Measurements for PR ROI

Measurements for PR ROI

“The only true measure of success is the amount of joy we are feeling.”
– Esther Hicks


If only measuring the return on investment when it comes to public relations measurement was this simple.
In today’s fiercely competitive world of marketing communications, agencies need to demonstrate their value to clients as much as brands have to demonstrate their uniqueness to consumers.

According to PR Week – A progress report presented at the fourth European Summit on Measurement in Dublin recommended that “ROI should be strictly limited to measurable financial impact measurement.”


With this said – How does one measure success and impact in an industry based on perceptions, reputation and awareness?
In the past, the value of PR was often compared to advertising – many agencies used AVEs (advertising value equivalents) to measure marketing efforts. Since then, PR has shifted in both measurement and evaluation.
Macnamara states that applying “interpretive” qualitative research, is a better way to measure PR outcomes.


If we are looking to measure the influence of behaviour (loyalty, opinion, trust) driven by PR and marketing – then we must also align our tools of measurement to reflect the science behind our art.
The Barcelona Principles are a key example of this evolution.
The updated Principles recognise that the use of qualitative methods (along with quantitative) are both equally important measurement tools.
In addition to highlighting the importance of goal setting and measurement – they also remind practitioners that to be truly objective, we need focus on measuring performance.


Below we have highlighted the key ways in which PR success can be measured:

1. Branding

Brand recall, key message alignment, frequency of positive messages, accuracy of facts, brand association and differentiation, unique positioning.

2. Digital marketing and social media

Audience reach, impressions, retweets, linkbacks, click-through, quantity of followers, quality and relevance of followers, social media engagement, momentum and growth rate, sentiment and tone of online content, net likes and unlikes, brand mentions.

3. Media relations

Quantity of press coverage, quality and relevance of press coverage, circulation & readership of press coverage, journalist meetings and strategic introductions, sentiment and tone of press coverage, increase in brand enquiries and conversion, key message tracking.

4. Event management

Quantity of confirmed guests, quality of confirmed guests, guest experience, quality of leads generated, quantity of leads generated, conversion of leads generated.

Final thoughts

Measuring impact is key to ensuring the execution of campaigns is adequately fine tuned and the results are fully communicated.