February 2010 – For some time, communications teams have been measuring PR ROI through outputs, such as media coverage volume, coverage sentiment, and share of voice, rather than business outcomes. With the relatively recent developments in web analytics, organizations are now able to directly measure how prospects and customers find information that lead them to a brand’s web site or other digital assets -whether through search, paid media or earned media. As a result, it is becoming possible for organizations to identify which types of channel drive the most value across all media, not only paid media. This paper focuses on earned media, and provides a method that Context Analytics uses to tie traditional PR metrics to online business outcomes such as visits, registrations, downloads and, ultimately, sales. After a brief overview of web analytics technology, the paper provides two broad sets of analytic methodologies for communications. First are basic analytics designed to help PR professionals understand which general categories of online media are driving traffic and can also be used to generate ROI metrics. The second set of analytics involve advanced statistical methodologies and are designed to help PR professionals match specific messaging strategies to target audiences. Using the methodology provided within the paper, PR professionals can directly measure the business value of carefully targeted earned media opportunities in the same way that marketers have been able to for over a decade.
Using Web Analytics to Measure the Impact of Earned Online Media on Business Outcomes
A Methodological Approach
Research Manager, Context Analytics