For many years, PR campaigns have been the go-to strategy for businesses to drive engagement, increase awareness and create communities around the brand. In the past, knowing how effective a campaign was and its reach was somewhat immeasurable. However, one of the side effects of the abundant amount of technology we have at our fingertips is the level of data we can gain back from intelligent software and tools.
Although data analysis and analytics sound very similar, both have different functions. Data analysis is a broader term which refers to the process of compiling and analyzing data to present, helping businesses make informed decisions. Data analytics, on the other hand, stems from data analysis, but it involves the use of technical tools and analysis techniques to achieve various business objectives. This is also known as big data marketing, which is often used to target the right audience, decrease costs and analyze masses of data.
Collecting immense amounts of data and utilizing powerful tools to extract hidden insights can be worthwhile for businesses to invest in. The potential they provide gives businesses a far more actionable approach to making decisions based on the behavior of their consumers. Data analytics and analysis outline the strengths and pitfalls to PR campaigns, providing a detailed understanding from the data that it gathers. This data can then be used to propel a business forward by providing the means to correctly target their audience and bring in investments, which is why it is vital for any business to implement data analysis and analytics in PR campaigns. In fact, according to Babel PR, "in 2019, PR and communications professionals will need to become data scientists to truly understand how their target audiences live, work and consume".
Tracking leads from a PR campaign can be extremely informative. Although the main aim of a PR campaign is usually to gain media coverage, businesses should consider taking a look at analytics to see how much referral traffic has come from the article and content that they have put out. Setting up goals for referral traffic in Google Analytics is a good place to start.
The data gained from setting up tracking will provide companies with an insight into how many people interacted with their content from a specific PR campaign, leading to actionable outcomes such as signing up for a newsletter, leaving an email address, filling out a contact form or downloading a free ebook.
Social media shares
A great way to count the number of social media shares your PR content gets is by utilizing tools like Buzzsumo. With the tool, you are able to research the topics that get traction beforehand. This can potentially maximize the effectiveness of a PR campaign by allowing you to analyze which topics have worked better historically on a specific website. You can then produce more content off the back of the data collected.
Brand mentions and links
When carrying out PR campaigns, businesses need to know where they sit in their industry and, most importantly, how they are viewed in the online space. Brand mentions are vital to increasing the name recognition of the business. It is an excellent way to suss out how successful a PR campaign will be. Measuring brand mentions can be done with tools such as SocialMention, Mention, TalkWalker or Google Alerts.
Once a campaign goes live and is broadcasted on major media outlets, it is vital to measure its reach and track to see the influence of each media coverage.
In an interview with Hackernoon, Mariya Lapuk, co-founder of Vinci Agency, suggested that PR and marketing have different key performance indicators. While the main objective of a marketing campaign could be to drive referral traffic, PR's aim is primarily to ensure wide-spread media coverage.
"I think it's improper to consider conversion from media and, in principle, to tie traffic to KPI in PR – this isn't marketing, after all," she said. "Nevertheless, the stronger the media coverage, the more views you can expect to receive. If TechCrunch writes about you, then the rest of the media will reprint it."
Tracking conversion gives business a clear indication of gaps in their industry market and potential areas to focus on in regard to conversion rates. Once organizations have found out how many sales have come from a specific PR campaign, they will then be able to calculate the ROI which will enable them to plan, optimize and replicate moving forward.