Measuring the impact of your PR programs has fallen off a cliff since 2010, but it is still important, says a data scientist and measurement guru. With the advent of Google analytics, companies are relying more on superficial metrics than measuring the actual impact of their programs.

PR impact, Gonder PR

Creating a dashboard helps demonstrate the impact of PR campaigns on business objectives.

“The Holy Grail for PR” comes from the insights gained from truly analyzing social media and past campaigns,” says Debra Parcheta, CEO of Blue Marble Enterprises. “What insights came to your brand from social media?”

Example: the European Transportation Agency analyzed 400,000 Tweets and social media posts to determine what bothered customers. The number 1 complaint? The smell on the subways. Arriving on time was only #3. You can design an outreach campaign if you know what the issues are.

Media measurement grew steadily starting in 2001, with companies analyzing key messages and Key Performance Indicators to objectives.  Measurement has dropped drastically since 2010, with the advent of Google Analytics. One free Google metric is the number of Twitter followers and another is the number of shares on social media. Some Fortune 500 companies found that only 20 percent of their followers are reading Tweets, making the number of followers less meaningful.

Study the impact of brand advocates on sales. “PR is always a better investment than digital ads, which are more expensive,” Parcheta advises.