Everyone needs something to strive for to keep them on track. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are a great way to make goals more tangible and quantify what was up until now unquantifiable. When you (or your boss) are wondering if you’re doing a good job, KPIs are there to answer the question and nudge you to even greater heights.
It’s one thing to do everything you can to promote your brand and get your message out, but how you translate this activity into data that business leaders can understand and appreciate is another thing entirely.
If your reporting is only focusing on brand mentions and social validation (vanity metrics), owned, earned and paid media is likely going to be considered a “nice to have” rather than a valuable driver of business growth.
Your leadership team doesn’t want a dashboard that’s only a list of links to PR clips and some social media snapshots. They want to understand how their investment in earned owned and paid media — and you — is supporting their business goals. Yes, many of your goals center around eyeballs and engagement. But to prove your worth to the leadership team, you also need to measure the right KPIs. Here’s how to get started.
We’ve identified proven PR KPIs you’ll want to consider tracking. Always begin with the items that drive greatest business impact. And don’t forget to measure your performance against your competitors by benchmarking yourself against them.
Coverage secured by the PR team. You may want to create a subset of this KPI specifically focused on top-tier publications for your industry and audience.
Sum of viewership for publications and websites in which your coverage is featured.
Percentage of coverage—for your brand, products, or high-profile executive(s)—compared to competitors. Include several competitors to gauge your place within the industry at large, or benchmark one at a time and drill down into the corresponding media coverage to uncover key differentiators. It’s important to note that share of voice can be tracked by volume or reach. For instance, your competitor may have a higher volume in terms of mentions, but you might be in higher-reach publications.
How many shares and comments the coverage you generate receives.
Tone of the articles mentioning your brand or competitors. This metric lets you see if your brand is creating positive or negative associations.
The number of press releases and pitches you are sending out and how they are performing. Along with the amount of coverage they generate, you can also measure your progress in building relationships with journalists (a good distribution tool provides metrics on open rates and even internal links clicked).
The placement of your brand mention (headline, body) and its prominence in the article’s content.
Volume of coverage based on location. Assess your success at targeting key geographical demographics.
Break your coverage down by key themes and measure how strongly you are associated with each one. You can also measure which ones your competitors are associated with and compare your results.
Combine share of voice and sentiment to get a snapshot of your competitive landscape.
The number of visitors that were driven to your website as a result of your earned coverage and link placement.
A metric created by SEO software company Moz to predict how well a website will rank on search engines, using a logarithmic, 100-point scale. By securing link placement on third-party sites, PR can have a big impact on your site’s domain authority and SEO. To learn more, watch our webinar on PR’s SEO superpowers.
PR’s success in driving event attendance, garnering media coverage of events, and building relationships with speakers and attendees.
When trouble hits, you’ll want to measure how quickly PR gets things back to normal. Throughout the crisis, benchmark volume and sentiment to baseline levels from before the crisis started.
CPCs can be an excellent way to understand campaign-level performance metrics (i.e. which creative or message is driving customers to click), but optimizing for CPCs along won’t give you the data you need to determine if your acquisition efforts are successful and driving a positive ROI.
The main problem with CPCs is that it doesn’t tell you what happens after someone clicks your link. Did that person click it by mistake and just go right back to the page they were on? Did they convert? Did they buy something . . . And will they buy again? What happens after the click is critical to understanding your true success and ROAS, so focusing exclusively on CPCs keeps you from examining metrics that give you more useful information.
Optimizing for CPC will emphasize quantity of traffic rather than quality. The more clicks you get, the lower your CPCs will be. And while, when viewed in isolation, lower CPCs appear to be good, they fail to provide you the true story of your ad’s success.
You don’t just want clicks, you want the person clicking to take an action. When you analyze down-funnel performance, you may find that higher CPCs are more meaningful in that you paid more to acquire customers who are more valuable to your business.
Cost-per-acquisition (CPA) lets you determine the cost of the action a user takes to convert, which may be signing up for a subscription, filling out a form or making a purchase. Using CPAs to determine the success of your acquisition efforts gives a more comprehensive view of whether or not your paid media is delivering a return.
Click-through rate is the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or advertisement. It is commonly used to measure the success of an online campaign.
ROAS measures whether the costs of your acquisition efforts are worth their expenditure by dividing the revenue generated by these costs. To find that percentage, multiply that figure by 100.
As numbers tend to be better expressed visually, here’s an example of calculating ROAS:
If you’re looking at your campaign with your eyes focused on your ROAS over your CPA, it can be much easier to disregard an expensive CPA if your overall return on ad spend is 3x greater than what you’ve spent.
If you’re focusing on optimizing only off of your CPA, you’d potentially pull back on a high-value ad set because you’d be looking at smaller pools of audiences vs. the big picture.
Due to the diversity of roles in the marketing department compared to PR and advertising, we’ve identified marketing KPIs and grouped them into three broadly defined job functions—comms, digital, and customer marketing—to help zero in on the right marketing KPIs for each team member.
This area includes roles like content, PR, and social. Goals for these roles likely center around eyeballs. Here are the marketing KPIs that let communications folks know whether they are reaching their audience effectively and what they should focus on to increase engagement.
These people, including marketing ops, search engine optimisers (SEOs), conversion rate optimisers (or sometimes acquisition managers), and others are likely more data-focused to begin with. Tracking the number of bookings attributable to marketing is their ultimate goal.
This group might have the most interesting marketing KPIs of all. The customer marketing team normally has a singular focus on growth within the existing customer base. Along with the KPIs listed below, the customer marketer might also want to add case studies and customer quotes, brand advocates, or average customer lifetime value to the goals they measured on.
0–6 = Detractor
7–8 = Neutral
9–10 = Promoter
Subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters to arrive at the net promoter score.
In order to measure these KPIs, you’ll need to use the right tools for tracking such metrics and visualizing that data. Analytics dashboards enable you to see your earned, owned and paid media performance metrics and keep track of your KPIs. Using a comprehensive media intelligence platform like Meltwater allows you to track metrics in one place, while providing automated reporting capabilities. For more information about media KPIs and how to go about measuring them, fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch!