Measuring PR Impact on Social Media

How Can PR Pros Monitor and Measure the Impact of Online Media: Blogs, Social Media and Buzz?

KDPaine_logoEstablishing the right metrics Metrics being used to measure the impact of campaigns using corporate blogs depends on the organization.


  • For corporate blogs, some are using the "conversation index," which is the ratio between postings and comments. Others are using a more complex combination of rankings, comments, links, trackbacks, time spent at the site and number of visitors.
  • External blogs are being measured by the percentage of key corporate messages they contain, what percentage of these messages are positive or negative, and the shape of positioning on desired issues.
  • On YouTube, communicators are looking at the degree to which their own content is being picked up, as well as the tone of other videos about them.
  • On FaceBook, pros look at the types of conversations in which their brands are mentioned, and the number of friends and groups that their brand is involved in.
  • On Twitter, they are keeping track of their brand via TweetScan and they are monitoring via their own Twitter accounts about them.
  • Word-of-mouth – or digital buzz – is being tracked by what people are saying anywhere they can using products like Radian 6 and IceRocket.
  • Interaction (on conversations) with corporate customers are being monitored with regard to exchanges, positive or negative trends, watching for emerging problems, counting the conversations, and looking at the percentage of positive and negative comments
  • With regard to search engine optimization of press releases, Paine explains effective measurement involves looking at the amount of pickup, as well as creating unique URLs to track the actions people are taking.

Once these online media types have been measured, "what you do not want to do is equate it to advertising or traditional media. You need to define the purpose and goals of the social media program first, and then measure accordingly. So if you are doing it to improve customer service, you need to measure improvement in customer satisfaction. If you start an internal blog to improve employee morale, you need to measure retention, turnover and employee engagement. If you start an external blog to measure engagement with customers or constituencies, you need to conduct a relationship survey to determine whether or not you have changed or improved the relationship."

A growing percentage of consumer behavior is being shaped by what they see in search results. And, according to Bell, social media or word-of mouth needs to be compared to empower marketing communications executives to make budget decisions. As a result, "We use a custom model each time to establish value – it’s accurate, but painstaking."

pdf_icon Download the electronic version of Measurement 101.

powerpoint Download the electronic version of Digital Media measurement for PR.


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