What Impact Means in PR Measurement
Amy Wright, measurement veteran and Account Director at Media Measurement, recently spoke on a Signal AI webinar to provide insight into what impact really means in PR measurement.
Amy drew on her wealth of experience in the PR & Communications Measurement Industry across multiple markets and industries to explore the challenges surrounding PR measurement and provide 5 steps to meaningful measurement.
You can listen to the full webinar here: What Does Impact Really Mean in PR Measurement
Each sector and industry faces its own specific challenges with regards to measurement. From usage of ‘black box’ metrics to a ‘one size fits all’ mentality to gaining that all important credibility from the C-Suite, it can feel like an uphill struggle.
There are, however, some great opportunities in the measurement space – and we always like to focus on the opportunities!
Organisations can now have a measurement model that takes in multiple data sources to provide a better, more in-depth view of attribution and the value of activities – this is especially important today as more and more audience data is shared via digital platforms.
We now see a wealth of new technologies that organisations can take advantage of (such as AI which the Signal platform makes excellent us of) and has significantly increased the value of raw data.
And finally, if the measurement model is right for the organisation, it can provide insights beyond PR and be utilised across the business to boost overall performance and position its value.
The 5 Steps to Meaningful Measurement
From our 25+ years of experience in the industry, we have identified 5 steps organisations should take to implement meaningful measurement:
The first thing is to understand what is meant by “impact”. Unfortunately, there is no magic number, and certainly not one with a currency symbol in front of it.
Impact can mean very different things, even between organisations in the same industry. There are some specific impact measures later in the blog, but the first step for any organisation when they move towards a meaningful measurement programme is to understand what success looks like for that specific organisation.
Break it down by asking these questions: What are the overarching business outcomes that your company is working towards? How does the work that your department do feed into that strategy? Go into as much detail as possible when mapping this out to ensure accuracy of the measurement programme. This may seem basic, but it is essential.
Once you have drawn your success map, the next step is to decide what your measures of success will be. Ensure you have SMART metrics, and that you are measuring what truly matters to your organisation.
DATA: A STRONG FOUNDATION
Great research starts with great data. This is an area where AI is doing a great job of creating a clean news content set to ensure that the data used provides measurement with a solid foundation.
But with an ever-growing array of data sources, and big data getting bigger every day, it can be really difficult to separate the signal from the noise. More and more, it’s essential that organisations work with a partner who can provide a broader, more cohesive view across a range of data sets, drawn from different sources in different formats.
When the data foundation is solid, the more valuable the insights and recommendations that will help PR departments improve their performance and understand the broader context of their industry and competitors.
The 3rdpoint is the importance of human input into the research process. AI-driven platforms do a great job of creating a clean content set without human intervention, and automating processes that were previously time-intensive. This has freed up time for human analysts to add context to the data, weaving the narrative that will provide intelligence on what the data means.
There are any number of human-led research techniques that can add value to data; qualitative analysis, in-depth content analysis, tone and sentiment tracking – not limited to just a score of positive, negative or neutral, but analysing the emotional language used to understand what reaction is likely from the reader.
KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
Selecting a solid set of key performance indicators is essential to building a strong measurement programme. By blending together automated metrics and human analysis, it is possible to move away from isolated metrics towards true insight. Using a pre-defined set of KPIs provides a way to track progress over time and demonstrates what’s going well and the focus area for improvement. Metrics that you could use include the likes of: Key message penetration; call to action messages; influencer scores; social media amplification and more.
Using a set of metrics, as we saw for UNICEF earlier, gives a really clear picture of where you are doing
Finally, measurement shouldn’t be 100% about looking backwards to measure value, as that’s only part of the picture. The trick, if you can do it, is to look forwards, using up-to-the minute data, delivered with a layer of insight on top.
A great example of where our analysts have done this is live research on whether market audiences have shown a peak in interest in any particular protracted crisis and if this represents a fundraising opportunity. The intelligence provided has driven decision making on campaign activation and helped boost fundraising levels.
Thistype of horizon scanning combines the fast response of automated data, which is delivered via a custom built dashboard, and the insight of human analysis, to make sense of the data.
So, in conclusion:
- Decide what impact means for your organisation
- Map out the metrics that will help you to measure that impact
- Set up a measurement programme that will help you understand how you perform against KPIs
- Use a blend of automated/human analysis
- Avoid isolated metrics
- Look forward
We work extensively with clients to help them create and run their measurement programmes, guiding them through mapping out their objectives and how to measure them, formulating a bespoke measurement framework and providing reporting using the framework. To discuss how we can help you, contact our consultants on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Measurement is a leading digital research consultancy. We breathe life into data, telling meaningful stories that inspire fresh thinking. Today’s global digital village holds billions of conversations connecting people, ideas and opinions – this revolution is a force for good.
We work with organisations who have a positive mission. Who dare to challenge the status quo. Who recognise the opportunities hidden in digital data so they can act – when and where it matters.
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