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The Art and Science of PR Measurement, Part 2

This post was first published by Kacey Albertine on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.

PR measurement is an art and science that even many of the brightest minds in the industry haven’t quite figured out yet, and certainly not perfected. Earlier this month, the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC), the UK Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) and the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) came together to release a powerful guide on PR measurement.

Since March prides itself on “taking the guesswork out of PR”, the March Insights team has delved into the guide to help hone our own tactics and processes for both measurement and research. Below is Part Two of a two-part series where Kacey Albertine provides her thoughts on a few of the key points in the guide, and some thoughts on where they can be further refined or improved. And if you missed Part One where Nate Hubbell offered his insights, take a look here.

On Clip-Counting and Impressions

From the AMEC guide: Clips and impressions alone are meaningless.

Kacey’s Take: “Meaningless” is bit harsh, though these metrics barely scratch the surface on measurement. For example, impressions, while necessary, don’t tell where on the scale of apathy to loyalty someone feels when exposed to your brand or product. In fact, they don’t tell whether or not the person even looked at the content relevant to you! Regardless, we still need to report them — but not as standalone metrics.

On AVEs

AMEC: AVE (advertising value equivalency) does not relate to PR and should not be used to measure campaigns.

Kacey’s Take: Advertising is not PR, so trying to measure PR using an ad metric just doesn’t make sense! In PR, articles are subject to the editorial process and thus, some may be more positive than others. It is a risk companies are willing to take when they use PR tactics because homerun pick-ups are extraordinarily valuable. Basically, PR is designed to actually impact the way customers and other stakeholders think and what they do, and it should be measured as such.

On Using Primary Research to Start

AMEC: Start a campaign with qualitative research of the consumer — for B2B, accompany a sales rep for a day, for example.

Kacey: Not all customers are equal, and primary research uncovers their nuances. For example, I conducted in-depth interviews with insurance brokers on behalf of an insurance company. What we found was surprising: for various reasons, brokers selling to small businesses were leaving the profession. This was alarming to this client in particular, who had been successfully investing in marketing to this group for many years. Without the in-depth qualitative questioning, this important fact may otherwise not have been uncovered to the same degree.

On Using Primary Research to End

AMEC: Use primary research as well to calculate items such as “Net Promoter Score” (NPS®).

Kacey: Primary research plays a key role in the leap from output to outcomes. For example, it is required for calculating a NPS. On a regular basis one could measure a sample of the customer base by asking on a scale how likely they would recommend the brand or product. They would use this scale to determine “promoters” and “detractors” and calculate a final NPS from that. This metric works best not alone, but with a handful of other outcome-based metrics such as tone and message penetration.

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