Please note: This piece, written by Sally Falkow, originally appeared on The Proactive Report.


This DigitalPR chat took place on Friday, February 26, 2016.

Our guest today on the #Digital PR Twitter chat is Katie Paine. You can follow her on Twitter @queenofmetrics

Q1: 13 years ago Don Bartholomew said he hoped to see holistic PR measurement being used. Is that occurring?

“Don Bartholomew’s blog, MetricsMan, was a must-read for anyone trying to understand and implement best practices in PR measurement – not just because of how articulate and gifted a writer Don was, but because of how hard it made you think. “ Shonali Burke.

A1: Almost all the dashboards I design these days integrate internal and external, traditional and digital PR numbers. Communication occurs everywhere today. Everyone is an ambassador or a potential critic. You need the big picture view. I think Don would be disappointed that so few companies are doing it, but it is starting to happen.

Q1a: Do you have any numbers on how many companies are doing it now?

A: No, I wish I did. I’ve done more than a dozen dashboards, but that is a very selective sample. I see many organizations where data or marketing analysts are tackling integration, not so much in PR

Q1b: What are the barriers?

A: Barriers are complexity of metrics, lack of data scientists to figure them out + lack of consensus on goals. The lack of consensus, or fuzzy/unfocused goals or worst of all, no goals is what I see a lot of.

Q2: This report from the API says that most news outlets are measuring the wrong things about their content.

What are the right things? What should we be measuring?

A2: I LOVE that report. It goes to what really needs to be measured – level of engagement by type & nature of content.

@theelusivefish Once we agree on the change to be made, we look for indicators that change is happening and track those.

Q3: How can you tie Digital PR goals to business goals?

A3: You need to get senior leadership to define where #digitalpr fits in the path to purchase. What role does PR play? Get agreement on what PR goals to track. Too many PR people think the goal is “ink” or “column inches” but that’s not a business goal. And PR should learn how they contribute in the top of the funnel for a biz goal.

I spend most of my consulting time getting people to consensus on a definition of success. Once they define PR’s role, then you need to define what messages, type of PR will move the needle & measure that.

Example: for a tourist spot, PR is the spark that starts consideration, so you don’t track hotels booked, but outcomes on the PR content. To get people to consider requires desirable visuals, recommendations, calls to action. Those are the metrics.

Q4: How do you measure engagement & relationships?

A4: For advocacy groups, metrics may be around whether the content leaves you more or less likely to oppose a cause or idea. Say you want to open factory in a town. Who’s for ya? Who’s against you? Why? What needs to change to shift opinion?

The purpose of PR is to create a favorable operating climate for the business. To measure favorable operating climate, you need to measure trust, it’s not that hard. Here’s a checklist for starting a trust measurement program

Engagement is dependent on your goals. You need to develop an engagement index that reflects goals & priorities. For UNICEF high level engagement was comments that contain key messages, low level was retweets & likes. Engagement is certainly NOT impressions. It should be an aggregate of everything action (share/comment/click)

The engagement definition in the API report is close to perfect – time on site + sharing + comments.

Q5: A discussion about AVEs was brought up again recently – any comment?

A5: Don’t get me going on Assessment by Voodoo Economics! PR’s role isn’t to get column inches!   No CEO ever said that the reason for a PR dept. is to get more column inches. PR does so much more than that.

Prof Dr Ana Adi ‏@ana_adi Feb 26  A6 It’s matter of perception: it confuses PR w/ advertising (this works against all efforts of professionalisation)

Q6: How do we decide on the KPIs to track?


1. Get consensus on a definition of success.

2. Put that definition into a metric.

3. Identify a benchmark.

4. Collect data & make sure it’s clean & valid.

5. Analyze & make recommendations. Learn from the metrics

6. Repeat.

Thanks to Katie for so generously sharing her time and insights with us on the #DIgitalPR chat. See you next Friday, March 4 at 1 pm Eastern.


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