share their message with the third parties deemed most credible by the people who give them money.”

      Michael Smart  

      Principal at MichaelSMARTPR


      5. A mixture of metrics, depending on the content

      Metric such as unique views per month for media outlets and impressions are not accurate they are a part of an old-school approach to measurement. To measure PR success accurately, I take many things into consideration. I always have my clients track their Google Analytics to see where their website traffic is coming from. If there’s significant traffic coming from articles I’ve placed, that’s hard evidence that I’m helping create awareness for a client. Also, if I get a thought leadership piece placed and it is shared a significant number of times, then we know the article was a success. In short, I use a mixture of formulas based on the project or campaign.”

      Kristen Grossi

      Co-founder and CEO of talkTECH


    3. The Funnel Approach to PR Measurement

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      For years, the PR industry has struggled with how to effectively measure PR in any sort of standardized manner.

      Unlike advertising where a few key metrics clearly define success, PR’s complex, relationship-based structure makes identifying metrics for widespread adoption far more challenging.

      Because “you can’t manage what you can’t measure,” metrics are crucial to PR pros’ success. How can PR pros solve the industry’s problem and quantify efforts that have historically been difficult to measure?

      For starters, we have to begin with the right question: What are the metrics that matter to those who matter?

      Because PR has the ability to “touch” so many aspects of the customer journey, we can’t look at measurement through a one-to-one transactional lens. PR professionals should not be forced to define success or failure based on one element only such as impressions or site traffic.

      The goal of measuring PR needs to be about putting a series of metrics in place that accounts for all the places where PR can impact the customer journey. PR is no longer just a top of the funnel contributor, so its performance metrics must adjust to reflect the influence PR has along every touch point in the funnel.

      If we are clear about what matters to colleagues, executives, and PR teams, we can organize a spectrum of PR metrics into three key areas where measurement is actually possible from a technology standpoint.

      These key areas include:

      1. Baseline metrics

      2. Brand metrics

      3. Business metrics

      Metrics closer to the top of the funnel are more aligned with brand awareness. As one goes down the “metric funnel,” you get closer and closer to metrics that impact your organization’s bottom line.

      All these metrics have validity, but the ones a PR pro chooses to focus on should directly align with the primary end outcome identified from the outset of any campaign.

      So, how can PR pros start to integrate this funnel of metrics into their workflow?

      To identify which metrics might serve you best, consider these three questions in relation to your PR activities:

      1. Content: What format shall I choose based on the audience I’m trying to reach? (Text, image, video, combo, etc.)

      2. Channel: What conduit am I using to deliver my content so I can best reach my target audience? (Earned media, owned media, newswire, direct pitch, etc.)

      3. Measurement: How am I defining success? (Story pick-up, message pull-through, traffic back to site, etc.)

      This simple exercise, when done diligently, can exponentially increase the probability of PR success and makes it clear which metrics in the funnel you should gather data against.

      If the goal of your work is to have as many people as possible encountering your news, you likely should focus on baseline metrics. But if your work is aimed at generating leads or interest via your website, business metrics are likely where you’ll measure success.

      The most important thing is to not feel limited in choosing just one metric from the funnel. Multiple metrics reported in tandem will convey the full story of PR’s impact. Also, be sure to select primary and secondary PR outcomes before selecting metrics.

      It’s only when all these metrics work together that PR pros will be truly empowered to dig into signals that identify relationships worth having, topics worth discussing, messages that resonate, and ultimately how your brand or organization is perceived.

    4. 4 Signs Your PR Measurement Practices Could Be Better

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      PR measurement

      By now you’ve likely begun to implement some updated PR measurement practices to more accurately prove the value of your work. I’m talking data that dives far deeper than impressions and press hits.

      Hopefully, you are doing your due diligence in analyzing and interpreting PR data that can help you continually refine your communications strategy and realign your tactics. But how do you know if your measurement practices are truly where they should be?

      Here are four signs you may have some room to grow in the “modern PR measurement” department, along with tips for forging forward.

      1. You can’t recall explaining the relevance of your go-to PR metrics to coworkers beyond your immediate team.

      Part of implementing more effective PR measurement practices is educating fellow teams within your organization so they understand what success looks like (in your world). If you report PR wins and data to a greater marketing group, but never take the time to explain your measurement system, it makes it nearly impossible for anyone to benefit from what you’re sharing.

      When explaining how modern PR measurement works to those who are unfamiliar, follow the advice of Ketchum SVP KayAnn Schoeneman and consider the various stages of PR measurement: 1. Output (media relationships developed, placements gained, awareness garnered, perceptions changed), 2. Outcomes (social amplification, website traffic driven, actions taken), and 3. Impact (overall as it pertains to various goals).

      When your colleagues have a clear window into how you think about your work and decide what justifies a success, they’ll be able to draw more of their own insights.

      2. You have a hard time proving the value of your work.

      As AirPR’s Chief Strategy Officer Rebekah Iliff has noted, “If you cannot translate PR to business value, it’s very difficult to prove success and be a leader.” Many marketers measure results against the KPIs they and their colleagues are used to — such as impressions — and not necessarily against the metrics that truly show successful performance.

      Make sure the entire team understands how various PR and marketing metrics relate to each other, the customer journey, and your company’s business objectives. For example, does your marketing team realize that PR is a driver of high-quality, top-of-funnel leads?

      3. You don’t feel comfortable articulating PR’s value.

      Here’s an important reminder from Jennefer Witter, CEO of NYC-based PR firm The Boreland Group: “You must always be able to defend what you’re doing, and explain why it’s a benefit.”

      When you present results, think about how you can best demonstrate a solid understanding of “new-world PR metrics” so there’s a focus on lessons learned and how you’ll evolve your strategy moving forward rather than an explanation of the work at hand. Proper articulation of PR’s value is all about providing meaningful context, and practice makes perfect.

      4. You’re not sure how to replicate success.

      Julia Monti, VP of Global Communications at Mastercard reminds us: “Data is not just about measuring success. Also use data to inform strategy.” Change the perspective on measurement from “reporting results” to “a guide for next steps.”

      After proving or disproving your predictions of what’s driving the results you’re seeking, use those performance indicators to inform your strategies and tactics. Once you are measuring the right data, review the results on an ongoing basis and use that review as a guide for evolving your efforts. That will make the difference between simply doing what’s asked of you and what actually works.

    5. PR Data Insights: How to Benchmark Engagement

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      PR’s access to data has grown exponentially in the past few years, however one of the most frustrating aspects about measuring PR is the lack of industry benchmarks available.

      It’s challenging to set measurement goals without an understanding of how others in your field are faring. In fact, PR may be the last business function to have clarity around how to gauge its performance from an industry-wide perspective.

      This year, AirPR aims to change that by providing clear industry benchmarks for important metrics, like InteractionsThe whole goal of PR is to reach and activate your target audiences, so keeping tabs on changing interaction rates specifically is a must.

      To find PR’s Target Interaction Rate, which is 1.8%, we plotted the distribution of nearly 400 event and goal interaction percentages across our entire customer base, including AirPR’s own site data.

      What are events and goals, anyways?

      Events and goals are designated engagement points your website tracks by way of your analytics provider (typically Adobe Analytics or Google Analytics). Examples include demo requests, content or asset downloads, or video plays.

      This target rate of 1.8% is meant to help you better understand if the aggregate performance of your PR-driven interactions is falling above, below, or on par with the rest of your industry cohorts.

      But that’s just one way to gauge success. Another valuable way to understand performance is to zero in on the specific types of interactions that matter to your brand. While specific interactions differ from business to business, there are general categories we can delve into.

      These include events and goals tied to:

      1. Product Exploration

      Knowing which offerings potential customers are exploring can help you understand what’s of most interest or which value propositions are resonating. AirPR customers have a myriad of ways to track general product exploration.

      Two examples of events and goals that fall into the product-exploration interaction bucket are navigating from a homepage directly to a product page, or a product pricing page view. When we isolated all the events and goals tied to any type of product exploration, the average interaction rate was 2.3%.

      2. Increasing Time on Site

      Getting a potential customer to your website is only half the battle. Keeping them there long enough to explore, understand, and consider your product or service is the other half. There are many ways to increase the amount of time a visitor spends on your website.

      Two examples of events and goals that fall into the increase time-on-site bucket are when a video is played to completion or a live chat function is activated. When we isolated all the events and goals tied to increasing a visitor’s time on site, the average interaction rate was 4.7%.

      3. Product Purchase or Sign Up

      Converting a site visitor to a customer (or trial customer) is the ultimate end goal. And while not all businesses provide the explicit ability for product purchase or sign up, here are two examples of events and goals that fall into this interaction bucket: a trial download/sign up, or an order confirmation. When we isolated all the events and goals tied to product purchase or sign up, the average interaction rate was 0.8%.

      What’s most intriguing, IMHO, is to see how these average rates differ. Product exploration and increasing time on site have much higher average rates than actions that require a deeper commitment, like purchase or sign up.

      It’s also important to note that these average interaction rates are going to look different than in marketing or advertising where conversion paths are far more linear.

      PR-driven visitors might trigger different engagement points based on the content that drove them to your site in the first place. The actions taken by visitors reading a blog post could look very different than the actions taken by visitors driven by earned media.

      In the end, we hope visibility to these categories assists you in setting attainable, realistic targets for incremental growth and provides you a better understanding of the power of PR.

      Got questions about your overall interaction rate? Want to tap into this data point? Reach out to usAnd be sure to stay tuned, because we’ve got more PR benchmarks and data points to share.


    6. How to Drive PR Decisions with Data

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      I recently participated in the CommPRO.biz webinar “Your Path to Media Measurement.” My co-panelists Deirdre Breakenridge of Pure Performance Communications and Todd Murphy of Universal Information Services shared examples of practical PR measurement for bottom-line results including the types of data PR and communications professionals should be focusing on when creating their strategies.

      During the chat, I focused on how to create, implement, and measure data-driven PR campaigns. Because, like it or not, we often mistakenly find ourselves defining strategies based on our assumptions long before we see the numbers that should be informing them.

      So, let’s break it down…

      You’ve been asked to show how your strategies and tactics led to, or will lead to, increased value for your customers, potential customers, shareholders, and organization. To do so, you’ll need to follow a framework that will help your team and stakeholders understand your work.

      This post will cover that framework, which includes:

      • Audience
      • Goals and Objectives
      • Strategy
      • Tactics
      • Tags and Implementation
      • Measurement (KPIs and Metrics)
      • Optimization
      • Reports and Dashboards


      Begin by compiling a short list of customers and prospective customers. Identify your target audience by writing a list of characteristics (demographics, location, industry, etc.), and then use free audience estimation tools such as Facebook and Twitter to estimate audience size.

      Business Goals and Objectives

      Make a list of your goals and objectives for various audiences. For example, your goals or objectives for existing customers may revolve around usage, retention, and renewals. For new customers, you may look at awareness, engagement, and new user signups.

      Strategy Time

      Here’s where the pieces start to come together. Say your research team has identified several thousand potential customers on Facebook that share several key characteristics with your existing customers. To reach these potential customers, you must develop strategies and tactics to effectively reach these customers on Facebook. Since social networks allow your ads to be viewed, engaged with, and shared, focus on offering content that resonates with your target audience.

      What types of content have appealed to existing customers in the past?

      How can you emulate that success with potential customers?

      What is likely to garner engagement based on past data?

      Consider the following framework as a guide for building your own strategy:


      Tactics should be granular, actionable stepping stones that contribute to the greater goal and objectives. An example tactic is creating an ad targeting your identified audience that leads to a downloadable case study about a customer who has seen success with your help, what worked, and why that’s the case based on the data.

      Tags and Implementation

      Technology now allows for feature-rich, customized reporting dashboards with actionable insights, competitive analysis, and metrics valued by the C-Suite.

      Before you launch a campaign, verify that you have correctly implemented the tracking codes that you’ll need to accurately provide attribution for your campaigns. For Facebook, verify that your Facebook Pixel has been implanted and your desired goals, such as a new user sign up, have been identified. Look to Facebook’s Pixel Implementation Guide for more on this.

      Measurement (KPIs and Metrics)

      Save time and resources by validating the potential for campaign success by setting proper expectations through projections and forecasts. For instance, if your budget is $10,000 for a Facebook ad campaign and the estimated cost per click (CPC) for your target audience is $1, then you can estimate around 10,000 clicks.

      If your site’s average conversion rate for Facebook, or even new visitors from social media is 1%, then you’re looking at 100 signups at a cost per acquisition of $100. If you’re an online retailer and your labor, product, and advertising costs exceed that $100 mark, you can start to see how you can adjust your forecasts and projections to validate the success of your campaigns.


      Marketing and sales are activity-based professions (the more you put into them, the more you’ll get out of them). The question is, how do you prioritize the “it” to get the most out of your advertising dollars, time, and effort.

      This is where our optimization cycles come in:

      Audience → Campaign Objectives → Strategies and Tactics → Implementation → Measurement → Insights → Repeat

      Reports and Dashboards

      Dashboards are a conglomeration of various reports and data (metrics) that you choose to showcase. If your C-suite is interested in revenue, you’ll need to connect organizational revenue with your marketing efforts. The good news is customer relationship management (CRM) software such as Salesforce, enable you to input your own business data (closed opportunities) and connect it to 3rd party applications, including your various marketing activities.


      There is an abundance of data available for PR practitioners to 1) validate their efforts, 2) support sales and marketing, and 3) discover new business opportunities. By focusing on top and middle funnel activities — Who is your brand’s target audience, are they aware of your services, and how are they currently interacting with your brand? — PR pros can offer a new perspective on their existing business data.

      It starts with taking a look at data, understanding the various metrics and characteristics, and connecting those insights with campaign activities. To download my full presentation from the CommPRO.biz webinar, check it out on SlideShare.

    7. Why Long-Tail PR Is Every Company’s Secret Weapon

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      As we bid summer adieu and get back to business as usual, it seems apropos to shine a spotlight on the hard work of communications professionals and the data-driven PR tactics they employ.

      Let’s do that by diving into the topic of long-tail PR, considering how content can continue to ‘work’ for you far beyond its original publish date. But what is long-tail PR?.

      Long-tail public relations is when earned, owned, or newswire content either:

      • Drives meaningful impact for a brand long after its publish date


      • Realizes peak performance far after it has been made public

      In effect, long-tail PR occurs when content dishes out dividends (social shares, traffic back to your site, etc.) weeks, months, or even years following its publishing.

      In the past, publishing content or securing media placements were viewed as the ultimate PR pinnacles. You aimed, shot, and scored. However, in today’s Age of the Customer, the impact of evergreen content can be felt or realized far beyond the day it goes live. The fact of the matter is that most content lives on indefinitely.

      We also must consider how content consumption often doesn’t coincide with content publishing. Just because you publish an article at noon on a Monday doesn’t mean your customers will read it then and there. They may save it to read on their lunch break days later, flag it for sharing with their team in their next quarterly update, or re-stumble upon it through search in a year. This is a huge contributing factor to long-tail PR.

      This is great news, especially since producing original content takes a lot of time and resources. Understanding what types of content deliver for your brand in the long-term can ultimately be the difference between spinning your wheels and consistently driving meaningful outcomes.

      At AirPR, we’re seeing the effects of long-tail content in the PR outcome data for nearly all of our customers who are leveraging AirPR Analyst, our measurement and reporting software.

      I’ll give you two examples.

      Example 1

      One of our enterprise customers in the financial industry recently discovered that the vast majority of their blog content has a 30-day lag time. It takes about one month from the time owned media is published for that content to be read or drive traffic to other pages of their website.

      With this information, the customer is planning additional social media pushes and promotional tactics for blog content the month following its publish date to help increase potency.

      Example 2

      Here at AirPR, we have content from 2013 and 2014 that still drives traffic to our site and garners engagement.

      Long-Tail PR

      By analyzing the nuances of this content, we are able to make stronger editorial decisions around the topics we cover and we’re able to choose our content partnerships more strategically.

      So, how can you ensure you’re getting the most out of your PR and content efforts? We’ve found that long-tail PR content tends to fall into three categories:

      • Content that educates the market
      • Content that showcases customers
      • Content that positions your brand as a resource

      Thought provoking analogies, alignment with business or industry trends, useful data sets, and compelling visuals are all ways to increase the probability of long-tail PR.

      Not every piece of content is going to grow a long tail, but there are tactics which will exponentially increase the possibility. In our on-demand world, delayed content gratification may be your biggest source of public relations success, so don’t forget to turn around and look back at legacy content that could still be work, work, work, work, working for you.

    8. Vet Media Agencies With These 5 Measurement Questions

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      A few weeks ago, our Director of PR Engineering published a post about how to best manage outsourced PR as a guide for those looking to streamline their processes. I expanded upon this thought recently in the Forbes article “Six Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Media Agency,” noting that being crystal clear on how success will be measured is paramount to defining that relationship from the get-go.

      It’s much easier to focus on the qualitative instead of the quantitative — just like how most of us would rather spend our time reading a book instead of skimming a spreadsheet. But trust me: Your CEO, CMO, and VP of communications care far more about the numbers and the quantitative ways that public relations supports the greater business strategy than they do the qualitative.

      So let me make it easy on you. The next time you’re vetting the abilities of a media agency, ask them these five measurement questions and make sure they have answers for you before you move forward. If you handle PR in house, consider this an exercise and discuss with your teammates.

      Measurement Questions

      It’s also a good idea to ask a prospective agency if they’re using any tools to help track success, present results effectively, etc. The way in which they present that information can be quite telling of their tech-savviness, indicating some of the value they could potentially bring to the table.

      What PR metric matters most to your senior leaders? Tweet it to me @RebekahIliff.

    9. Common Math Mistakes That PR People Make

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      Let’s be honest. The typical PR person has an aversion to math.

      Couple that with the fact that the PR industry has historically lacked the type of quantitative performance data that’s usually available to marketing teams, and you’re left with a large group of professional communicators who are prevented from tapping into insights that could help them perform better in their roles.

      Here are some examples of common number-blunders. If you’re making these mistakes, you’re downplaying the role of PR:

      Math Mistake #1: The Law of Large Numbers

      For data to be statistically relevant, you need a sufficiently large sample size for your estimates to have reliable predictive value. Pitching survey data is a common area where this issue comes into play. For example, Penny the PR manager has a great idea for an internal communications survey about job satisfaction, but journalists are unlikely to justify using her data because the sample is simply not big enough to return meaningful results.

      Math Mistake #2: Reporting % Growth

      One of the most egregious positioning errors is when small companies pitch extremely high percentages as impressive growth rates. This often causes the adverse effect: instead of “Whoa, Company X crushed it last year!” the reader thinks: “Whoa, I had no idea Company X was that small to begin with.”

      If Sammy’s String Cheese had $2,500 in sales in 2014 and $70,000 in sales in 2015, it would be mathematically true to say Sammy’s String Cheese grew 2700% despite a relatively small increase in revenue of just $67,500. When a bigger company goes from 10MM to 20MM, the growth figure is 100% but revenue is actually up by 10MM. Business-minded people get the nuances of this and gawk at those who don’t.

      Math Mistake #3: Reporting % Change

      A similar error occurs when calculating % change. If your employee count grows from 100 to 400 in a year, many people would eyeball that as 400% growth when it’s really 300% growth or 3x plus your original number. You can’t include your starting point as part of any growth you report. That’s just not how it works, folks.

      Math Mistake #4: Believing in Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE)

      Since much of the influence of PR is felt indirectly, the industry has struggled to develop effective proxy measurements to connect PR success to revenue-related figures. Sadly, AVE (also known as ACE or Advertising Cost Equivalency) is a proxy measurement that is prone to lead people astray.

      For marketers, it’s much easier to arrive at reliable figures for return on investment. If you spent $100K on AdWords and sold $150K of product to people who clicked on the ads and converted, then your campaign returned 1.5x. Since most marketing measurement is based on link tracking, earned media, which rarely features links, is especially difficult to accurately measure in this way. (Only ~15% of all earned media includes backlinks.) Without links, there’s no way to determine direct causation.

      Using AVE to assert that the cash value of earned media is proportional to the amount of money a brand would have paid in order to purchase advertising is incorrect for so many reasons. What you pay for something is not necessarily what it’s worth.

      Math Mistake #5: Overvaluing Impressions

      Impressions sound the most impressive, but while representing the total number of people who could have seen a given piece of content does provide some insight into your ability to reach large numbers of people, impressions do not tell you whether or not you’ve accomplished a business goal.

      You can use one gallon of water or 10 gallons of water to wash your hands after handling bacon. Though 100 gallons sounds like it could give you a better chance of accomplishing your goal of cleaning your hands, if you don’t have any soap, more water isn’t going to help much. If your approach is ineffective, no amount of impressions will drive increased performance.

      What you need to know is what works. Even if the number of PR-driven conversions is just 100, therein lies the answer to improving PR performance. What content, publications, or messages were most successful? That’s the important question. Not, “How can I reach the largest number of people with a message I can’t be certain is influencing anyone?”

      No one’s perfect, and we all have room to grow in certain areas of our professions. But if you’re a PR pro, you don’t have to fall victim to the embarrassingly common math mistakes outlined above. Rest assured that there are tools today that can help you effectively measure the worth of PR, and remember that it’s all about asking the right questions.

      How are you ensuring that your efforts are impactful?