Ah, PR Measurement – the subject pretty much everyone hates talking about. While at face value it doesn’t seem all that pain-inducing, the lack of a widely accepted standard leaves PR pros on all ends of the spectrum flummoxed when it comes to determining the best way to show value.
And while there is confusion over what industry standards should look like – there is just as much confusion over whether or not those standards should exist at all. In fact, a recent survey by Ragan/NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions found that 62% of respondents do not believe there should be one widely accepted standard because “PR programs vary and have unique goals.” Yet, at the same time 66% of survey responders cited that the lack of standards is the biggest problem with PR measurement – making it easy to see why there is so much confusion and disagreement around anything and everything that has to do with measurement.
It seems as though nothing will be figured out anytime soon either. While the Barcelona Principles were developed a few years back and accepted as the industry’s first real attempt to standardize PR measurement, the Ragan survey showed that 66% of respondents had never even heard of those principles. So chances are, even if other standards were put in place, it’s doubtful they would really catch on—seeing as so many PR pros don’t believe in having standards at all.
The one thing that is clear when it comes to measurement is that Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) is not at all relevant anymore. The Barcelona Principles ruled out AVE as a suitable form of measurement, and the industry seems to have followed suit—with only 35% of Ragan survey respondents stating that they still use this dated way of determining value.
So what do you think – are a common set of standard for measurement necessary? And if so, what should they entail?
The time has finally come for public relations to measure its results, build strong relationships, scale its efforts and demand big budgets. Most of the latest innovations in media -- social media -- play to the strengths of public relations rather than advertising. If the industry plays its cards right, the public relations department could command as much respect and budget as the advertising department.
That quote is taken from a recent CNNMoney.com article that explores the amount of respect – or, lack thereof – that public relations has traditionally enjoyed. The crux of the argument is this: for a business built on creating reputations, public relations itself has a less esteemed rep than, for example, traditional advertising.
However, the writer, Gregory Galant, goes on to state that “public relations is tremendously important” – and illustrates why, in today’s social media-driven age, public relations is now the preferred method of communications for quantifiable, trackable results.
I hear you chuckling. Yes, I know we used to rely on hard-to-define metrics like pass-along readership and Nielsen ratings, but we now have much more accurate, real-time tools at our disposal. That’s because PR, perhaps more so than any other form of communication, has evolved with technology. It’s not just media relations anymore, it’s social media interaction as well. It’s managing Facebook likes and Twitter feeds. It’s building blogs and being able to gauge (and interact with) their readers. It’s optimizing websites and delivering easily monitored email campaigns. All of these things now fall under the umbrella of public relations.
What’s more, each of these strategies is backed by analytical data that allows PR professionals to adjust programs on the fly. We can now collect historical data that helps us understand exactly where a campaign is working or lagging, and can adjust efforts based upon that data.
And what about traditional media relations? Well, they’ve taken a rather untraditional form. We interact with bloggers and editors at websites to ensure that stories are placed – stories that can easily be shared via social media channels, email, and more. That’s the 2012 version of pass-along readership.
What I’m saying is that it’s not just about counting clips anymore – it’s counting data. Actionable data. And interacting with clients’ customers in real time via a number of different methods.
Above all, it’s about delivering results. Always results. And anything dedicated to that certainly deserves a measure of respect.
- Pete Larmey
"Nah, this song won't ever seem dated."
It seems to me that advertising is a lot like deodorant -- nobody really knows why it works, but as long as it does, who gives a rat's behind?
The trouble comes when our economy tanks (thanks again, Lehman Brothers), revenues fall across the board, and CEOs start looking into the actual line items on their marketing budgets.
It usually goes something like this:
Your Boss: 50,000 dollars a month for "leprechaun engagement"?
You: Yeah, like those leprechauns are just gonna work for free… idiot.
This is why when times are bad, CMOs get replaced every 6-8 months. Not that the new guy has any better ideas. But at least the CEO can seem proactive as the share price tumbles.
So it's a bad time to be a CMO, but a good time to be a business editor at the Atlantic (like Derek Thompson), because you can easily inflame the media world with simple graphs like this:
From Thompson's analysis:
"Either the eyeballs are moving faster than the advertisers, who will eventually stop paying for print ... or the ad teams don't think a minute spent around mobile ads is worth a minute spend around print ads. Those aren't mutually exclusive."
So Thompson sees two things happening: 1) advertisers are stuck in the 1990s because we're lazy and self-absorbed, and 2) all this "attention" might not be created equal.
"If we're really moving toward an attention economy, Facebook is poised to dominate. But in one key measure of attention economics, it doesn't dominate at all. The metric is 'average revenue per user', or ARPU. LinkedIn makes $7. Facebook makes $5. For unfair comparison's sake, Comcast makes $1,740."
Now Thompson admits that ARPU is a flawed measurement (since media business models are so vastly different). But it does raise the age-old question of quantity vs. quality.
If I advertise in The Economist, for instance, I can be reasonably sure that my audience is actively engaged. Whereas if I advertise on the Kardashian show, my vastly larger audience might be (for all intents and purposes) brain dead.
Do we really pay more attention to print advertising? Or rather, do we shut down a part of our brains when we log into Facebook -- slackening our jaws, slumping our shoulders, and essentially auto-piloting our way through cute pet videos and Obama birth certificates?
And what about with mobile Internet -- is it even worse? How can we really concentrate on anything with text messages flying around like Angry Birds (not to mention Angry Birds).
I don't know the answer to this, and neither do you. Which is why we're all still funding that damn leprechaun research.
Unfortunately, this is a complicated and multifaceted area of sociological research being conducted by the folks who used to write Chevrolet jingles.
So stay tuned for much more (and probably much, much less).
I wrote a post a few weeks back about big data's pernicious effect on marketing intelligence. My thesis was: the more data we collect, the more opportunities we have to make false correlations.
I stand by that position. But I've come to realize it's not just big data that cripples intelligence; it's all data.
I submit to you: Communicators were smarter before the Internet.
But let me back-up a little. The impetus for my post today is a blog entry from Wired reporter Spencer Ackerman, who wrote last week about how page view measurement affects journalism (and journalists).
It seems these days, editors mainly look at page view numbers and unique visitors to make decisions about which stories to "print" and which to promote.
But before editors had those page view numbers at the ready, they were forced to make their decisions based on quaint notions like... journalistic quality.
Now I'm not suggesting that editors have entirely abandoned the pursuit of quality. (If so, they'd have been replaced by computer programs that could measure page views and automatically promote the highest performing writers and stories.)
But let's not kid ourselves. Most editors today are a lot more interested in page views and unique visitors (which can be easily monetized) than in subjective determinations of journalistic quality (which can't).
Alas, the two values have very little in common.
Ackerman argues that sites like BuzzFeed are the unholy offspring of these developments. (One of his commenters is quick to recall the old adage: You'll never go broke appealing to the lowest common denominator.)
But here's where it gets complicated: Measurement didn't start with the Internet.
Before the Web, editors measured newspaper circulation (which meant that high-performing stories and low-performing stories were lumped together) and customer focus groups (which... well... don't get me started on the ineffectiveness of focus groups).
The point is, we've always tried to measure data, and it's typically burned us.
And where measurement was difficult and expensive in the past, the Internet has made it cheap and instantaneous. So we're using it more and more, and allowing it to become more and more destructive.
Then again, "destructive" is a subjective viewpoint. If the end goal of journalism is maximizing advertising dollars, then maybe BuzzFeed is a triumph.
We get what we deserve, I suppose.
Today we're hanging out at the first ever Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit (MAMS). The brain child of the folks who bring you Capitol Communicator and Potomac Tech Wire, MAMS is bringing together more than 300 advertising, marketing, communications and media executives to discuss high-level marketing and communications issues through a series of panels, keynotes, presentations and networking. Throughout the day a few of us will be recapping some of the panel discussions and keeping you updated on all the goings on over at Twitter. You can follow MAMS on Twitter at @mamsummit or by following #mamsummit.
The first panel I'll be taking on and recapping for you focuses on Metrics/Data. Panelists for this session include: Mike Zaneis, Senior Vice President of Interactive Advertising Bureau, Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce and Jodi McDermott, Senior Director of Product Management, comScore.
Mike's up first and focusing on growth trends, specifically in the mobile advertising space. Internet ad revenues hit $31 billion in 2011 - a historic high! In fact, mobile advertising has experienced the fasted growth of all advertising categories with triple digit growth year over year. The big driver for mobile advertising is that we can now grow the mobile platform in a meaningful way. The power of the platform is the different opportunities that can be embedded within the ad. Watching that trailer for Hugo? Now you can also buy tickets right from the ad, visit the website and even share it across your social networks.
Another big trend in digital advertising where Mike believes we'll see significant growth is in political advertising. Currently political advertising is capturing only 1.5 percent of all ad dollars but it is expected to grow to $10 billion during this election cycle - greater than 40 percent growth from 2010! Part of the reason for that growth and change is because with digital there is now a platform that can be incredibly engaging to get the message out to the general public.
Following Mike on the stage is Jodi from comScore. Jodi's presentation focused on online currency, the ever important impression. Per Jodi, currency matters and for display ads, so many are losing their value and a market where currency is devalued stops growing. To solve this problem comScore came together with iab, ANA and AAAAs to create the Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) campaign. The mission of 3MS is to reduce the costs of doing business resulting from the complexity of the digital advertising ecosystem.
Along with need to reduce complexity by moving to a "single tag" solution, it's necessary to improve reporting of ad exposure - improve the visibility of ads. So how to we improve ad exposure? Per Jodi what we need is to move to a viewable or valid impressions standard. Move to a currency based on audience impressions (vGRP), not gross ad impressions. Because of the complete daisy chain of ad delivery, the reality is that 31 percent of ads are never views and many ads run in inappropriate content. If you're interested in reading more about vGRP and the charter study findings, check out www.iab.net/mmms or the white paper on comScore homepage.
Last but not least for this panel we have Johna from BurrellesLuce. The reality of PR is that it is now a 24/7 industry - everything is fast and furious. We have so little time to grasp our our audience's attention that it's imperative that our tactical activities really align to our business goals. In fact, Johna suggests hugging your CFO and really knowing your financial drivers before doing any PR or marketing.
As PR is rolled more and more into marketing we are finding that we need to be accountable for results. However, measuring the effect on outcomes is preferred to measuring outputs. Johna also cautions that social is not separate. All media is social now! Additionally, as we've discovered at SpeakerBox, content creation is one of the most important thing marketers and PR practitioners are doing now. However, Johna cautions that more is not always better. It's important to take an eye and look at qualitative as well as quantitative.
I'm sure there is so much I've missed so for more info on today's panels be sure to follow MAM Summit on Twitter - @mamsummit.
You can stare at your bit.ly stats all you want, but the numbers don’t lie. Your click-through rates (CTRs) aren’t as high as you want them to be. Sure, you have attracted the right followers, Tweeted the hottest topics and added some unique commentary. So what gives? Well, it could be you’re Tweeting on the wrong days. Or maybe your links are inserted too far into your Tweets. According to an infographic from a HubSpot social media guru, it could be a combination of factors, which luckily, are easy to implement into your Tweet production line.
Here is a quick rundown of what the research uncovered, but for exact numbers and comparisons, take a look at the infographic itself.
- First up is not maxing out your 140-character limit. The study shows that Tweets between 120-130 characters generate the most clicks.
- Guilty as charged – I tend to place my links near the end of my Tweets. However, CTRs seem to be at their highest when links are placed approximately 25% of the way through Tweets.
- Don’t overwhelm your followers. Consistency is great, but spread your Tweets out over the course of a day. Otherwise, the more links you Tweet in a short period of time, the lower your CTR will be.
- While Tweets are designed to be quick, off-the-cuff messages, choosing the right words does make a difference. Consider using “via”, “@”, “RT”, “please” and “check”, and avoid “@AddThis”, “marketing” and “@GetGlue”.
- Paper.li has the right stuff. Apparently, the link aggregator’s common “daily is out” phrase generated the most clicks of all the other phases analyzed. (Just what the heck is paper.li?)
- Verbs, verbs, verbs! The study found that Tweets with many adverbs and verbs saw higher CTRs than those with nouns and adjectives.
- Here’s one that I found particularly surprising – Tweets shared on Friday-Sunday had higher CTRs than those shared on Monday-Thursday. I had imagined that people would be more engaged while at work, but it seems as though you have a better chance of catching readers’ attention on the weekends. More free time perhaps?
- Not everyone is a morning person. So let your readers digest their coffee and donut and Tweet them in the afternoon instead. But if you insist, consider doing both. As long as the content you’re sharing is useful and not in any way spam, try Tweeting it a couple times during the day. Most people don’t scroll back through their timeline to see what they’ve missed, so you might do everyone a favor.
If you’re not getting the readership you think your content deserves, then it might not hurt to implement some of these tweaks. Your message isn’t going to change, but the audience it reaches might. Report back with your stats and let me know if your CTRs have shot up at all. Good luck!
- Mary Evans
Yesterday I sat in on a HubSpot
seminar that looked at the boogeyman of almost every social media strategy – measurement
. While the discussion didn’t necessarily break any new ground for me (or anyone who has been working with social media for some time), it did provide clarity and connected some dots around the idea of measuring a social media strategy.
Social Fresh’s Jason Keath
, HubSpot’s Maggie Georgieva
and the authors of The Now Revolution
, Amber Naslund
and Jay Baer
all participated in the discussion, and all said the same thing about social media measurement: The silver bullet is a myth.
Many companies seem to have an underlying thought that there exists the One True Social Media Metric, some esoteric statistic that, when deciphered, will validate their social media strategy to all of detractors. If anyone listening to the webinar held this notion, it was certainly stomped out of them (or it should’ve been).
The discussion proved that social media is just like any other business metric in that you measure what is important to you.
Do you care about sales? Raw leads? Loyalty? Then you need to track those numbers against what you do in social media to see if there’s any impact.
Amber Naslund went one step further, saying that you need to “marinate” these numbers – while this immediately brings to mind the idea of “cooking the books,” in reality, Amber is saying that you should watch your social media statistics for a few months, then make a decision. Validation doesn’t occur over night for any other business function, so why should social media be any different?
Jay Baer also had a great bit of advice, which I will be using frequently moving forward – don’t hug social media measurement to death.
While you can track nearly every number around social presence, from Twitter followers and Facebook fans to unfollows and likes, it doesn’t mean you should. Clinging to these numbers like a drowning man clings to a piece of driftwood won’t save your strategy if it just doesn’t align with the business – followers/likes don’t mean anyone is buying your product, for example.
So what was the overall takeaway?
Measuring for the sake of measuring is pointless, unless you can tie it back to the business – social media isn’t any different than any other business strategy, so start tracking it like one.
Today, one of the email subject lines I was happiest to see in my Inbox was the following: "Twilert is back!"
Not familiar with Twilert
? It's a free service that sends you email updates whenever your brand or product - or any keyword you designate, actually - is mentioned on Twitter. Think Google Alerts for Twitter. I'd been using Twilert since my earliest days on Twitter, so when the alerts stopped coming last year, I was pretty bummed.
Where'd they go? Well, according to the email from Twilert today, here's what happened:
Last year Twilert was unfortunately a victim of its own success and hit issues scaling against the demand of the number of users we had. Sadly we had to switch the service off as the funds were not available to build it up at the time.
Since then Twilert has come under new management and the platform has been completely re-built to perform much better and scale efficiently against the Twitter API. We have also developed a more user friendly web interface to help you manage your Twilerts and add new ones really easily. Good news, and
welcome back, Twilert! I'm looking forward to getting my alerts set up again soon.
If you're not
currently receiving Twitter alerts delivered to your email when your brand or keywords are mentioned on Twitter (via Twilert, or one of the competing services like TweetBeep
, or NutshellMail
), you're missing a significant opportunity. (Note: I love TweetBeep for their hourly updates, which is as close to real-time as I'm aware of with alerts like this...). Nobody can be on Twitter all day, but everybody wants to know when their company name is mentioned, and in what context. By pushing this information to your email, you're certain to stay on top of these mentions, even on the busiest days.
So, if you're not currently signed up for any Twitter alert services, I highly recommend doing so. And if you are, what is your favorite service? Am I missing any?-Stephanie
In the old days (read: three years ago), we judged the pull and timbre of a given media outlet based on subscribers. The magic number? 100,000. Any publication with over 100,000 readers was obviously doing something right, and clients clambered to get their voices heard in these brand name outlets. What do those numbers mean in the here and now? Not much, if anything.
Blogs, Twitter and other social mediums have essentially made subscriber counts (as we used to think of them) worthless, except when it comes to purely judging the size of a geographic outlet, like Business Journals or local broadcasters. The obvious replacement number is unique Web views using a service like Compete
, you can check out rough estimates of unique hits a site has received over a given year. That should mean something, right? Wrong. Compete only factors in traffic to that given site it doesnt effectively track links or content shared via Digg, Twitter, Facebook or any other medium and it doesnt give you any sense as to whether or not a new site will explode in traffic next month nor does it factor in digital influence
With this in mind, youre faced with a clientele that still thinks along the lines of subscribers. How do you respond?
- Everything matters. If a blogger or journalist wants to talk to your client, even if theyre low on your clients list of important folks, make them do the interview. The more articles your client generates online, the more buzz theyll receive in general, and pretty soon those big media names will come calling. At worst, its twenty minutes out of your CEOs day. At best, theyre exposing hundreds or thousands of consumers to their product with almost no effort.
- In on the ground floor. Maybe Bobs Super Tech Blog isnt driving a lot of traffic right now, but whats the situation going to be like six months from now? Perhaps Bob is poised to join CNETs blog ring or maybe he is working on a big time syndication deal with the GigaOM Network. Whos going to get blamed if the blogs traffic blows up in a month and your client missed their window? You. Take the interview.
- Citizen journalists. Quite a few columnists and product reviewers, especially in the consumer technology space, keep low profiles online. Just because your client doesnt recognize the reviewers name doesnt mean that they arent important maybe theyre a part-time reviewer for Engadget or have a syndicated column that runs in a few dozen mid-market papers across the US. Its up to you to do your homework to find out who they really are and whom they might be working for.
Public relations shouldnt be about subscribers any more its about facilitating conversations with the right people to make sure you client gets heard. Pushing the mute button just because an outlet doesnt APPEAR to have the right number of readers just doesnt make sense. --John Terrill
(Photo credit: Stewf
I saw a couple of interesting articles this week dealing with social media for business that I thought would be good to share
The first is from Tom Foremski
on practicing what you preach
. He asserts that its really not possible to advise a customer on Facebook
or other social media outlets if youre not using them yourself.
While I do think it is possible to read up on the business uses of Facebook
to be able to recommend smart usage to companies looking to achieve different results, it also seems necessary to personally be part of the conversations to understand all of the intricacies of the networks/outlets.
The second is from Micah Baldwin
of Lijit Networks
He posted an article today on measuring online influence
. Understanding the influence of one blogger compared to another or the influence that an online outlet can have for a company, is something that PR pros have been increasingly looking for more information on. Measurement is key to showing clients value, and as online/social media becomes more prevalent, we will have to change the way we measure success.