PR industry ‘growing up’ on thorny issue of measurement

 

By Chris Lee

Two-thirds (66 per cent) of industry professionals cite the lack of a standard as the biggest problem with PR measurement, according to a new Ragan/NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions survey. Despite numerous coverage service companies and established online buzz monitoring tools such as Sysomos, Radian6 and Brandwatch, no consistent approach is emerging.

The report cites that 62 per cent of the nearly 1,500 PR professionals interviewed do not believe there should be one widely accepted standard because “PR programs vary and have unique goals”. Almost all (92 per cent) of PRs monitor what is being said about their clients or organisation, of whom most (80 per cent) do so to understand “what is being said in response to content we post.” More than half (56 per cent) monitor their competitors.

Free tools popular

Budgets were cited as a key issue for marketers when it came to monitoring, with more than a third (35 per cent) using free monitoring tools exclusively and just under one in ten (nine per cent) using paid tools.

Google’s free tools dominate. Google Alerts leads among free tools, with 85 per cent using it, and Google Analytics follows with 79 per cent. Facebook Insights is used by more than half (55 per cent), and TweetDeck, HootSuite and YouTube Insights also proved to be popular. PR “growing up” when it comes to measurement

The PR industry is growing up when it comes to measurement but it is a slow process, according to Giles Peddy, Group Managing Director UK for communications agency, Lewis PR.

“While more and more people are turning their back on AVE (advertising value equivalent) and looking at more meaningful measures, there still remain a large swathe of PRs still counting clips as the main measure of success,” he told NMK. “But it is changing and this is being driven by many factors including justifying budgets, the rise of social media, increasing use of analytics, and businesses wanting to show the impact of integrated campaigns. So while this shift must be encouraged, it is more than just fancy graphs. It is about showing PR’s impact on a business.”

Peddy believes this is an exciting time for the industry as it shifts measurement from being a process done at the end to justify the work done to the starting point of a campaign or conversation. “By asking the question ‘what is PR going to do for my business’, PR can answer that with powerful metrics around brand awareness and lead generation,” he concluded. “It is about PR working together with marketing to show business results. Progressive companies should look at tools, services and agencies that can help them demonstrate PRs impact on their business – not just about getting them some coverage. PR measurement has got interesting, strategic and is finally gaining the recognition it deserves.”

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