Metrics no PR dashboard should be without


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PR departments face some unique challenges. While Content Marketers, Digital Analysts and eCommerce Managers work primarily across Owned and Paid channels, PR teams are responsible for Earned media. Don’t get me wrong – these aforementioned groups also take on the difficult task of delivering relevant and impactful messages to their target audiences to promote awareness, conversion and loyalty, and have to react to an ever-changing market and ecosystem. PR departments, and also Social Media Marketers, however, must attempt to influence the conversations being had by many individuals and cope with factors far beyond their control.

This post will act as a guide for those marketers dealing with Earned media and suggest some relevant tactical metrics, strategic indicators and visualizations for an insightful dashboard. PR spans both the digital and offline world, but we will focus primarily on digital performance management in this article.

As Social Media Marketers also deal with Earned Media, some vital measures will also be discussed for them throughout this post.

First and foremost, your Owned Media dashboard should be goal-driven.

So what are some of the top PR and Social Media goals?

  • Reach: amplify audience and brand message
  • Awareness: cultivate positive brand awareness and purchase intent
  • Engagement: establish relationships with influencers to increase referrals
  • Conversion: increase conversions and revenue
  • Loyalty: strengthen brand loyalty and retention, and create brand advocates

Let’s dive in and look at some common tactical metrics that PR Managers can use to monitor and improve their performance.


A crucial part of any PR team’s work is to ensure that their brand is being validated through external referrals or recommendations in places where their target audiences reside. In order to effectively do so, they must understand the channels in which their audience is present, and how they can best maintain the integrity of their message while ensuring it appeals to their audience. Therefore, they may consider adding the following metrics to their dashboard:

  •  Target audience presence by device/location/channel (referrals or social vs. direct, organic)/publication/source/website/social network/content type
  • Level of target audience activity by device/location/channel (referrals or social vs. direct, organic)/publication/source/website/social network/content type

To understand how their message is reaching audiences, the metrics below could be helpful:

  • Volume of Brand Mentions: Unique URLs, Number of links, Quantity of mentions
  • Quality of Brand Mentions: Authority of source or domain, placement, prominence or dominance of placement/mention, quality and credibility of placements/content containing brand mentions, relevance of placements, search ranking of PR pieces, traffic of external sites, links to coverage pieces, tone of mentions, inclusion of a recommendation or endorsement
  • Reach of Brand Mentions: organic impressions, views, organic reach, targeted reach, visits, views, fans, followers, subscribers, new audience, new sessions, audience growth, unique visitors, page views, amplification or virality
  • Quality of Reach: traffic quality (based on scoring system), target audience vs non-target audience views, quality of sites linking to PR mentions


Awareness is absolutely key for PR teams. It’s not enough for messages to simply reach a large audience, they have to make sure that people ‘get it’ too! It would be a waste of time if the audience in question views the message but then the intended Brand recognition, Trust, Consideration or purchase intent isn’t impacted because that message isn’t retained. How about some of the metrics listed here in order to understand levels of Awareness?

  • Message comprehension, associations and recollection
  • Leads, traffic, new signups & Lead quality (based on scoring system)
  • Purchase intent or consideration
  • Brand Recognition
  • Keyword searches & time on site


Understanding the extent to which both PR mentions, and our brand in general are generating online engagement is key to increasing it and improving our chances of conversion. The metrics below can shed some light on the number of conversations and their quality, as well as other forms of engagement to highlight who our top influencers are:

  • Share of Conversation; volume, frequency, prominence and dominance of conversations
  • Quality of conversations: tone, intensity of opinions, favorability, sentiment, sentiment ratio, trust
  • Social activity: likes, followers, shares, DMs, retweets, replies, wall posts, comments, clicks, downloads, hashtag use, referrals
  • Interaction: Audience interactions, target audience interactions or Interaction Rate
  • Virality, Volume & frequency of conversation
  • Influence/Impact of mentioners: Journalist inquiries, spokesperson impact, endorsements, brand mentions vs. brand message echoes, most active/influential/followed influencers

Conversion & Impact

Your tactical PR dashboard might also include some of these outcome metrics:

  • Revenue from referral traffic or prospects influenced by PR, ROI of PR efforts,
  • Conversions: conversion rate, CTR, microconversions (downloads, webinar attendees, lead form, contact form)
  • Costs: PR costs and CPL


It’s also important to consider the value of those customers who have converted as a direct result of your PR efforts:

  • Customer loyalty: retention, retention rate of PR leads
  • Customer Value: Lifetime Customer value
  • Customer advocacy: recommendations, ratings, reviews

Reporting on PR to your CMO

While your CMO will not fail to understand the value of PR within the marketing mix, they will want to understand your performance and how you compare to other key divisions of Marketing. Therefore, they will most likely be interested in a snapshot of the value PR brings to your Brand, Reputation and Market Share.

The radar will most likely be directed at revenue figures and cost outcomes so it’s probably a good idea to provide data which is firmly focussed on this so that it immediately talks to them. Additionally, creating compound metrics to show your progress towards key objectives, that feed into their own goals, will also add incredible value to their dashboard.

PR Quality Score

Creating a single compound metric combining quantitative and qualitative information on PR mentions and online conversations around your brand can allow your CMO to easily evaluate your team’s performance over time. This Quality Score should not only include mention volume data, but also take into consideration the quality of any brand mentions. Afterall, there is a huge difference between a mention and a glowing recommendation, or a mention and an echo of your brand message, or a mention from an obscure and irrelevant source compared to a well-respected, highly accessed media source.

Additionally, it should give significance to targeted reach in order to show your executives not only how many people are seeing your brand mentions, but if they are your target audience.

PR Message Impact

Your CMO, while being happy to understand the quality of those mentions you have received online, will always have an eye towards the bottom on the conversion funnel. Therefore, they will likely request information on the actual impact on awareness of your PR. Creating a compound metric that takes into account leads, purchase intent or consideration resulting as an impact of PR will help them to understand your impact on acquisition.

Additionally, understanding the impact PR has on Brand Recognition, message comprehension, associations and recollection will enable your executives to view how successful you have been in pushing out your message through your PR efforts.


How Engaged are PR leads or clients compared to those coming in via other channels? Is your investment in PR as effective as that in other marketing initiatives? These are key questions your CMO may want to see answered on your PR dashboard. By all means, benchmark your results against other departments but also make sure your Engagement KPI is reflective of your goals.

Outcome KPIs

Your CMO will always want to quantify the results of your efforts in terms of money. Adding Revenue, ROI and Cost per PR Lead to your dashboard will add value to this dashboard and enable your CMO to compare PR effectiveness to other areas.

Your Executives will most likely understand the value of using a mix of marketing channels above and beyond the unique impact of each individually. They will, however, need to justify the investment made in each channel separately and how well it is performing compared to others.

Adding a PR Customer Value KPI could provide further information on not only the single-conversion value of each customer, but also their Lifetime Customer Value, depending on what your executives would prefer to see.


Quality of Conversation chart

Visualizing Quality of Conversation over time, especially where you are able to compare this to specific events on a timeline will allow you to understand how impactful your efforts have been. We should be trying to increase both Share of Conversation and Quality of Conversation to ensure our brand message is understood and increase acquisition.

Impact by PR Initiative chart

Comparing Social Shares, Target Audience Reach and PR Mention Quality by PR Initiative on one chart can give great insight into which are proving to be most effective. In the chart above we can see that generally there is a correlation between PR Mention Quality and Target Audience Reach, but a weaker link between these and Social Shares. This is positive on one hand as it seems that those Media outlets that are sending out the highest quality messages are where your target audience resides. This company doesn’t however, seem to have been very successful in promoting sharing. The PR Mention Quality Score KPI may be a compound metric rating the quality of the source the mention resides in and also the extent to which the mention echoes brand message.

Outcomes by Initiative Type chart

Visualizing ROI and Customer Lifetime Value by PR Initiative Type can help you to better invest your time in the actions that best produce results. Working to a strict budget? Look for those activities that earn the greatest ROI. If you are looking to create a strategy of long term success, Lifetime Customer Value may be of greater interest to your CMO.

Do you have the above metrics and visualizations on your PR dashboard? We would love to hear your ideas!

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Megan Wilcock

VP of Business Development for Sweetspot. Responsible for strategic brand development, marketing and business development. BA/BComm graduate from the University of Melbourne. My passion lies in finding creative solutions and encouraging collaboration.

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