Making an Impact with Public Relations Metrics

On the daily, communications professionals are assessing website user stats, digital advertising impressions, social media engagement metrics, email open/click rates, and more with the goal of gaining some insight about audience habits and motivations. So, what data should practitioners be looking at and how can they strategically use this data to make an impact on the success of communication campaigns? We had the pleasure of hearing from several PR professionals who discussed how PR pros can make better decisions and gain valuable insights all through use of key metrics. Many thanks to our moderator, Chad Cyrowski, Chief Digital Officer at Truscott Rossman and our panelists:

How are professionals driving metrics today?

  • Cyndi – “We’re seeing a great evolution in metrics today”, she said. “What we need to drive true relevance and personalization we have to understand our audiences -where they are and what their interests are.” She talked about ensuring the relevance of metrics based on the challenges.

What does intent mean? How do you measure it?

  • Cyndi – Cyndi spoke about how intent is everything to do with digital and social tracking to see where people are spending time. Additionally, she said the next level of intent is what kind of data are people downloading and consuming – another great way to understand interests.

What are vanity metrics?

  • Josh – Josh indicated that vanity measurements are something that can’t directly determine success for a campaign. The example he used was having millions of YouTube views, while that’s great – what does that ultimately mean for the company?
    • He added, “Every time you touch someone (through a campaign) you have to show that you know them.”
  • Diego – “What are we doing X in the first place?” He explained that once you know the purpose you can determine what success looks like. Then you can differentiate vanity metrics from
  • Cyndi – Cyndi provided great advice to get a second set of eyes on data reports. She suggested befriending someone – ultimately avoid confirmation bias and ensure the information you are presenting is understandable to someone outside

What do you do when metrics aren’t great?

  • Josh – Josh said, “You have to ask yourself are you going to provide solution or empathy?” Being solution-oriented, even when a campaign isn’t successful, is key.
  • Chad – Chad said, “Tell them the story they need to hear, not the story they want to hear.” Provide a clear overview of what happened and why, and what you’ll do in the future.
  • Cyndi – Transparency is key. Cyndi said, “If I have bad metrics to share, I start with that at the beginning of my presentation to head it off and be transparent.”

Do you find that educating clients and/or leadership on the “metrics that matter” is a learning curve as our industry evolves?

  • Josh – Josh said, “There’s an education component but you still need to distill things down to what’s actionable.” He recommended that PR pros remain brief and “get to the point” rather than go all the way into the specifics of how Google campaigns work
  • Diego – Diego noted that when speaking with leadership it’s important to not use buzz words or acronyms and to speak to them at their level.

Many thanks to everyone who could join us! Stay tuned for future events this summer/fall!

Megan Bonelli (formerly Peterson) is an account supervisor at Stratacomm a Detroit PRSA board member.