When discussing ROI, PR pros too often take the easy way out by name dropping their favorite data-tracking tool or using buzzword phrases like “brand awareness.”
Clients want us to connect the dots with tangible metrics that address their specific goals, so how do we more effectively measure and communicate ROI?
Here are three metrics you can monitor using Google Analytics to measure the impact of your PR efforts.
Referral traffic is one of the best ways to see if you’re getting media coverage in publications that reach your target audience. If the media placement your team secured contains a backlink, you can measure how many users clicked on the link and arrived at your client’s website.
Some publications opt not to include backlinks, but you can use backlinks to monitor referral traffic from the client’s owned media, as well. For example, you should always include backlinks in company press releases to monitor inbound interest from your news.
New and returning users
New user reports reflect brand awareness via the number of people who are visiting your client’s website for the first time. If this number isn’t gradually increasing over time, it may mean your media placements aren’t reaching the appropriate audience and you should look at alternative publications.
Returning users are equally important to monitor because conversions, such as sales, PDF downloads or contact form submissions, typically don’t occur on a user’s first visit. Returning users are also valuable because they indicate maintained customer relationships. Although new users are great, if you can’t keep them coming back, it will decrease your ROI in the long run.
Social network referrals
In today’s digital world, the moment a user shares a media placement or blog on social media, it becomes earned media.
Monitoring social network referrals shows you which social platforms are driving the most traffic to your client’s website. Maybe your team is spending time and money on Facebook Ads, but see that Twitter is ultimately delivering more visitors. Make sure you refer to Google Analytics to find the social platforms where your client’s customers are most engaged and focus your attention there.
There's no one tool or method for measuring ROI, but Google Analytics provides customized metrics that PR pros can leverage when trying to connect the dots for their clients and evaluate ongoing success.
Ashley Glenn is senior specialist of innovation at SSPR.