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What are the most popular KPIs in PR?

When PR professionals use coverage reporting tool Releasd to create coverage reports, they are given the freedom to add their own custom KPIs. Over the last six years, more than 400,000 individual KPIs have been created across 100,000 reports.

Using this treasure trove of data, we have created a report that unlocks the secrets of how PR professionals the world over are evaluating their work behind closed doors.


We compared the KPIs created in the full year of 2015 with those created in 2021, enabling us to identify historic and future trends. Then, we compared the metrics added by our customers with the recommendations laid out in AMEC’s Integrated Evaluation Framework to see how the industry is measuring up against best practice.

Key findings

The results were eye-opening:

  • 77% of reports created in 2021 included Activity-based metrics, compared to just 19% in 2015
  • AVE is still alive, but only just. 6% of reports included the much maligned metric in 2021 compared to 18% in 2015

Reports featuring AVE 2015 vs 2021

  • 92% of Releasd reports in 2021 featured innovative Out-take KPIs such as coverage views, live coverage shares and dark social analysis
  • There’s still much to do in terms of Outcome and Impact evaluation; reports shared with SMEs were most likely to include at least one Outcome or Impact based KPI, but even in this category only 16% of reports included such a metric

What does this mean for PR?

The explosion in Activity-based KPIs over the years shows without a doubt that the industry has strengthened and diversified its offering well beyond pure media relations. This is to be celebrated.

Out-take metrics have also become hugely popular; it’s now possible to estimate coverage views, show how stories are being shared in real time and even shine a light into dark social channels. Ongoing advances in technology, data-rich APIs and smart algorithms mean that the trend of ever more sophisticated Out-take KPIs looks set to continue.

However, many PR professionals are still finding it challenging to effectively measure the Outcomes and Impacts of their hard work. Conversations with customers have provided some context. Many mentioned a lack of awareness from clients or executives in terms of what PR can actually do, which presents challenges in terms of setting realistic and achievable goals. Finally, a widespread lack of access to the right tools and people was a major hindrance.

Overall, the encouraging aspect of our conversations was a widespread awareness of best practice and desire to do things right. That’s backed up by the data; Outcome and Impact KPIs were negligible in 2015, but noticeable in 2021.

I think that's cause for optimism.

Download the full report

Download the free report from Releasd here: What are the most popular KPIs in PR?

Article written by Richard Benson, co-founder of Releasd

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