Understanding and measuring PR using Google Analytics

PR is notoriously hard to measure. More recently though, with the help of Google Analytics and digital marketing, brands can be more savvy with their spending and much closer to working out their ROI. Traditional PR measurement tactics would include the number of pieces of coverage secured, brand mentions and total reach, but now clients are more interested in knowing the number of shares and conversions.

In Gorkana’s webinar in Understanding Google Analytics, they simply and succinctly explain best practice for measuring your PR using GA.

While we wouldn’t recommend focusing exclusively on your GA, it certainly makes for interesting reading. PR has always been about achieving that overall increase in brand awareness.

Modern PR metrics in analytics


If you’re looking to measure your PR, these are the elements to look out for on your Google Analytics.

Understanding and measuring PR using Google Analytics

PR and analytics sit on the opposite end of the same scale. PR is focused on first touch-point between consumer and brand (firing up potential customers’ desires for the new sofa, creating a buzz on social etc), whereas GA focuses on last click attribution. It’s important when trying to measure a campaign’s effectiveness not to simply focus on last click attribution. It is almost inevitable that you’re going to lose measurements on assisted conversions because of the nature of human behaviour. For example, if someone spots your product in The Times; unless they make the purchase right away and from that link, you will have lost that measurement. Instead of ‘last click’ look at your site’s overall traffic flow in the period The Times article may be current, taking into account sales overall. If there is a noticeable uplift in sales of the featured product it helps with measurement, sure, but don’t rule out customers browsing your range for a while before settling on something else.

PR is more about broader sense of brand growth than finite details. For a better way to measure, you should consider multi-channel funnels. Whilst it’s not also 100% accurate, multi-channel funnels is thought to be more reliable than using just last click attribution.

PR measurement using multi-channel funnels

The average consumer visits a site 7 times prior to making a purchase. By using the MCF, it reduces the reliance on last click attribution and upweighs supporting links. For example, someone may see your product in a blog; pin it to their Pinterest boards (to purchase at pay day); Google search for the brand a couple of weeks later; and click on an ad-word to eventually land on your site and complete the goal. Therefore, it’s important to focus on brand awareness across multiple channels in order to increase the chance of catching that customer and completing that purchase.

GA has other uses than simple analytics, for example: goal action. You may have a goal set for a particular product range to sell especially well. Or a campaign on social media. Whatever your aim, you can set up goals on GA to align with your PR objectives.

PR should provide an uplift in brand searches. If you would like to delve deeper into this, you can filter to see the before and afters with campaigns, spikes in click through rates should be attributed to digital PR. With all this talk of digital, don’t think that print coverage doesn’t also help! It’s great for increasing your brand searches (and giving you something to shout about on social!).

PR measurement

Another thing to look at is direct traffic patterns. Direct traffic comes from a bookmark or URL address.

Understanding and measuring PR using Google Analytics

Other areas to bear in mind may include regional related coverage. This should be considered if you’re working on a regional campaign and would like to see an increase in traffic and sales in your chosen location. Or you may be looking to decrease your bounce rate, or ultimately an increase in transactions.  These would all be dependent on your PR objectives.

Key PR measurement components

If you are interested in creating a cohesive PR campaign, with set goals and tracking, please do get in touch.

Online PR, z2o PR TipsAnja