For the layman, ROI (Return on investment) is a way to measure and evaluate the efficiency of an investment. However, it is not used to measure any form on investment on a small scale, it is looking at an investment’s and company’s long-term gains. It can be difficult to calculate ROI on that scale, so this guide will show the best ways to measure it and how to use it in your digital PR strategy.
What is ROI in PR?
It is important to understand that ROI is generally split into two categories; monetary gains like sales revenue increases and earned media gains that increase a startup’s reputation and credibility. Businesses are quite familiar with a company’s monetary gains because it has existed before social media and technology. However, nowadays it is important not to neglect earned media gains if you want your startup to be successful. If you want to achieve an accurate ROI for your PR strategy, it is important to understand both.
ROI for PR today
What is a press release and what’s its purpose?
In order to understand press releases, you can take a look at the Media Coverage press kit to get a detailed understanding and step-by-step guide to write a press release. Basically, the goal of a press release is to gain media coverage by sending it to media outlets. It is one of the main components to a well-balanced PR and media strategy. Take a more detailed look by looking at “How to pitch to journalists”.
ROI’s can be a bit difficult to measure and while impressions and media mentions can provide a sense of efficiency in a PR campaign. However, they can be meaningless if you can’t contextualize the numbers around well-defined strategy goals.
It is important to understand that you need to constantly be checking your metrics because things are constantly changing whether in a negative or positive way. Just judging and analyzing your initial PR gains can be a big mistake if you are only considering site sessions or publication appearances. Metrics could lead you to believe that the PR campaign is going better or worse than it actually is.
If your site creates content designed to build social proof, looking at the metrics and amount of content impressions would be pointless because there would be another way to measure its industry credibility by lead conversion rates.
In order to correctly use metric, you would need to give the data obtained a framework that describes your PR strategies’ purpose. Here are some that you may use to measure the ROI of your PR campaigns:
- Page Impressions – Every time a page on your site appears on a Google ad or SERP.
- Page Views – Every time a page on your site is clicked on a Google ad or SERP.
- Page Click Through Rate – The ratio of page impressions to page views
- Social Media Likes/Shares – The amount of interactions visitors have with one of your social media posts.
- Bounce Rate – The ratio of single-page sessions on your site to multiple page sessions.
- Average Page View Duration – The average time visitors spent on a particular page.
- Goal Conversions – The number of measurable goals completed, such as scheduled calls.
USE S.M.A.R.T GOALS!
How to measure PR ROI
At the moment, there are two strategies to measure ROI in PR
Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles
The Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles has shown the importance of measurable goals and places emphasis on achievements and it does it without letting go of the less attainable metrics because there are many components of success.
It also takes into account new technology such as social media and understands its role in ROI PR and it deserves the same attention as any type of monetary ROI for PR strategy.
However, what the principles lack is that they do not make perfect and concrete steps towards a framework for ROI calculations
In spite of their clear support for quantifying returns on PR in a meaningful way, the principles don’t enable startups with a mathematical formula to draw objective conclusions from their PR efforts.
Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE)
A more simple way to measuring all ROI activity, it multiplies the amount of ad space or “seconds” mentioned on a broadcast network by a medium’s advertising rate.
The only problem is that it can be considered to be an outdated system of measuring ROI
How are we measuring PR ROI?
Here are some of the factors that people use to measure ROI in their PR campaigns, You can also get a detail look at this at “The Ultimate Guide to Paid, Earned, and Owned Media” where I discuss the important types of media and how using the combined PESO model to create a successful PR campaign.
Social Media Posts
Social media PR is key when it comes to creating a buzz around your startup.
In addition to being key to any PR campaign, social media platforms give startups:
- Increased organic visibility
- Improved traffic to the website
- Heightened brand awareness
- Faster and easier communication
For a more detailed look at how social media can be a great help, make sure to check out “The Ultimate Guide to Social Media PR” where I discuss how important it is and how to measure it through earned media.
How do we measure social media posts’ ROI?
If you’re posting to encourage people to sign up to a newsletter or webinar, then consider the following metrics your key indicators of success:
- Signup conversions
- Impression of signup conversion rate
If your posts are more focused around increasing your site’s reach and increasing your brand awareness:
- Click-through rate
- Estimated Reach
- Social Media Mentions
How to track PR ROI long term?
There are individual measures of ROI in your PR strategy, but how does it work in the long run?
There are three fields that can indicate real ROI in a PR campaign:
Brand awareness and loyalty
A continuous look at metrics like traffic and social media shares can show long-term increases and improvements in new business opportunities. It also shows the possibility of securing additional business.
It can also see the sales activities like blog posts, guest articles, social media interactions, and other forms of media outreach through the process of site engagement, becoming leads, and converting.
You need to be seen as somewhat of an industry expert so that consumers of your startup believe that you are reliable and trustworthy. Trying winning earned media because it will build social proof and attract new business.
Increasingly positive reputation
Increasing your positive reputation relies on good customer experience and how that’s transmitted to the world. Getting good feedback from existing customers, for example.
You might make some short-term gains in traffic and bringing in leads, but this doesn’t necessarily convert into long-term startup prosperity.
In terms of PR ROI, we look at the social media shares/likes on positive customer experience stories and audience engagement in press release announcements regarding customer milestones.
It is important to see the ROI of your startup frequently so that you know where your company stands. Whether you are using the 2 strategies listed above or using social media and earned media, monitoring your business not only shows that you know what you are doing, but that you are interested to see what the future holds for your business.
We at Pressfarm pride ourselves in having the ability to create an effective PR strategy and provide people with additional knowledge of the world of PR. If you are interested in having one of our PR professionals create something that can get you business visibility, check out our pricing and packages to take the headache out of something great.