Proving Value vs ROI in PR

2014 will see more emphasis on reporting PR results.

Mark Weiner of Prime Research was a speaker at the recent PRSA 2013 Conference in Philadelphia.  His panel was about measurement, proving value and ROI.

Proving Value

Value is subjective.  It will be different from organization to organization and person to person. You need to establish the value equation  for your company or client and provide results that meet that framework.


Return on Investment is a financial term and in its simplest definition it means you get more than you put out. The areas where PR can show ROI are:

  • Revenue generation – One example is Rosetta Stone’s discovery of the over-50 market and their partnership with AARP.  This new direction came from auditing the online conversations about learning languages. This new market is driving revenue 3x faster than their old business model.
  • Revenue retention by increasing affinity and loyalty of your current customers.  According to the Harvard Business School, increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent can increase profits by 25 percent to 95 percent. See this case study of how Napa Valley winery Whitehall Lane has done it.
  • Avoiding or cutting costs in areas like R&D,  customer service, support and advertising. Here’s one example of how it is being done in the health care sector
  • Averting crises and mitigating reputation issues. If a crisis erupts online and goes viral it can cost the company a lot in terms of lost revenue and goodwill. When the “Dell Hell” debacle occurred their stock price dropped dramatically. The Progressive Insurance refusal to pay out a claim last year lost them more than 1000 customers.

PR Actions

  1. Monitor mentions of the brand and the topic
  2. Build an engaged community
  3. Increase communication
  4. Deliver content that has value for your audience
  5. Analyze the data
  6. Extract and share actionable insights with other teams
  7. Track and measure outcomes

What to Measure

  • Advocacy – recommendations from your community of fans and customers
  • Engagement in your community, retweets, comments, shares, questions
  • Traffic to blog, community, website, newsroom content.
  • Bounce rate
  • Repeat visits
  • Time on site
  • Views on content
  • Clicks on links in content
  • Conversions – sign-ups, downloads, purchases

Tools you can use

Google Analytics – PR Dashboard

Meritus Digital Dashboard – monitoring mentions, sentiment, growth of communities, engagement across all channels

CrowdBooster – Twitter and Facebook metrics

Facebook Insights