Public Relations Evaluation Methods

Public relations evaluation methods are how PRs choose to communicate success. Let's explore some of the most popular PR evaluation methods.

Public relations evaluation methods are how PRs choose to communicate success. When clients are investing thousands or even millions of pounds into PR campaigns, decision-makers want to know whether the strategies are working. To quantify impact, PRs need to leverage the right set of evaluation methods. This begins with establishing different types of PR KPIs.

Public Relations Evaluation Methods (Why Do They Matter?)

Getting their public relations evaluation methods in order benefits both their team and clients. Launching a campaign without a clear set of KPIs is like throwing darts at random strategies and hoping they land on a winner. Knowing what to aim for is half the battle. Once PRs have some KPIs in place, they can craft strategies that are designed to hit the bull’s eye.

What are the methods of evaluation in PR?

When it comes to identifying the best methods of evaluation in PR, there is no gold standard. Industry experts will point PRs toward various types of KPIs – but it’s difficult to know whether PRs are actually using these evaluation methods in practice. In other words, people don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors and it’s creating a lot of confusion amongst PRs.

To start evaluating PR success, PRs must know the different types of KPIs used in the industry. In the creation of reports, PRs often pick and mix different types of KPIs to illustrate impact. While certain types of KPIs are used frequently, others are rare. How do we know this? Six years ago, we found ourselves in a unique position to monitor and report on industry trends.

Releasd has become a go-to PR reporting tool for agencies and in-house teams. When PRs want to create stunning coverage reports, they come to us. The interest in our platform has led to the creation of more than 100,000 PR reports, using 400,000 individual KPIs. With access to tons of data, we’ve been able to closely monitor and track PR measurement trends.

Activity-Based KPIs

Activity-based KPIs are rarely tied to business outcomes but still offer good insights into how a campaign is progressing. These include activities like “webinars confirmed”, “awards entries completed”, and “press releases distributed”. Compared to before the global pandemic, our dataset shows increased use of activity-based KPIs.

Output-Based KPIs

Output-based KPIs are still in use. Industry leaders want to see people move beyond these – but this hasn’t happened just yet. Also, they’re not completely useless. Output-based KPIs enable PRs to track the volume of output. While the number of Twitter or Facebook posts published over time seems like redundant information, it still quantifies the level of output for a campaign.

Out-Take-Based KPIs

Out-take-based KPIs are evolving with digital technology. With a treasure trove of analytics, we can begin to look beyond engagement and reach at a high level. Depending on the platforms PRs use, they should find lots of metrics they can tie to campaign performance. From average video watch time to the number of comments, there is plenty to explore.

Outcome & Impact-Based KPIs

Outcome and impact-based KPIs focus on meaningful actions taken by the target audience. This goes beyond general awareness. From webinar registrations to leads delivered to the sales team, the types of outcome and impact-based KPIs will vary depending on the specific goals of their PR campaigns. The more emphasis on these types of KPIs, the better. 

How has the evaluation of public relations changed?

As marketing channels evolve with digital technology, the PR landscape is changing. With this in mind, different types of public relations evaluation methods are used to measure success. In some cases, certain channels are outgrowing traditional PR frameworks and forms of PR measurement. For those in the industry, it can feel like they’re constantly trying to keep up.

In general, we need to see an increased use of outcome and impact-based KPIs and a decreased use of output-based KPIs. The reality is PRs can spend hours on high-volume activities that do not drive outcomes. The volume of their output does not necessarily correlate with driving outcomes. Instead, PRs should focus their efforts on high-impact activities.

While it’s easy to measure and present output-based KPIs, these can often harm their cause. As we said earlier, the evaluation methods PRs choose to adopt are designed to communicate PR success. If there’s no link between output volume and the campaign’s outcomes, why use this to measure performance? In this scenario, PRs are setting themselves up for failure.

Quantifying PR worth is essential to getting decision-makers on the same page as PRs. When it comes to selecting the right KPIs for their next campaign, PRs need to understand how the rest of the industry is measuring performance. Fortunately, Releasd is in a unique position to provide PRs with key insights on how other PRs are choosing to measure their success.

Measuring Public Relations Effectiveness (Best Resources)

With six years of data from PR agencies and in-house times, we’ve produced a report on the most popular KPIs in PR. Our findings are based on the 400,000 individual KPIs in the 100,000 PR reports created using our PR reporting tool. If PRs want to understand what the industry is actually using to measure PR success, they need to get their hands on the report.

Okay, so how much does it cost?

Here’s the thing, we recognise the impact these findings could have on the industry going forward. This is why we’re offering the report for free.

We feel everyone should have access to these insights. We didn’t spend hours crafting a detailed report to stick it behind a paywall for only a select few to see.

Explore how PRs are measuring their work behind closed doors:

Read our free report on the most popular KPIs in PR.