Traditionally, public relations has always been difficult to measure. In traditional PR, pros often used “column-inches” to measure reputation management. However, this process did not account for the quality of the coverage or its ability to encourage follow-up. In the online world, however, the bane of measurement has largely subsided. Clients can monitor factors such as “clicks” to evaluate marketing campaigns, and some vendors such as Facebook often help users to measure response rate in a number of ways.
Perhaps, the most important measure for online publicity involves the use of Google Analytics. Since the corporate website represents a focal point for generating interest, Google has provided this helpful program with a number of measurements to evaluate a search engine optimization campaign and the engagement of prospects once they reach your website.
Online publicity involves a number of techniques such as blog entries, online press distribution, e-newsletters and online news coverage. As corporate clients engage in these techniques, they should use Google Analytics as a neutral monitor of their success. The most effective way to set this up involves creating a spreadsheet to track key parameters each month. Google Analytics provides a comprehensive list of measurements to evaluate any website.
Assuming your I.T. person has enabled Google Analytics (automatically installed with nearly every website), simply sign in to Google and search for Google Analytics to access your account. Under “audience overview,” you will find every statistics you need. The most important item is the number of “users.” This number tells you how many unique visitors have accessed your website in any given time period. If this number does not increase on a monthly basis, your publicity efforts have not been effective.
In addition to SEO, which affects how many visitors are interested in your company website, you can also use Google Analytics to measure “engagement.” How do visitors respond once they get there? Statistics such as the average session duration and page visits per session provide this information. One particularly interesting statistic involves the bounce rate. The bounce rate tells you what percentage of people visit just one page and then leave. A high bounce rate means your engagement is dismal.
You can address the results from Google Analytics in many ways. But to pursue due diligence, you must start to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. And Google provides the perfect tools to do so.