Thanks to PR News’ recent survey of its readership, we have new insights into how PR people see the post-pandemic future of measurement. The surprise is that it’s rosier than I might have suspected. Just to start off, 40% of respondents said that they measure more now than in pre-pandemic times, and just 7% said they measure less.
Reasons to be cheerful—about measurement
Most of the respondents (65%) said that they measure their earned, paid, and owned media results either all or most of the time. Surprisingly, for 47% of respondents measurement was the one thing that didn’t change during the pandemic. That might be because:
- 96% see measurement and analytics as an advantage. Or because most think that
- Measurement helps them find insights (64%), or
- Gets them budgets for PR (50%), or because
- They don’t have to guess at the effectiveness of PR initiatives (49%).
The respondents tended to agree with our Summit on the Future of Communications Measurement attendees: 27% said that measurement demands a mix of talent and technology, and 1 in 4 said that it would be integrated across marketing and comms.
Advice for people who face barriers to measurement
The most interesting questions were about barriers to measurement, which 68% said they faced. Most of the barriers were self-inflicted, so we have some advice to offer those folks:
- To the 43% who said measurement is too expensive, we ask: What’s the cost of continuing to do things that don’t work, or pose a risk to your brand? And have you heard of Google? They’re a little company that offers great measurement tools for free, like Google Forms, Google Analytics, Google News, and Google Data Studio.
- To the one in three who said there wasn’t a measurement culture at their company, we say: That’s not a barrier, it’s an opportunity. Create one and you’ll be a hero with senior management.
- To the 33% who said they lack access to data: If you work for an agency, put access to data into the contract and refuse to work with a client that won’t share data. You’re doomed to fail if you can’t accurately measure your impact.
- A horrifying 27% said that “PR’s influence can’t be measured.” To them we suggest that there’s a shortage of cooks and truck drivers these days; you might want to look into an alternate career. Just please leave PR, you’re an idiot. PR has been measuring impact for over 30 years—I know, I’ve been doing it.
- To the 16% who said that either they are afraid of what they’ll find or that “measurement and analytics are not very important to my job”: You should be fired immediately. I hear that Amazon is looking for warehouse workers. Wait, never mind—I hear that warehouses use measurement, too.
- For the 39% who don’t find data reliable, and another 17% who said measurement vendors are hard to work with: I suggest you give me a call. The measurement vendors I work with all provide highly reliable data and are delightful to work with.
- Finally, to the 11% who don’t know where to begin: I suggest you read the articles we’ve published on how to get stared, they’ll tell you how to do it.
And to the folks out there teaching PR: you’re doing something wrong. More than half of respondents said that new and recent graduates have little or no academic training in measurement. We can help. ∞