With the increasing recognition of the strategic value of communications in the boardroom and the demands for budget justification being linked to business impact, measurement has never been as important as it is today. Measuring public relations does two main things. Firstly, it facilitates and supports business objectives, which then supports the business or performance goes making it strategic. And secondly, it enables PR practitioners to show that they have achieved what they set out to do, therefore demonstrating accountability.
We have gone from traditional ‘paid’ media, media relations, journalists, press clippings to digital media, social media, mobile, bloggers, and influencers. In the past, there was control over the message and who distributed it, but that is no longer the case. PR has evolved in the past decade, and so, the ways of measuring PR’s value, effectiveness and budgeting have also advanced. Historically, Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs) were the standard method to conduct public relation measurements. More recently, newer, and more efficient technologies have emerged to make the process a lot more comprehensive. Though AVEs are still used, they are a lot less common and viewed as too simplistic.
So why should you partake in public relation measurement? Firstly, it proves value to your client, your manager, and your board. Secondly, because there is a share of the budget with you and your clients. Thirdly, because you’re making deliveries that should be parallel to your objectives. Lastly, so that you are able to learn and improve from all that you learn
The new Barcelona Principles has been created to make it easier and more efficient for PR practitioners to get measurements for their work. this would allow them to advance and create personalized solutions for any problems that have arisen or might arise. There are ten ‘golden’ rules as per Ketchum Global Research and Analytics that are considered the ultimate guide to public relations measurement.
- quality & quantity
- Understand the same principles apply to traditional and social media
- Collect media data in a manner usable for market mix modeling
- Realize that communications experts are not necessarily measurement experts.
- Do not use AVE as the value of PR
- Add PR questions to tracking surveys to easily capture outcomes
- Use measurement to track progress and design programs better
- Recognize that analytics is the future of PR measurement – ROI is the answer
- Make sure all measurement is transparent
Public Relations is a complex field as it used for various different purposes and connects with a number of audiences. These rules, along with some principals, allow PR personnel to reach a consensus on what works and what doesn’t. It allows them to look critically at their media and what they offer customers, so that they are able to cut and add pieces where they feel is best.
This set of rules has allowed a development of measurement tools for clients to provide more in depth reporting from media results to financial ROI.