It’s well-accepted in the world of management that what isn’t measured isn’t managed, and the same idea rings true in digital PR. Quantifying the return on investment of your media efforts isn’t an exact science because it’s often difficult to determine precisely which techniques bring in customers over time. Even though digital PR strategy means playing the long game, there are numerous metrics and KPIs that digital PR agencies track which correlate to business outcomes. Determining why your organization wants to increase your media presence will clarify which metrics to monitor and where to set your goals.
Metrics to Increase Brand Awareness
If the intention of your company’s digital PR strategy is to increase brand awareness, you’ll want to follow engagement metrics. Many social media platforms have built-in tools that give businesses select feedback. Instagram Insights, for example, gives users data about how many accounts were reached, and how many times a post was liked, saved, commented on, or shared. It also displays the top countries, cities, ages, and gender of the users your account reaches or engages with.
Even though this type of data is elementary, it provides meaningful insight and it’s incredibly simple to collect. Third-party software can give complex analytics, but it’s crucial to first learn basic factors about what’s driving your engagement. It’s more important to understand factors such as whether your followers engage more with user-generated content, infographics, or glossy marketing photos than if you’ll get the most likes if you post on Tuesdays at 6:45pm. Once you have a better grasp of the specific content that speaks to your audience, you can then begin to use more advanced analytics to refine which hashtags bring in the most new viewers or establish an optimal posting schedule.
Metrics to Increase Sales
Companies that already have a firm grasp on their branding may enlist digital PR services with the explicit end-goal of increasing profit margins. Traditional examples of digital PR compare earned media value against ad spend, but this approach is somewhat outdated and not particularly reliable. Today, businesses should be more focused on click-through and conversion rates.
Click-through rates measure the number of people who see your advertisement or mention against the number that actually “click through” to your website. Conversion rates are a ratio that measures the number of page viewers who take a particular action. Making a purchase, creating an account, signing up for a membership, or downloading content are typical examples of conversions. While editorial link-building has great benefits—including significantly increasing your website’s authority on search engine results pages—conversion and click-through rates are much more reliable measurements than earned media value.
Rather than relying on hypotheticals, conversion and click-through data allows you to track where visitors are coming from and which actions they’re taking. Hypothetically, you might find that an ad or article in an online publication brings 10,000 new visitors to your site, but only 25 of those visitors sign up for memberships. On the other hand, conversion data might show you that 50% of the visitors who come from links posted in online community groups become subscribers. Quantifying your web traffic this way will give you a better sense of how your company should focus their efforts and which media dollars get the most return on investment.
Regardless of the goals you set for your brand, it’s essential to identify the key performance indicators that measure your success. A digital PR strategy can help achieve numerous outcomes—it can raise both your ranking on Google and your bottom line. However, different outcomes are monitored with different metrics, and it’s impossible to compare approaches if you don’t know your starting point.