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What are the most useful value based KPIs in public relations?

The advancement of technology is continually shaping the realm of public relations and marketing, with even more organisations delving into data and catching on to the importance of detailed metrics. The industry is seeing a rise in businesses demanding better and more actionable earned media analytics in order to forecast, plan and succeed in campaigns. Chances are, organisations and leaders that aren’t focused on earned media analytics will inevitably see long-term business effects over the next decade.

Data drives decisions

According to Cision’s Communications Funnel E-Book, 80% of marketers said they "use data to drive decision-making", but as that number is continuously increasing, so are the questions around which metrics are actually key.

The Gartner Annual CMO Spend Survey 2019-2020 found a “bias for volume metrics over value metrics.” Volume metrics, or what we sometimes call vanity metrics, demonstrate high-level performance. Traditionally, that includes things like media impressions, advertising value equivalency (AVE), and potential reach. But without deeper context, those metrics aren’t very actionable. Potential reach should be seen at the top of the communicator’s funnel, followed by targeted reach, and then revenue actions at the bottom. Whilst it might be exciting that a brand got 20 media mentions in a month, did any of that media coverage actually lead to real business results?

All about value

We predict that the importance of vanity metrics will decline, making more room for value metrics. This year, and over the next decade, PR and communications professionals will have to prioritise value-driven metrics in order to truly prove the success and ROI of their earned media coverage.

So, what exactly are value driven PR metrics anyway? The best way to think of them is by asking yourself why you do PR for your organization and what problem you’re trying to solve for the business. Do you want consumers to purchase your latest product? Are you working to drive an increase in website traffic? Do you want to get more prospects to sign up for your newsletter? Whatever your goal is, they all require thinking about true reach and content engagement.

Instead of working towards traditional PR measurements, PROs must prove how their efforts are impacting:

  • Revenue generated
  • Lead volume
  • Lead quality
  • Social engagement
  • Change in sentiment
  • Website activity

PR and comms professionals should expect to see more data-driven decision makers demanding proof (in the form of value metrics) that earned media is generating these types of meaningful business results. While increasing media mentions might be important, if it can’t be converted into revenue generated or a valuable lead, it simply won’t be enough to present this kind of data without digging a little deeper.

2020 is the year of sophisticated metrics. And it doesn’t have to be scary. It’s actually quite exciting to see how many individuals truly saw and engaged with your media coverage or press release. Plus it is valuable to look at how many of those individuals actually fit your ideal customer profile. Thinking in this way will ensure you don’t fall behind competitors, and will only keep you ahead of the curve as the industry evolves over the next decade.

Written by Charlie Gooddy, content marketing manager at Cision

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