PR Clients Want More Performance Measurements

According to the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), among an international sample of 520 PR pros, 88% of PR practitioners believe measurement is an integral part of the PR process, and 77% are currently tracking their programs. PR pros still do not agree on the best tools and methodologies to use, however.

Most PR pros still judge their success by their ability to place material in the media rather than on the impact such coverage might have on shifting opinion, awareness, or moving markets.

There are two camps, says the study: the output measurers (clippings and AVEs) and the outcome measurers who prefer more cerebral - and costly- measures (internal reviews, opinion polls etc). While the number of press clippings and advertising value equivalent (AVE) calculations remain perennial favorites, PR practitioners are now turning to internal reviews, benchmarking, the use of specialist media evaluation tools, focus groups and opinion polling.

Mike Daniels, member of the Commission on PR Measurement & Evaluation, said "... more education is needed within the PR industry to demonstrate the business benefits of proper evaluation, rather than continue to rely on clippings and AVEs."

Clients are becoming more price sensitive, but the same time, they are asking their PR agencies to measure in more effective and targeted ways. General trends include:

  • Client demand for measurement of online communications increased from 29% in 2008 to 41% in 2009
  • Client demand for broadcast media evaluation is up from 15% of assignments in 2008 to 25% in 2009
  • 77% of clients commission single country measurement programs or projects
  • 69% of survey respondents say procurement specialists are becoming more involved in the purchase of measurement and evaluation services

Additional survey findings:

  • 88% of PR pros think measurement is an integral part of the PR process , and 70% believe this strongly
  • Measuring ROI on communications is viewed as an achievable goal by the overwhelming majority of professional communicators taking part in the survey

Barry Leggetter, executive director of AMEC, said "... it has probably taken a recession... for achieving a breakthrough in the recognition of the value that proper measurement can bring to a PR program."

Please visit IPR here for additional information about the study.

5 comments about "PR Clients Want More Performance Measurements".
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  1. Michael Greenberg, June 29, 2009 at 10:13 a.m.

    The good news is that clients want PR value demonstrated. The bad news is that too many PR practitioners are still offering-up bogus AVE as a measure.

  2. Debra Parcheta from BlueVision Media Measurement, June 29, 2009 at 12:25 p.m.

    You're right! More PR professionals are taking measurement seriously. The best PR practitioners that we work with are not afraid to set goals, measure outcomes, learn from success and failure and even ask us to design their own unique measurements to show their success.

  3. Jonathan Hall from American Pop, June 29, 2009 at 1:35 p.m.

    Since Social Media Marketing falls somewhere between PR and Media, we're hired by both. Media likes the metrics that we collect. Hopefully, PR won't be held back by expectations of "Click-Thru" types of metrics, which we find to be a challenge in Social Media.

  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, June 29, 2009 at 5:31 p.m.

    For some reason, Zicam came to mind when it comes to clients paying for PR according t measurements. Does bad press for a problem product count? Count how?

  5. John Ribbler from Media Pro, Inc., June 30, 2009 at 4 p.m.

    These may be new surveys and new numbers, but the issue hasn't changed in the 25 years that I've been in the PR business. Sure, client want metrics. When I'm on the client side, I want metrics. However, some things are measurable and some things are not. That will never change. And, the importance of what's measurable and what is not measurable will always vary, depending on the product and/or message. The availability of new ways to measure things should not impede professionals from teaching their clients why they need to communicate and where they will benefit, whether it can be measured or not.

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