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How do you measure PR ROI and prove it to the board?

By David Beesley

There is a long debate of how to measure PR ROI and how to prove value to your immediate manager or the board of Directors. Thankfully – PR measurement has evolved massively over the past 10 years or so, to the point where data-driven campaigns that use hard metrics have replaced the somewhat ‘debatable’ KPIs and AVEs.

“How do I measure PR ROI that I can show to my boss?” is still one of the key questions we get asked in the early stages of engagement. And honestly, I’ll admit that in the past I have been guilty of going into excruciating detail about a KPI system and how each single point equals a monetary value which is calculated by coverage grades i.e. size, publication, vertical, brand messages etc.

And if the client is just interested in appearing in their favourite well known publication then I will still argue that there is a small place for this method when it comes to tracking impact. When monitored tightly this method can prove that the campaign is on track, accurate and can be linked back to an overall objective of raising brand awareness/ appearing in key titles.

But does it provide a quantifiable return on investment? No.

To get pounds and pence value, you must be able to measure PR ROI that has an impact on creating new business opportunities. This is where the use and understanding of analytics comes into its own and where PR crosses the chasm into lead generation.


Agree your goals and track them over time

Inbound PR campaigns will drive more traffic to your website, so before hitting ‘go live’ on a campaign make sure you draw a line in the sand and set your starting point. Even better – dedicate parts of your website to the Inbound PR campaign so that the impact can be seen and measured more closely.

Set your goals – a rise in new website sessions, referral traffic from targeted websites, increased social traffic, contacts generated – and then stick to them. Too often the goals are moved as the business’ priorities shift. I’m all for being flexible in a campaign, but impact does take time to take effect, so let the campaign run for 90 days, assess, then make informed decisions as to where improvements and changes can be made.

Creating and executing Inbound PR campaigns has meant that the role of PR professionals has had to adapt and become more analytical. If getting stuck into Google Analytics isn’t your idea of a good time, don’t fret! No doubt there is an analyst in your organisation who can help. Plug this person into your campaign – quiz them on what can be measured to prove impact and then track it over time.


Where to start?

Choosing your website analytics software provider is entirely down to your own preference – we use Google (of course) and then couple that with HubSpot to measure the impact of our own campaigns. Regardless of which analytics platform you use, here is a recommendation of what you can monitor to measure PR ROI and prove the value of an Inbound PR campaign. In no particular order…

  • The number of Inbound links generated
  • Referrals from social and organic traffic
  • Number of website sessions
  • Number of new website sessions
  • Social media interactions / conversions
  • Landing page performance – views and engagement
  • Number of articles generated and the domain authority of targeted publications


If data analysis and lead generation sound like a far cry from the PR you’re familiar with, then that is because PR has evolved – certainly in the world of B2B PR. But this evolution keeps the core principles of PR at its centre. As Iliyana Stareva says, “Inbound PR combines the best of two worlds (Public Relations and Inbound Marketing) and alleviates PR's biggest weakness (measurement) and Inbound's biggest challenge (content).”

If you’re getting to grips with measuring PR, then we go into more detail on how to measure PR ROI here, or you can book a free consultation with a member of our team by clicking the button below.


Tags: Inbound PR