A key focus for many PR professionals in 2019 is figuring out a way to accurately quantify the impact of their work.
In a Muck Rack survey of 800 communicators, ranging from boutique agency coordinators to chief communications officers at global brands, 72 percent said that the top challenge they face is “measuring business impact,” with the second most prominent challenge (at 65 percent) overcoming the “lack of quantifiable measurement.” And when asked how public relations can increase its value inside an organization, 68 percent of survey respondents said the answer lies with “measurable results.”
However, this survey revealed a difference of opinion on what qualifies as “measurable results.” While over 80 percent of pros polled for this study said that traditional metrics and social media impact were useful in “quantifying the impact of [their] PR and communications efforts,” only 29 percent saw sales as an accurate signifier for the success of their work.
According to Jessica Lawlor — Muck Rack’s features editor — PR measurement is a recurring debate among professionals.
She writes, in a June 2018 blog post, “Measuring PR is not as simple as throwing some earned media metrics together and trying to correlate bottom-line impact through traditional, tangible business results. After all, PR, marketing and advertising are closely related but not the same — measuring the impact of a well-placed news story is not as easy as identifying how many eyeballs saw a particular ad in a magazine.”
Still, despite the challenges of presenting quantifiable results to executives, communicators are hopeful about their imminent business prospects. Sixty-three percent of survey respondents predict their company’s budget for public relations will either increase or remain the same in 2019.
Dean Essner is the editorial assistant for PRSA’s publications.