Digital agencies as a rule are much better at showing the effects of their work than their PR counterparts. Their ability – and crucially, desire, – to show that because they did X, Y happened in a commercial context is why clients are spending more with them and less with PR.
However, they are by no means perfect, particularly when it comes to online media relations. Having seen how numerous leading digital agencies report on digital PR there are still some suppliers that believe only telling the client their £10,000 a month has bought them X number of links with an average DA of Y is sufficient. The riposte to any such report should always be ‘So what?’. Links don’t pay the bills, neither does a single brand mention in a survey story on the Mail Online or 16 retweets of your latest blog post. The inference here is that the effect of these links, brand mentions and social shares will lead to an uptick in sales (or leads etc.). But unless your report shows this then it has failed the client.
We work a lot with clients and agencies on their digital PR reporting to tie up the cause and effect of their activity. Here are some (not all!) of the metrics you should be including:
Too obvious? You’d be amazed at how many Top 50 UK agencies do not include traffic data in their content marketing reports. As a rule you should be tracking traffic to the homepage, specific campaign landing page(s) and any other related product page pre, during and post campaign launch. When it’s boiled down the ultimate goal of the overwhelming majority of digital PR campaigns is to increase traffic to a website, either directly or via improved SEO.
Once you’ve shown the client you have achieved this ultimate goal, you should indicate the quality of this traffic. This can be done via engagement metrics, specifically time on page. If the average time on page for your campaign content is greater than the site average it can be presumed that this is ‘engaged’ traffic.
Traffic quality can be further qualified using demographics on Google Analytics, which enables you to see the age, sex and interests of the users. This is particularly useful if your client is targeting a specific age group, i.e Millennials.
No one is really interested in a high quality link itself, they are interested in the positive effect that link will have on the site’s SEO. Yet 99% of this kind of reporting focuses on the former and neglects the latter. If you have run a content marketing campaign for an finance client around foreign exchange trading, then you should be tracking the ranking positions of associated terms. It’s much more interesting – and commercially important – to the client if their ranking for “EUR/USD trading” has increased five positions on Google, than knowing they have three DA >35 links. We’re not recommending that you stop reporting on links, only that you re-prioritise their importance in your reports.
This has always been the most ethereal, intangible of metrics. Yet, it’s frequently cited as one of the main objectives for campaigns. You can show if and by how much your brand-led PR campaign has affected awareness of the client by tracking brand search increases. This can be done by filtering on all variations and forms of brand names in Google Search Console. A related increase in brand searches following media coverage, events etc. indicated that brand awareness has increased. This metric can also be used to tie up online and offline activity.
For more information on any of the recommendations in this blog post, or to learn more about our digital PR consultancy services please get in touch here