Measuring the success of digital PR campaigns will depend on the objectives you had to begin with. Digital PR can be used to drive a number of different digital goals and metrics, if you tailor your approach and tactics in the right way.
1. Improving organic visibility
If you are using digital PR to improve organic visibility, it’s likely that your campaigns will be measured on links and ranking metrics. At a basic level, you may want to look at the number of links your campaign acquired compared to the coverage it received as a good indicator of the strength of your linkable asset. But number of links on their own should never be used as a indicator of how successful a campaign is. You should also be looking at the quality of links, and that’s not just talking about their domain authority. That means looking at how relevant they are to your brand, whether your target audience is active on those publishers, and whether those links were needed to close link gaps between you and your competitors. High authority links can have a powerful impact on your rankings and organic visibility, so you will likely also be tracking improvements in keyword performance. But to do this, your link acquisition needs to be strategic, relevant, and targeted to certain sections of the website. Scatter gun link acquisition will only deliver scattergun results.
2. Increasing reach, brand awareness, and virality
If you are using digital PR to drive reach and brand awareness, you should be measuring campaigns based on content consumption and distribution metrics. If you want to know how many people your campaign has reached, you may look at total combined readership of the publishers you have achieved coverage on. If you want to know if you’ve driven awareness of your brand, you may want to look at increases in brand searches over time. If you want to know you have engaged your target audience, you could look at traffic from demographic, referral traffic from source publishers, or traffic through links you have built. There are many metrics you could use, so it’s important to think about which metrics move the needle and align to your top-level business objectives.
3. Driving leads
Digital PR can also be used to increase leads, so you will want to measure the success of this type of campaign using lead gen and site metrics. It very much depends on what you class as a lead. It could be as simple as look at traffic driven to informational query-based content that shows that user is interested in potentially purchasing your product. You could also look at average time on page for this type of content. You might want to track click throughs to a particular product or service page, downloads of a document or sign ups to an event – whatever shows you have engaged your audience in some way.
4. Driving conversions
If you are looking to drive conversions, you will want to measure the success of your campaigns on sales and conversion metrics. You might look at conversions across your website overall, or sales of a particular product that your campaign focused on. You could look at transactions your campaign blog was responsible for (assisted conversions), or conversions where your campaign content was the final interaction (last known click). But conversions may not be monetary, so you could also look at any goal completions like newsletter sign ups. And if you want to look at how your PR campaign increased customer retention, you might look at repeat customers or newsletter click throughs.
Although digital PR campaigns are predominantly used for top of the funnel digital marketing such as driving brand awareness and improving visibility, they can be used to drive specific objectives at any stage of the conversion funnel. So it’s important to consider digital PR as a channel agnostic tactic that aligns holistically throughout your digital marketing strategy.