October 25, 2016

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

September #MeasurePR Twitter Chat: Measurement Month Key Takeaways

September #MeasurePR Twitter Chat: Measurement Month Key Takeaways

The #MeasurePR Twitter chat in September featured a panel of measurement specialists- for a full list of participants, see below- in recognition of AMEC’s Measurement Month. It was a fast-paced and lively discussion on many of the key issues facing brands and PR pros as they strive to adopt better measurement practices.

There were a couple of topic areas that attracted comment from a number of participants.

  • When asked about “measurement myths,” several participants mentioned the notion that software can produce insights with “the click of a button.” Variations on this theme included a comment about the myth that software can measure against objectives, and another that pointed out there are no “silver bullets.” Tackling this persistent myth—that software is a plausible substitute for the hard work of measurement—is something that PR pros have to address. Challenging this myth is made more difficult as many wish for a “single, easy metric” that can be universally applied.
  • The next question, about PR measurement failures, produced a long list of examples. That, in and of itself, is a key takeaway: measurement failures abound. This isn’t (or shouldn’t be) a sign of defeat. Failure, as we all know, is a way to learn. The list of issues included everything from clients not being clear on what their objectives are—or, when asked, provide the not-tremendously-helpful response of “well, you’re the expert, you tell me…”. Business objectives will vary, and it looks like PR pros will for the time being have to be prepared to ask the right questions of clients to tease that information out.
  • Other “failures” seem to fall under the header of “persistent myths: the client side.” Examples include continuing to ask for AVEs, the notion that impressions mean reach, and that capturing clips will automatically produce some kind of insight (other than sheer volume).
  • A large area of agreement was the topic of the need for human understanding rather than a simple reliance on software to produce insights. Across several questions, there were responses that continually reiterated the need to have people actually look at the data, analyze it, and then make the decisions to act. Comments like “a return to recognition that machines can’t replace human expertise” and “brain power is need[ed] past automated programs” served to drive home the point.
  • Similarly, there was agreement on the need to find the right “balance” between the technology and the human input/analysis and understanding—that neither alone will do the job well, and finding the right combination of the two will provide a path for understanding.
  • There was also consensus on the point that measurement and data collection aren’t the endpoint—interpretation and action based on understanding is. As one participant put it, “Link the data and tell the measurement story.”

The above points are just a small sample of the discussion. For a more detailed summary, check out Shonali Burke’s blog, Waxing Unlyrical, where you will also find a link to the full chat transcript.


  • Pierre-Loic Assayag: co-founder of the influencer marketing platform @Traackr
  • Richard Bagnall: CEO of @UKPrimeResearch
  • Johna Burke: Executive Vice President of @BurrellesLuce
  • Chip Griffin: North American CEO for @CARMA
  • Sahana Jayaraman: the head of digital & content marketing at @eastwickcom
  • AnnSi Krol: CEO and founding partner of @bybrickinsight
  • Barry Leggetter: CEO of AMEC
  • Mazen Nahawi: the founder and CEO of @CARMA and a former journalist and management consultant
  • Katie Paine: CEO of Paine Publishing and a pioneer in the field of #measurePR for 3 decades
  • Angela Sinickas: founder of Sinickas Communications, Inc. and has worked w/ clients in over 30 countries to help them measure the impact of communication on business results
  • Mark Weiner: CEO of @USPrimeResearch
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About The Author

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips is the founder of 4L Strategies, and has worked in communications and public affairs for just over 20 years. Her background includes work in politics, government, lobbying, public affairs PR work, content creation, and digital and social communications and media analysis.

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