PR, if done correctly, has always been great for businesses. It helps brands stay visible and shape audience perception according to their needs.

💡 Read Digital PR Explained: Best Strategies and Tools

However, creating the perception you want isn’t always straightforward. And that’s where the difference between good and bad PR comes in. Good PR shapes audience impressions and communicates messages effectively.

The question now is, what contributes to a successful PR campaign? Setting clear objectives is one part of it. The other ensures goals are based on key metrics to keep campaigns on track for success.

Let’s learn more about it. 

Why Focus on Your PR Campaign Metrics

It’s simple–if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. 

The right PR campaign metrics can serve as your roadmap toward your goal. It highlights where to focus and adjust to engage your audience or even guides strategy changes.

And with PR, as with any other marketing initiative, you always want to evolve and improve what you’re doing. We do this to capture the audience’s attention and keep them engaged. This helps turn them into loyal, repeat customers. 

Simon Bacher, CEO of the Ling App relies on PR to help boost brand visibility and expounds on this further. “The messaging of our entire PR efforts was hinged on what our customers were using our app for. Initially, we were simply trying to push out feature after feature, thinking that’s what our customers wanted. If we didn’t analyze user intention and ignored data, we would still be doing this instead of refining and focusing our efforts on user experience.

Any PR campaign will require a lot of time, money, and effort. Wouldn’t you want to make sure that these resources are maximized by arming yourself with the right data? 

Read PR Measurement: What Is the Right Way to Prove PR Effectiveness?

10 Essential PR Campaign Metrics for Success

Let’s talk about 10 key PR campaign metrics and how they contribute to the success of PR initiatives. 

1. Media Impressions and Reach

Impressions and reach are one of the most important PR campaign metrics
The difference between reach & impressions; source

Media impressions and reach are two important metrics in public relations (PR). They help quantify the extent of exposure and potential audience engagement a PR campaign has achieved through various media channels.

Media impressions count how often your PR content appears in media, clicked or not. Higher impressions indicate that the content was widely distributed and seen by many.

Reach is more specific and measures the number of unique individuals who saw your content during a specific time period. It’s a useful metric that helps us understand how the campaign was distributed. Unlike impressions, if a reader views your content several times, it will still be only counted once. 

Understanding both metrics in the context of each other gives you a clear idea of how much exposure your campaign is getting and how engaging your material is. For example, high impressions but low reach could mean that your content is being shown frequently but is not attracting new viewers. This can help you tweak your content to ensure better engagement moving forward. 

“It can be quite confusing to track both manually, so we rely on tools that can provide comprehensive analytics to quantify our campaign’s exposure. We closely monitor these indicators so we can adapt our strategies in real-time and steer our efforts toward the direction where we can get the most ROI,” explains DesignRush Managing Director, Gianluca Ferrugia. 

2. Influencer Engagement and Impact

Influencer Engagement and Impact are becoming an important metric for PR professionals as they increasingly rely on influencers to reach wider and more targeted audiences. This metric assesses influencer partnerships by analyzing engagement like likes, comments, shares, and reach.

Understanding the impact of influencers is essential for determining the return on investment of influencer marketing strategies and that is where media monitoring tools come in. A successful influencer partnership can significantly amplify your brand’s message. Not only that, but also extend your reach to new audience segments, and enhance credibility through association.

Analyzing influencer engagement offers insights into audience preferences, helping brands refine their messaging. This metric measures the immediate effects of influencer collaborations and informs longer-term PR and marketing initiatives. This way brands remain relevant and engaging despite trends. 

3. Share of Voice (SoV)

Share of Voice (SOV) measures a brand’s visibility compared to competitors in a specific market or media channel. It’s valuable in PR campaigns as it indicates the brand’s presence and influence, helping assess campaign effectiveness and competitive positioning.

SOV data lets you monitor your brand’s reputation and compare it to competitors. It also lets you understand consumer opinions and preferences, identifying why people choose your brand or your competition. 

Here’s an example presented by the Co-founder of e-commerce brand Tumble, Zach Dannet: 

“Let’s say I want to understand how my brand stacks up against a major competitor. Share of Voice analytics can gather data across all our online real estate–blogs, social media, news outlets–over a given amount of time to determine our market position. In our most recent analysis, we discovered that Tumble holds a significant share of voice overall, but our competition ranks higher in online discussions related to interior design. This tells us that we should push more organic conversations in our sector to boost visibility.” 

Share of Voice is an important PR campaign metric that can benchmark different competitors’ positions in the market.

Some major types of Share of Voice (SOV) to include in your campaign measurement strategy are:

  • Social media share of voice
  • PPC share of voice
  • SEO share of voice
  • Media share of voice

To increase SOV, it is not only important to post content and remain active on social media, but also, you need to push conversations. Some of the effective ways to do it are via:

  • Posting share-worthy content
  • Engaging with your audience in the comments section
  • Creating social media polls and asking them questions
  • Working on your SEO.

Understanding your brand’s SOV helps in identifying its position in the market relative to your competitors. A higher SOV indicates stronger visibility and potentially a leadership position, which can be a significant competitive advantage. It could also imply higher brand awareness among your target audience and as such can provide great insight into public perception, allowing you to highlight areas for improvement in brand image and messaging. 

4. Sentiment analysis 

Sentiment analysis helps brands identify, assess, and categorize opinions expressed in written content about a brand, product, or service. 

Today, we can use natural language processing (NLP), text analysis, and computational linguistics to automatically scan and evaluate the sentiment of textual content. For example, Determ’s advanced algorithms and models are trained to interpret language nuances like slang and irony accurately.  Sentiment analysis outputs can be scored on a positive-negative scale or classified as positive, neutral, or negative.


Natural language processing as part of sentiment analysis, one of PR campaign metrics
Natural Language Processing (NLP); Source

The real value of sentiment analysis comes from the real-time insight it delivers, which helps gauge a brand’s current standing in the public eye. With this insight, you essentially get a baseline understanding of how your target audience perceives you, allowing you to tailor your communication and make more strategic decisions regarding your brand. 

Additionally, sentiment analysis is crucial for managing crises. This specific PR campaign metric lets you monitor sentiment trends, so you can quickly identify negative shifts in public perception, potentially signaling a brewing crisis. This allows for swift action to address issues, mitigate damage, or completely avert crises before they escalate.

5. Referral sources

Referral sources refer to the origins or channels through which visitors find and access your content, including news articles, press releases, blog posts, or social media content related to your brand or campaign. 

Analyzing referral sources helps PR teams identify top channels for traffic and engagement, guiding

This is especially useful for budget allocation. Realistically, PR campaigns will have to work around a specific budget and it’s important to know what platforms are driving the highest return so that you can concentrate your resources on them and make the most out of your PR budget. 

6. Social media engagement metrics

62.3% of the world’s population uses social media so it’s obvious just how much impact social media data can have on the performance of your campaigns. To that end, assessing how actively individuals interact with a brand’s content on social media platforms can give insight into the level of interest and interaction that social media users have with your campaign. 

What’s great about social media engagement metrics is that it offers direct feedback from the audience. We get tangible evidence of how audiences interact with our content, providing insights into the effectiveness of our messaging and PR strategies. Metrics like comments, shares, and follower growth all highlight which content resonates most with our target audience, allowing us to tailor our approach and optimize future content for better audience engagement.

Best Social Media Platforms for Marketers’ Success in 2023

Further read: 5 Tips To Enhance Your Social Media Presence 

7. Crisis response time and change of perception

Crisis response time and change of perception gauge how fast and effectively a brand responds to a crisis and shifts public perception positively post-crisis. 

Typically, a fast and well-crafted response can mitigate potential damage, preserve or even enhance brand reputation, and maintain stakeholder trust. Effectiveness is measured in the time taken to address the crisis and analyzing changes in public perception before and after the response allows organizations to evaluate the effectiveness of their crisis management strategies. 

Tools that feature real-time alerts are invaluable in these cases as it provides instant notifications whenever your brand is mentioned across a wide range of media outlets so you can actively monitor a situation as it unfolds. Remember, the quicker you’re aware of a potential crisis, the faster you can respond; and the more information you have on what is being said about you, the more informed your messaging can be. 

Moreover, a sentiment analysis tool will let you dive into the public’s perception of your brand, before, during and after a crisis. You can track how sentiments are changing over time and get a clear picture of how you can best tailor response strategies based on how the public perceives you. 

Understanding this metric also ensures that future responses are more finely tuned and resonant to audience values and beliefs, ultimately leading to a quicker recovery of brand image and a stronger, more resilient relationship with the public. 

8. Website traffic analytics

Website traffic analytics in PR involves analyzing data related to the volume, sources, and behavior of visitors to an organization’s website to gauge the impact of PR activities. This includes PR campaign metrics such as the number of visitors, source of traffic (e.g., direct, referral, social media), time spent on the site, and the performance of specific landing pages.

Let’s take SeoProfy as an example:

“During a recent campaign, we noticed a significant uptick in traffic coming from a series of blog posts we had somewhat underestimated. Initially, our focus was to boost ad spend behind our social media efforts and paid advertising. Data however showed us that we were directing our resources toward the wrong traffic source. We discovered that these blog posts were not just drawing in substantial traffic but were also engaging users longer than content from other sources. It would make more sense therefore to redirect our budgets towards our blogs.” 

Share of global mobile website traffic
Percentage of mobile device website traffic worldwide. 

Speaking of traffic sources, pay special attention to mobile visitors. More than 50% of web traffic worldwide comes from mobile users, underscoring the need for mobile optimization. 

💡Pro-tip for optimizing mobile sites: 

Since mobile websites are usually slower than desktop websites, it’s a good idea to load certain scripts only on the desktop version of your website, and not on the mobile version. As a rule of thumb, I would say use the lowest amount of scripts or fancy effects as possible on your website, whether it’s the mobile or the desktop version.

9. Media placement quality

Media placement quality is one of the PR campaign metrics that assesses the relevance, authority, and audience alignment of the outlets where a brand’s content or mentions appear. High-quality media placements in reputable and well-aligned publications or platforms can significantly amplify a brand’s message, enhance its credibility, and reach the intended audience effectively. 

PR efforts maximize its value by ensuring that campaigns are not just achieving visibility, but are doing so in contexts that positively impact brand perception and authority. Quality placements in respected outlets can lead to a more engaged audience, stronger brand recognition, and ultimately, a more substantial influence on the target market’s perceptions and decisions. 

The number of backlinks—links from external websites leading to your website—is an important PR metric that reflects the extent to which content is recognized, shared, and valued across the internet. 

High-quality backlinks enhance your brand’s search engine optimization (SEO), thereby improving the visibility and credibility of your online presence. The key here is to focus on getting high-quality backlinks from reputable sources. This signals to search engines that the content is authoritative and valuable, which could help boost the website’s ranking in search results. Consequently, a higher number of backlinks can lead to increased brand awareness, audience reach, and engagement. 

Read: PR Statistics 2024: Trends and Challenges in PR

There Is Not Only One Most Important PR Campaign Metric

PR campaign metrics provide insights into the effectiveness of PR strategies and their impact on brand perception, audience engagement, and market positioning. From media impressions and reach, which highlight the extent of campaign exposure, to the understanding provided by sentiment analysis and the strategic value of media placement quality, these metrics collectively offer a comprehensive view of a campaign’s performance that could significantly impact the outcomes of your efforts.

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