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Attribution technology: Finally, there's a way to prove your company’s ROI for news coverage

By Jason Mudd

This is a story about determining ROI for public relations efforts. There is also a story about learning the fundamentals of measuring PR ROI as well.


News coverage can now be measured in terms of ROI.When most people think about public relations, they tend to think PR is earned media coverage. (Even though PR is more than earned media coverage.)


And what is earned media anyway?


Traditionally, measuring a PR campaign and its outcomes were challenging. You may have even been told that public relations can't be measured. When it was measured, it was often assigned "publicity value," "advertising value equivalency," or some other arbitrary number. It doesn't have to be.


The industry is evolving quickly, making PR increasingly measurable through attribution technology.


At Axia Public Relations, we have long believed valid qualitative PR measurement is critical. We systematically establish and set achievable benchmarks for campaigns while evaluating the performance of the tactics used. Most importantly, we use real numbers to measure what truly matters to you.


And in the past several months, new attribution technology has evolved to make measuring PR even more relevant to corporate marketing departments and corporate leadership.


Marketers and advertisers have used attribution analysis with owned or paid media for more than a decade. However, PR attribution — tying an earned media story back to the sales funnel and your KPIs — has been more difficult (and sometimes impossible). 


Building on our existing measurement framework, there's a relatively new approach that can shed more light on earned media outcomes. This approach utilizes the time-trusted digital watermark. Similar to 'invisible watermarks' that have been used by photographers in images, this same approach can be applied to digital news stories covering your company. This allows you to identify the level of interaction and path the reader or viewer takes. 


Earned media attribution – using attribution technology – can be taken a step further by overlaying demographic information. These additional data points will help you understand what web traffic, leads, and revenue was generated as well as who it represents — by age range, gender, net worth, household income, education level, and more. 


Tying this information to your business objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) is the final piece of the PR measurement puzzle. It's not that the data isn't there; it's about knowing which data to use and how to use it.


Don't make the mistake of underestimating the benefits of measuring your PR campaigns. The resulting insights will help you with better decision-making and future planning.


If your current PR agency doesn't understand the importance of ROI for your company, it's time to find a PR partner who measures, reports, and evaluates on what matters to you and your organization. Download Axia PR's eBook Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment for more on getting the maximum impact from your PR investment. 


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Jason MuddClients love Jason’s passion, candor and commitment as well as the team he has formed at Axia Public Relations. He’s advised some of America’s most admired brands, including American Airlines, Dave & Buster’s, Hilton, HP, Pizza Hut and Verizon. He is an Emmy Award-winning, accredited public relations practitioner, speaker, author and entrepreneur and earned his certification in inbound marketing. He founded the PR firm in July 2002. Learn more about Jason.


Photo by Lukas from Pexels

Topics: measurement

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