How to measure the success of a digital PR campaign | Varn


19 January 2023

How to measure the success of a digital PR campaign

PR often has the perception of being difficult to measure and whilst there are plenty of not so tangible or obvious benefits you get from running campaigns, digital PR comes with a lot of metrics across various platforms and channels that can be used to measure performance. 

This week we share some of our thoughts on how you can measure the success of a digital PR campaign, covering the tangible metrics you can use and 2 key overarching questions to ask when it comes to setting up a successful campaign. 

2 key areas to understand before running a campaign

When it comes to SEO a lot of these KPIs and main metrics are focused around search marketing performance from an organic perspective, and it leads to an interesting first point around measuring success, you first need to understand why you are doing the campaign. 

Step 1: understand the why (and the channel)

Let’s say you are developing an online interactive tool that you are hoping to push out on social media and get traction with the communities and potential audiences on there, well this will certainly influence the type of metrics you want to keep an eye on. Social interactions, new followers and post reach will likely be more important than direct sales from the campaigns, provided you are going for more brand awareness stage marketing. 

Step 2: understand the customer stage 

For e-commerce brands particularly, having an understanding of the stage potential buyers are in when you want to get the campaign in front of them will have a big impact. For most PR campaigns this tends to be more ‘top of funnel’, or towards the point where you are trying to trigger interaction with new and previous audiences.

If you are trying a more targeted campaign focused around driving leads, then this will of course be a more targeted metric and will require a lot more of a focus on further down the funnel stats, but for those looking more at initial brand awareness campaigns, reach data is essential.

Metrics to use for digital PR campaign performance 

The two steps outlined above are important to consider when embarking on digital PR campaigns, make sure you know what channels you want to target and understand the audience’s relationship stage with your company, once you have both of these lined up you can start to think about metrics for performance measurement. 

Social mentions

Social mentions of your brand on the different social platforms are a very tangible way to measure the reach of a campaign and setting specific goals around this to start with can be a good way to reach targets. Social mentions help to magnify your brand and share it with wider audiences, one of the key goals of digital PR. 

Likes, comments and interactions 

In addition to social mentions like comments and interactions are a good way to get a gauge of the reach a campaign may have received. 

Links from social media pages 

When it comes to getting traffic to your site from social media platforms, links back from popular pages are a great area to measure. Whilst these will not directly impact your SEO (if that is the core goal of your campaign) they will improve your reach which is positive for all your digital efforts. 

Referral traffic from links 

If you are an e-commerce site, measuring the traffic and revenue from referral links is a very good way to measure the financial success of a digital PR campaign. Whilst direct sales are not always the sole aim of a digital PR campaign, understanding how link placements and coverage have directly affected commercials is always useful. 

Average domain authority (SEO specific)

Now in terms of SEO specific performance, the average domain authority of the links attained through the digital PR campaign is a good way to measure the effect it had in terms of driving coverage on respectable publications. This metric should be used in tandem with the below and more metrics to get a complete picture. 

Ranking increases (SEO specific)

Ranking increases are often the obvious one when it comes to SEO, and whilst you will not see massive jumps right to the top from one campaign they are useful to monitor not just for digital PR campaigns but also your wider SEO projects. 

Organic traffic increases (SEO specific)

Organic traffic increases often come from ranking increases depending on seasonal trends, and are an important metrics when you are looking to assess the impact of a digital PR campaign. 

Revenue increases 

Profitable revenue growth is one of the key goals of any commercial enterprise, and monitoring how digital PR may have directly or indirectly impacted on revenue is an important area to look at when it comes to measuring performance. This can come in the form of direct referral traffic from external or social sources, or an increase in rankings which has then led to an increase in organic revenue. 

Get in touch to run digital PR campaigns with performance in mind

The above measurements are great to give you data when presenting to clients and internal stakeholders, but always making sure your metrics and goals link into the wider marketing strategy of the client or your company is essential. 

Digital PR and content is one of the key parts of what we call ‘full service SEO’, which aims to give your company a complete strategy to dominate in the search engines. Get in touch with a member of the Varn team to learn more about our digital PR campaigns and how we design them with performance in mind. 

Article by: David, SEO Account Manager More articles by David

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