A question communication professionals are often asked in new business pitches is ‘How will we measure success’. An important question surely and one that links directly to the return a business should expect from their investment. While educating clients on what PR as a marketing tool will entail is an on-going part of our roles as communication professionals, setting expectations and ensuring that the client understands what to expect and how that would realistically look for them is equally important.

Evaluation metrics such as AVE & PRV, animated graphs and pie charts with big numbers and little translation values are the true dinosaurs in the world of campaign result measurement. With so many added avenues today where brand messages are reaching, measurement simply cannot be one dimensional.

So much has changed since 2020 and the benchmark of a successful campaign cannot solely be measured on how many press releases are issued over a given period & how much coverage was achieved, but instead how they are used, what is being said and who they are reaching to in which sectors must take precedence. 

So how should a business engaging in PR activity get the most out of their investment? For starters, set effective KPIs that are clearly understood on both sides. 

Activity Based KPIs

Things that you do to plan and produce your communication, for example developing brand strategy, creating PR plans, drafting written content, dispatching of press releases, webinars confirmed, coverage received, samples sent, meetings coordinated and so on formulate activity based KPI’s and also where a huge chunk for a comms professional is spent.

Output based KPIs

These involve assessing the reach of your message & what all avenues has it appeared on, sources such as pieces of coverage, total reach of publications, circulation, readership, follower count, mentions and such.

Out-take based KPIs

Then there are your out-take based KPIs as well which in my opinion are most key, as it measures engagement, feedback & recipient sentiment. 

Everything from comments under a brand post, Instagram-story shares, retweets, engagement, views, shares, downloads and similar. Knowing how your target audience is responding to your content, what is their immediate feedback, is the message resonating with them, what are they saying are some of the questions that are addressed here.

A good example of this would be the recent collaboration between Adidas & RAVI restaurant, which was widely discussed, while press coverage poured in on the announcement, the consumers emotional response & sentiment was particularly noteworthy and drove added reach to the overall campaign. 

Impact based KPIs 

Lastly are your outcome & impact based KPI’s that measure the effectiveness of your communication activity in real time. This involves taking into account meaningful action taken by audiences, such as webinar registrations, new reviews, event attendees to a planned activation. 

A combination of all the above set out based on business objectives is ultimately what drives effective activity on the PR front. Ultimately a successful campaign is one that can evoke genuine emotion, and when measured correctly can truly deliver gratification for both parties.