Drafting PR strategies is exciting; you have the opportunity to forge new relationships with broader audiences and spread awareness about your business or client. To ensure your PR tactics are succeeding in all the right ways, utilize Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness and outcomes of PR efforts.
Measure the Strength of PR Relationships
Google Analytics functions as a measurement program that utilizes data collection and reporting features to track activity on webpages. PR experts can leverage specific metrics to understand if their goals are being achieved. In particular, measuring frequency of visitors and bounce rate reveals the strength of connections between a business and its audience.
Frequency of visitors measures the regularity of site entrances from users. This reporting feature possesses value because a high rate of frequency suggests that users’ connection to the business is strong enough to encourage reoccurring visits. To access this feature, navigate to the Reporting tab and click on Audience from the menu on the left-hand side of the page. From the Audience dropdown menu, select Behavior-Frequency and Recency.
Conversely, measuring a page’s bounce rate can expose problems with audience engagement. The bounce rate measures the percentage of users that enter a website and leave after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate can be the result of several issues within a website, such as incompatibility with a certain browser. Deeper investigation of the data is required to gain a better understanding of the bounce rate’s source, but a high bounce rate, especially on content-focused sites like company blogs, indicates a dissatisfaction or lack of interest on behalf of the user. This data should motivate professionals to tweak their approaches. A decreasing bounce rate over a period of time indicates a stronger, more involved relationship with users. Bounce rate can be added as a metric on most reports and tables within the custom reporting function.
Measure Types of Relationships
Google Analytics can measure the type of user that enters your site, specifically whether they are first time visitors or returning visitors. Gathering data about the number of new users can provide insight about the effectiveness of reaching new audiences. Gradual, consistent expansion of new traffic over a period of time displays a broadening audience. Sites that have a small percentage of new users, however, tell PR practitioners that their efforts are failing to forge relationships with new prospects.
Additionally, measuring the number of returning users provides insight about potential expansion of the customer base. Although new users contain value as emerging connections, they won’t immediately convert into customers. People typically need to engage with a company on a continual basis to build trust before they are convinced to become customers. Awareness of the percentage of returning users provides valuable knowledge about a population of likely customers. A new and returning user chart comes standard on the default dashboard for any Analytics account.
Analyzing and Improving PR Strategies
Google Analytics allows administrators to create reports that show the number of users entering from specific channels of social media and search engines, as well as directly through the URL.
This data measures the methods that most effectively usher users to your site and shows PR professionals approaches that should be modified, specifically if certain sites aren’t filtering enough people. It also illustrates the sites that generate good traffic and should therefore have enhanced activity and opportunities for engagement with users. For example, if a referral report indicates that LinkedIn is filtering twice as much traffic as Facebook, it would tell PR pros either to shift more activity to LinkedIn or modify their Facebook strategies to yield better results. To create these reports, navigate to the Customization tab and create a custom report with your desired metrics and source/medium as the dimension.
Measuring the Link Between Marketing and PR
Marketing and PR work closely together, regardless of the distinct differences between the two industries, and Google Analytics facilitates measurement of the relationship between them.
Analytics users can install goal conversion parameters to their sites to determine how often a specific activity, such as completing an online transaction or signing up for a weekly newsletter, is completed. The rate of conversions can indicate to the success of PR and marketing department’s relationship, which contributes to the overall success of a business.
For example, if Analytics tracks high levels of traffic and deep engagement but low goal conversions, it suggests that the business is struggling to turn their PR efforts into desired marketing objectives. To improve goal conversion rates, PR departments could work more closely with marketing professionals to optimize campaigns, perhaps by unifying language between marketing and PR materials to give customers a stronger understanding of the company and its services/products.
Assessing your efforts is a vital step in any PR campaign, and Google Analytics can provide the measurement metrics to exhibit the value of your work. In particular, measuring level of site engagement, type of user, site referrals, and goal conversions can provide important insights about the success of PR efforts.