, Manager of Digital Content/Web Content Strategist at Linden Lab, Director of Digital Initiatives/Associate Professor (Digital Media) at The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication (Washington State University)
Measurement & Evaluation
Success or Failure?
• How will you determine if your strategic plan
and campaign was a success?
“The Final Step”
• The final step in your planning is to determine
how you will measure and define “success”
– This will be the metric used to determine if your
campaign was a success or failure
• At the end of your campaign, you should
evaluate based on the metric that was agreed
upon at the beginning
• To document success
• To encourage future work
• To justify your expenses
• To improve your future campaigns
• To build credibility
• To determine a basis for the next campaign
• To promote the value of PR in your organization
Things to Consider
• Was the campaign well planned?
• Did the recipients understand the message?
• What improvements can be made?
• Did you achieve your stated goals?
• Was the budget adequate?
• What is replicable for future campaigns?
• There is a tendency for many PR practitioners
to measure their output, rather than the
achievement of their goals
– For example, collecting press clippings is not
• In order to measure success, you must first
• As part of your research and strategic
planning phase, you and your client need to
agree on realistic goals for accomplishment
• This ensures that your work will be recognized
and disagreements will be minimized
• A defined increase in sales
• A specific number of mentions in the press
• A measured increase in public awareness of a
brand or service
• A pre-determined increase in customer direct
inquiries about a product or service
Clients from Hell
• The worst case scenario is ambiguous, ill-
• This invites the client to challenge your work
• A physical counting of press placements will
• This may not truly represent success
• There is a temptation to send out excessive
releases to manipulate the perception of
productivity (and add to the client’s bill)
How to Get Clips
• Do not ask a journalist to
send you a clip
• There are several services
you can use:
– Burrelle’s/Luce Press Clippings
• These services are now
• These services track “media impressions”
(a.k.a. “gross impressions”) to detail how
many people were exposed to the message
– This factors in the circulation and/or reach of the
media outlets that carried your message
• A campaign for a new soda is mentioned in
several newspapers and magazines
• Add up the circulation of these publications to
get the estimated “media impressions”
• Useful to track the penetration of a message
• However, the number can be misleading
• This number does not reflect how many
people actually saw the message – only how
many were exposed to it
Advertising Value Equivalency
• Since story placements are “free,” there is an
equivalent dollar value for the exposure
• What would it have cost your client to get the
same sort of exposure via paid placement
• The AVE calculates the estimated value of the
exposure (in ad dollars)
• AVE helps to justify the expense of your PR
• However, it is not without controversy
– Not all media coverage is positive
– The value of the story space requires some
subjective judgment and is prone to exaggeration
Systematic Content Analysis
• Many of these software programs track the
intricacies of the media coverage
– Positive vs. negative coverage
– Relationship of the coverage vs. your competitors
– Contextualization of your coverage compared to
the overall placement opportunities in the media
Other Forms of Evaluation
• Monitor the Internet
– This includes “gripe groups” (anti-client blogs)
• Toll-free numbers
– How proactive are your customers?
Cost per Person
• It can be difficult to compare the value of
impressions across various forms of media
• The CPM (cost per thousand) index helps you
assign a dollar value to the expense of
reaching 1,000 people in a particular media
• Divide the total number of media impressions
by the cost of your campaign
• Example: A $10 million campaign that reaches
100 million people would have a CPM of $10.
(It costs $10 to reach 1,000 people).
Monitoring Online Chatter
• There are multiple services that you can use to
monitor online chatter about your brand in social
media and across the web including:
– Google Alerts
– Social Mention
Measurement of Audience Awareness
• How many people know about your message
• You can conduct surveys to determine the
• How does the public feel about your
company, brand, product or service?
• You can measure “audience attitudes” using
benchmark studies that test attitudes both
before and after exposure to the message
• What action does the audience take as a
result of the exposure to your message?
– Do they buy your product?
– Do they talk about you?
– Did they request more information?
– Did they enter your contest?
Web Site Analytics
• Leaders in this space include:
– Google Analytics