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5 Problems Brands Come to you to Solve: Metrics

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A lot has changed (and that feels like an understatement) since we started this series on this blog, even though it was only a few months ago. We still wanted to wrap it up with this final post.

Brands come to PR and comms professionals to help with any number of issues they don't have the expertise or bandwidth to tackle on their own. We've covered several of them- starting with customer complaints, then crisis communications, the rising phenomenon of brands taking a stand on social issues, and influencer marketing- and now finally we're talking metrics. 

What should we, as comms professionals, help brands measure? What are the most meaningful metrics? This is something we struggle with in our own industry, so it's not an easy question to tackle. 

Which metrics matter? 

When it comes to metrics, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, unfortunately. As a PR and comms pro, you need to sit down with the brands you're working with and have an honest conversation about what their goals are because ultimately you need to match metrics to those goals. 

What will mean success for a particular campaign or project is important, but also should link back to larger brand goals. The metrics that mean success to a brand may shift over time, too. 

For example: ​

  • Impressions vs. Reach on social: For a campaign, or for building a brand 
  • Improve share of voice vs. competitor(s): How much of the conversation is about your brand or the brand you're working with, vs. everyone else? 
  • Build audience/understanding of audience: Are you talking to the right people in the right places?
  • Improve earned media mentions: Earned media is increasingly the most trusted form of media and it should be a major part of any comms strategy 

Those are just a few quick examples, which makes it easy to see why anyone who is newer to a data-driven strategy could get overwhelmed by the amount of available data. It's easy to get lost in measuring things because you can (the data is available) rather than because you should (the data is meaningful). 

Impressions on social media are an example of this; it's often a big number, because it's the total number of time something was displayed, but just because something was displayed in someone's timeline doesn't mean they actually read and engaged with the content. True reach is a more meaningful metric (but it's not always possible to know who your content actually reached), while high-level engagement metrics like retweeting with a comment are the most valuable of all. That shows that someone not only received your content, but took action on it. 

The story with earned media measurement is similar— now instead of just being able to report the number of press hits or placements your brand received, never knowing if they actually lead to any concrete actions, you can track the path of someone reading about your brand in an earned media piece to visiting your website and eventually becoming a customer. 

Again, these are just some common examples. The key is to concentrate on the metrics that have the most meaning for your brand or any brand that you're working with, based on what your goals are.