Whitney Danhauer

Spin Sucks Question: What Are the Main Metrics Your Organization Tracks?

By: Whitney Danhauer | November 15, 2019 | 
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metricsEarlier this week, we spoke to Johna Burke in our #SpinSucksAMA about effective PR measurement strategies.

And since November is AMEC’s Measurement Month, we thought it would be fitting to have a #SpinSucksQuestion about PR metrics as well.

It’s no secret the communications industry isn’t the best at tracking actionable metrics, but the good news is, we’re getting better.

The better news is that the answers to our #SpinSucksQuestion are going to give our readers a lot of helpful information.

This week, we asked:

What are the main metrics you track for your organization and how do they contribute to your organization or client’s business goals?

Metrics for Business Goals

Travis Claytor:

Whatever shows value in relation to the goals and objectives of the company/client.

Whether that’s revenue, cost per conversion, web traffic or metrics, or brand awareness, as strategic communicators it’s our job to understand what drives the business forward.

We have to align our metrics to support those goals to bring value to the company/client, and the public relations profession. 

Paula Kiger:

As a B2B newsletter, we look at all the things anyone would expect: number of subscribers, click-through rate, open rate, and many other micro-metrics that lie beneath those.

I’m sure there are many metrics around ad revenue as well.

Having just attended my first partner conference, I have to say that my conversations with readers were as important to me (although I know they don’t equal revenue) as any metric.

When someone said, “Yeah, I get that every day!” or they told me about their favorite section or in some other way indicated it was a part of their professional life, it made a difference.

Measurement Categories

Rod Guajardo:

We categorize our metrics in three different “buckets” with a variety of data points within each.

Reach: This is used to determine how effective we are at getting our messages in front of our target audience.

  • Number of people reached across our social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn)
  • Total number of people who visited our website
  • Total number of media mentions

Consumption: This is used to determine the amount of content users read and watch.

  • Total number of pageviews to our website
  • Open rate number to our weekly newsletter
  • Top notable media outlets placed

Engagement: This provides insight into the reaction users have after consuming our content.

  • Total number of actions (likes, comments, shares) across our social media platforms
  • Total number of followers gained on our social media platforms

We compile these metrics and create a dashboard that is shared monthly internally with our staff and quarterly with our university leadership team.

Measuring Domain Authority and Engagement

Heather Feimster:

I track email engagement and our Domain Authority.

We’ve started putting certain content behind gated forms. And that has garnered some very warm leads which I think has started to have much more tangible results for the company.

Our social media engagement is also something I watch, mostly to decide what kind of content does well.

We gear our social content for each platform and have seen more engagement and click-through to our website that way.

We do industry webinars once a quarter and registrations/attendees are tracked, as well as archived downloads, and gated content downloads.

We’ve started to offer more resources for attendees to access after the live webinar. And we’ve had good luck with that connecting us to warm business leads.

Looking at Who’s Looking

Howie Goldfarb:

I track views only. For everything. It’s all that matters now to me on every channel.

If what they see isn’t enough to engage, become a lead, or convert … you are starting off dead.

Engagement for brand content is so low it hasn’t existed for years. Even Spin Sucks is a great example.

If you divide post views by comments and then by shares, yet thousands read the content, based on engagement you fail, but based on your sales and growth you succeed.

The paradigm was coopted by a false narrative that social media and open graph would create ‘engagement of meaningful volume’ when doing so meant hiring so many workers to make it negative ROI for most brands.

I learned this in 2014 when Coke, with the most fans on Facebook, would go months between posts.

When you make pennies per sale, you can’t justify engaging with people. So I only care about views, while taking whatever engagement I can get.

Well, That Depends …

Shane Carpenter:

I know the way this question is answered depends on where people fall within the organization.

Since it’s my organization, I look at it first from an operational perspective. And the two things I need to survive are the goals: revenue and profit.

For marketing/public relations I want people to find me and ultimately be interested enough to consider my services. So the goals are leads, click through rate, cost per click (because it ties back to profit),  domain authority, and web traffic.

From a sales perspective it’s simply the conversion rate.

Start with Client Objectives

Christophe Abiriagi:

We handle measurement for a few different clients.

In general we try to identify their business or communications objectives. And then we work backwards to figure out which metrics will give the most accurate indication that goals are being met.

Most of the reporting we do looks at comparisons month over month.

We’ll typically start with a baseline number of clips and total impressions.

From there we often break down the types of publications into different tiers.

This might be based on the Domain Authority for the publications or a custom ranking specific to the client’s high value publications.

Essentially if we know a small trade publication with a low Domain Authority delivers great results for the client, we would include that publication as a tier one among more traditionally valuable outlets.

We will also identify whether the client is featured in a clip or simply mentioned, analyze the sentiment as it relates to the client, and determine whether a story accurately represents brand messaging.

For companies looking for a competitive analysis, we’ll measure all the same variables for their competitors and see how they stack up against one another.

We’ll mix some qualitative analysis in with these metrics to identify what specific news or announcements are driving coverage. And then we’ll look at social media engagement to see which stories are creating the most conversations.

Measure What Matters

We’re getting better at tracking metrics tied to tangible business goals.

Yet, we still have a way to go.

Which metrics do you focus on? Let us know in the comments!

Or you can join our community.

It’s free and you’ll have access to fantastic networking opportunities, communications conversations, and more. See you there!

About Whitney Danhauer


Whitney is living in Central Kentucky with her husband, Michael and her daughter, Evie Rose. She's an avid reader, an even more avid movie watcher, and loves nothing more than a well-placed pop culture reference. By day she writes about all things communications for Spin Sucks, by night she writes about whatever she wants. Her first novel, Good Riddance, was released in October of 2015.