PR has evolved over the years, so it comes as no surprise the way we report about the success of PR efforts has changed significantly too. From media impressions to key message placement, there are a number of ways to measure success of PR campaigns depending on your overall objectives.
By now, you’ve probably heard how Google Analytics can help PR and marketing professionals expand their reporting capabilities, telling a much more holistic story about target audiences. The platform is arguably one of the most powerful tools to learn about your digital efforts and gain a better understanding of how PR is working with other marketing initiatives to achieve your ultimate goals.
As with most tools, Google Analytics can provide a lot of data. When sorting through the dashboard, make sure you’re keeping overarching goals in mind and narrowing down your metrics to best support these efforts.
To help you get started, we’ve outlined our top four Google Analytics tips for tracking activity and digging into your target audiences’ behaviors.
1. Use Annotations
Google Analytics has a handy dandy feature that allows you to insert annotations, or notes, for specific events. Use this feature to note the dates of when you send press releases, land a big piece of earned coverage, post a blog, launch a social campaign or distribute an email newsletter.
Ideally, you’ll be able to correlate spikes in website traffic to a specific activity, or set of activities, taking place in the same timeframe. This can be a super helpful metric to not only see how all of your marketing efforts are working together, but also whether or not the combined efforts are successful.
2. Take a Peek at Referral Traffic
Digging into referral traffic can be helpful for determining which outlets, for example, are driving traffic from earned coverage. This metric also provides insight into which social media platforms are successfully sending audiences back to your website for additional information, which can help refine your content strategy.
Plus, having diverse traffic sources improves SEO. Keep an eye on organic and search traffic to ensure you have a good mix of sources. This will help protect your site’s overall performance should a search engine algorithm change.
3. Look at New and Returning Visitors
Depending on your strategy goals, it’s important to understand if you are speaking to an existing audience or reaching a new audience. For example, a high percentage of returning visitors could be ideal for a blog as it likely indicates that the content is resonating with your readers, encouraging them to come back frequently for the latest posts. Conversely, a lead-driven business would likely benefit from a high percentage of new visitors.
Understanding this metric can help you determine how your content is performing and whether or not a shift is needed.
4. Consider the Bigger Picture
Don’t get held up with time on site and page views. Look at clicks and a user’s digital footprint to see where they go after reading a blog post or press release. If someone is only on the site for a few seconds and clicked on eight different articles, it could be a sign they aren’t finding what they need and it’s time for a content strategy adjustment.
Looking at multiple metrics helps tell a more comprehensive story about your users and what they need or want from your digital efforts. Using Google Analytics is another way to expand your measurement capabilities, offering additional insights into audience needs and online behaviors. Armed with these insights, you’ll be able to test new campaigns and tactics, and fine-tune existing strategies for optimal success.
Kayla Weimer, public relations account executive at OMA, is an analytics and measurement fanatic who loves digging into results behind public relations efforts.