Digital PR metrics play a paramount role in assessing the effectiveness of your online PR strategies. It’s fair to say, they have the power to make or break a PR campaign.
In this article post, we’ll explore the eight key digital PR metrics, providing insights into what to measure, how to measure it, and why it matters.
The Difference Between PR Metrics and PR KPIs
Understanding how PR metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) compare is essential to your strategy’s effectiveness.
PR metrics are quantitative measurements, raw stats—data points and figures—that enable you to inspect what is happening in your campaign. KPIs are the specific metrics that you have deemed critical for your campaign’s success. These directly relate to your business outcomes and, therefore, indicate whether you’re meeting them.
All KPIs are metrics but not necessarily vice versa—KPIs are the ones you prioritize based on your goals.
For example, metrics such as likes, shares, and comments when you’re running digital PR campaigns on social media may reflect the engagement rate of your posts. However, the number of leads generated or conversions (KPIs) will indicate whether the campaign has met its business goals.
What Digital PR KPIs Should You Prioritize?
Here are some of the most critical digital PR KPIs that you should prioritize:
- Website Traffic: Traffic is the key result of a good digital PR strategy. You could learn what kind of PR strategy is more successful by analyzing the origin of your traffic (direct, referral, organic search, etc.).
- Brand Awareness: You can measure this by monitoring brand mentions, the impact of your PR campaigns, or carrying out brand awareness and perception surveys.
- Quality of Backlinks: Not all is related to the quantity of incoming backlinks, but also to their relevance and quality. Find outbound links sourced from reliable authoritative sites aligned with your sector.
- Leads Generated and Conversion Rate: Primarily, the key objective of every public relations campaign is to boost sales. Successful outcomes depend on the volume of the leads generated as well as the rate of conversion from the PR initiatives.
- Sentiment Analysis: It’s a qualitative KPI that helps understand how people feel and what they are saying about your brand in online conversations.
The KPIs you choose to track have to be consistent with your organizational goals as well as those of the PR campaign. Remember that these are not universal as the importance of the KPIs largely depends on the set goals.
Eight Digital PR Metrics to Keep Track Of
To effectively measure the success of your digital PR campaigns, here are eight key metrics to keep an eye on:
Brand mentions refer to any instance when your brand, products, or services are mentioned in a blog post, on social media (about 19% of all brand-related conversations among consumers happen on social media), podcasts, or other digital publications. Such mentions may include a hyperlink directing to your site or just a mention of your brand name in the content.
Tracking brand mentions helps you see where your brand stands online and can point to the effectiveness of your PR efforts. More mentions translate to a wider reach and higher brand awareness. Brand mentions are also tied to increased trust among consumers and 46% of US customers will pay more for a brand they trust.
Unique and Returning Visitors
Keeping a close eye on both unique and returning visitors gives you invaluable insights into the effectiveness of your PR campaign.
Unique visitors are people who pay a visit to your site for the first time within a specific timeframe. It measures how far you have extended your audience outreach as well as how many new possible customers you are bringing through your PR initiatives. An upward trend over time indicates that your PR efforts are building brand awareness and attracting new people to your site.
Returning visitors are those who visited your site before and were intrigued enough to come back. This measure signals high customer loyalty and engagement—it indicates that the content and/or service you offer has struck a chord with these people, leading them to return for more.
Earned backlinks (or simply backlinks) are links from third-party sites that link to your website and direct traffic. In the eyes of search engines, backlinks are a sign of trust. As such, they are crucial in making your website more credible and relevant, directly being responsible for boosting a site’s position in the SERPs.
From a PR perspective, backlinks are an invaluable metric to track. They play a crucial role in public relations as they provide:
- Improved website authority
- Increased online visibility
- Networking opportunities
- Boosted referral traffic
- Competitive advantage
Domain Authority, or DA, is Moz’s score for evaluating a website’s ability to rank on search results. The score ranges from one to 100, and the higher the score the greater the ranking ability. According to a study, scores between 40 and 50 are average, those ranging from 50 and 60 are considered good, while a score above 60 is excellent.
As a digital PR metric, DA provides a quick assessment of the general quality and performance of a site. To calculate a single DA score, this metric combines different factors such as linking root domains and the total number of links.
DA may be used for comparison purposes (to compare the effectiveness of your PR efforts relative to competitors) or to track the growth of a website in terms of its ranking strength over time.
Therefore, checking your website’s DA is a good indicator of the cumulative effect of your PR strategies. The score can also help you make data-driven decisions on optimizing your SEO to improve your organic traffic, increase brand visibility, and build your authority in the marketplace.
Impressions translate into the number of times your content—page, blog, tweet, ad, etc.—is displayed and potentially seen by users but without being necessarily clicked on. One impression equals one opportunity for a user to see your content.
As a digital PR metric, it provides a measure of your content’s reach. However, it shouldn’t be confused with reach as a metric. The reach metric indicates the total number of unique persons who viewed your content, whereas impressions measure the total number of times your content was served to an audience.
Keep in mind that not all impressions are equally relevant—impressions from a targeted group of potentially interested consumers interested in interacting with your brand or making purchases are much more significant than impressions obtained from users outside of your target demographic.
Therefore, while a high number of impressions suggests that your digital PR efforts are successfully increasing the visibility and reach of your content, the quality of these impressions ultimately determines the effectiveness of your PR campaigns. Considering this, impressions should not be looked at in isolation but should be analyzed together with other metrics—such as engagement and click-through rates—to gain a clear picture of your digital PR performance.
When measuring digital PRs, social shares is another metric that can’t be overlooked. It tracks the number of times your content is shared on social media platforms and serves as a telltale sign of how engaging and share-worthy your content is.
However, simply counting the number of shares is not enough. It’s also important to consider the context in which your content is being shared. For example, are people sharing your content because they agree or disagree with it? Or is it being shared along with positive, neutral, or negative comments? Understanding the reasons behind the shares can provide deeper insights into how your audience perceives your brand, thereby helping you tailor your PR strategy more effectively.
According to Semrush, some studies even demonstrate a correlation between social shares and search engine rankings, highlighting that high-quality content that gets a lot of social shares also tends to have good search engine rankings.
Engagement rate is a critical metric in digital PR that reflects the level of interaction users have with your content. It’s typically calculated as the total engagement (likes, shares, comments, etc.) divided by the total number of followers (or impressions/views), multiplied by 100 to give a percentage.
The engagement rate in digital PR is very important as it gives insights into multiple areas:
- Audience interest: A higher engagement rate directly indicates that your content is interesting and valuable to your audience. It shows that you’re not just reaching people, but also sparking their interest and encouraging interaction.
- Brand loyalty: Regular engagement with your content often signifies that users have a stronger connection to your brand. This loyalty can lead to higher conversion rates and customer retention.
Moreover, measuring the engagement rate is extremely beneficial as it can:
- Provide algorithm advantage. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook prioritize content with high engagement, showing it to more users. A high engagement rate can increase your visibility and reach.
- Serve as a real-time feedback mechanism. Negative feedback (like angry reactions or negative comments) can signal the need for strategy adjustments.
- Help you understand how your content performs in comparison to competitors. This can guide improvements and help set realistic performance targets.
Referral traffic illustrates the number of visitors who come to your website through direct links from other sites. This can be a testament to the strength and reputation of your brand online.
Referral traffic is an essential metric for any digital PR campaign. When your PR strategies make a substantial impact, your brand will be talked about extensively, and this conversation can lead to an increased number of people visiting your site from various platforms.
Here’s what to keep in mind:
- Volume of referral traffic: High volumes of referral traffic indicate that your content is engaging and widely shared, leading to higher visibility and credibility.
- Quality of referral traffic: Not all referral traffic may be beneficial. Analyze the behavior of these users, looking at metrics such as bounce rate and session duration. High-quality referral traffic will typically have lower bounce rates and longer session durations.
- Sources of referral traffic: This information can guide you towards the platforms that are working best for your brand. It can also indicate possible partnerships or influencer associations.
Remember, the goal of digital PR is not just about driving more traffic but about driving targeted, high-quality traffic that leads to conversions. So, closely tracking your referral traffic can offer valuable insights into the effectiveness of your PR efforts.
3 Types of Links to Track
When it comes to digital PR, tracking different types of links is essential. These include:
Built links are ones that you actively create by reaching out to other websites and requesting them to link to your content. This strategy, known as link building, is a core component of SEO but is also pivotal in digital PR.
Built links have significant importance in digital PR for several reasons:
- Authority and Trust: When reputable sites link to your content, it signals to search engines (and users) that your content is trustworthy and authoritative. This can boost your site’s search engine ranking, making it more visible to your target audience.
- Referral Traffic: Well-placed built links on sites that your target audience frequents can drive significant traffic to your site. This not only increases the exposure of your content but can also lead to increased conversions.
- Brand Visibility: Having your links on various websites improves your brand visibility and recognition. The more places your brand is mentioned, the more familiar it will become to your target audience.
- Relationship Building: The process of link building often involves reaching out to bloggers, journalists, or influencers in your industry. This can lead to valuable relationships that provide further PR opportunities down the line.
Organic links are natural links that other websites voluntarily give to your content or website. These links indicate that your content is valuable and worth referencing. These are invaluable in digital PR due to their ability to significantly boost your brand’s online reputation and visibility. Here’s why tracking organic links is integral to your PR strategy:
- Credibility and Trust: Organic links are perceived as genuine endorsements of your content, enhancing your credibility among users and search engines alike. They signal that your content is deemed valuable enough to be referenced, cementing your brand’s status as an authority in your industry.
- SEO Impact: Organic links are a major factor in search engine algorithms, contributing substantially to your SEO ranking. High-quality organic links can lead to improved visibility in search engine results, thereby attracting more potential customers to your site.
- Indicators of Success: The fact that other sources are linking to your content without any prompting indicates that your content is resonating with your audience and industry leaders, marking it as a successful aspect of your PR strategy.
- Audience Insights: Analyzing the sources of your organic links can provide rich insights into your audience. You can identify what type of content is most linked to, and which sites or platforms are most active, helping you understand where your audience is and what they find valuable.
Syndicated links are those generated when your content is republished or shared by other websites or platforms. These kinds of links are crucial to track in a digital PR strategy due to several reasons:
- Expanded Reach: Syndicated links can dramatically increase your content’s reach, introducing your brand to new audiences that you may not have reached otherwise. This means more potential customers becoming aware of your brand and what you offer.
- Brand Reputation: When your content is deemed valuable enough to be syndicated by other websites, it enhances your brand’s reputation. It demonstrates that your content is of such high quality and relevance that others want to share it with their audiences.
- SEO Benefits: Syndicated links can also contribute to improved search engine rankings. While duplicate content is often a concern with syndication, properly executed syndication strategies (including the use of canonical tags) can minimize this risk and amplify SEO benefits.
- Performance Metrics: Tracking syndicated links helps you assess which of your content is most compelling to other platforms or publications. This information can guide your future content creation strategy, ensuring you continue to produce high-performing content.
Benefits of Tracking PR Metrics
Monitoring digital PR metrics provides many benefits to organizations, such as:
- Performance Review: These metrics allow you to assess the success or failure of your PR initiatives against your objectives, enabling necessary tweaks or a strategy overhaul.
- Improved Decision-Making: Insight from metrics aids in crafting future strategies, allocating resources more efficiently, and making informed decisions.
- Resource Allocation: By understanding which PR strategies yield the best results, you can prioritize your efforts and resources better.
- Increased ROI: Effective tracking can lead to better campaign outcomes, boosting the return on investment.
- Competitor Analysis: Metrics can provide a comparative analysis, understanding where you stand relative to your competitors.
Digital PR Metrics Takeaways
Effective PR strategies hinge on continuous monitoring and analysis of key digital PR metrics that allow you to shape and refine your PR efforts. By embracing a data-driven approach, setting clear KPIs, and using metric insights, you can optimize your digital PR strategy, demonstrating tangible ROI and improving the overall brand’s performance.