How to Drive PR Decisions with Data



Posted: In: Blogs Industry Insights & Trends

I recently participated in the webinar “Your Path to Media Measurement.” My co-panelists Deirdre Breakenridge of Pure Performance Communications and Todd Murphy of Universal Information Services shared examples of practical PR measurement for bottom-line results including the types of data PR and communications professionals should be focusing on when creating their strategies.

During the chat, I focused on how to create, implement, and measure data-driven PR campaigns. Because, like it or not, we often mistakenly find ourselves defining strategies based on our assumptions long before we see the numbers that should be informing them.

So, let’s break it down…

You’ve been asked to show how your strategies and tactics led to, or will lead to, increased value for your customers, potential customers, shareholders, and organization. To do so, you’ll need to follow a framework that will help your team and stakeholders understand your work.

This post will cover that framework, which includes:

  • Audience
  • Goals and Objectives
  • Strategy
  • Tactics
  • Tags and Implementation
  • Measurement (KPIs and Metrics)
  • Optimization
  • Reports and Dashboards


Begin by compiling a short list of customers and prospective customers. Identify your target audience by writing a list of characteristics (demographics, location, industry, etc.), and then use free audience estimation tools such as Facebook and Twitter to estimate audience size.

Business Goals and Objectives

Make a list of your goals and objectives for various audiences. For example, your goals or objectives for existing customers may revolve around usage, retention, and renewals. For new customers, you may look at awareness, engagement, and new user signups.

Strategy Time

Here’s where the pieces start to come together. Say your research team has identified several thousand potential customers on Facebook that share several key characteristics with your existing customers. To reach these potential customers, you must develop strategies and tactics to effectively reach these customers on Facebook. Since social networks allow your ads to be viewed, engaged with, and shared, focus on offering content that resonates with your target audience.

What types of content have appealed to existing customers in the past?

How can you emulate that success with potential customers?

What is likely to garner engagement based on past data?

Consider the following framework as a guide for building your own strategy:


Tactics should be granular, actionable stepping stones that contribute to the greater goal and objectives. An example tactic is creating an ad targeting your identified audience that leads to a downloadable case study about a customer who has seen success with your help, what worked, and why that’s the case based on the data.

Tags and Implementation

Technology now allows for feature-rich, customized reporting dashboards with actionable insights, competitive analysis, and metrics valued by the C-Suite.

Before you launch a campaign, verify that you have correctly implemented the tracking codes that you’ll need to accurately provide attribution for your campaigns. For Facebook, verify that your Facebook Pixel has been implanted and your desired goals, such as a new user sign up, have been identified. Look to Facebook’s Pixel Implementation Guide for more on this.

Measurement (KPIs and Metrics)

Save time and resources by validating the potential for campaign success by setting proper expectations through projections and forecasts. For instance, if your budget is $10,000 for a Facebook ad campaign and the estimated cost per click (CPC) for your target audience is $1, then you can estimate around 10,000 clicks.

If your site’s average conversion rate for Facebook, or even new visitors from social media is 1%, then you’re looking at 100 signups at a cost per acquisition of $100. If you’re an online retailer and your labor, product, and advertising costs exceed that $100 mark, you can start to see how you can adjust your forecasts and projections to validate the success of your campaigns.


Marketing and sales are activity-based professions (the more you put into them, the more you’ll get out of them). The question is, how do you prioritize the “it” to get the most out of your advertising dollars, time, and effort.

This is where our optimization cycles come in:

Audience → Campaign Objectives → Strategies and Tactics → Implementation → Measurement → Insights → Repeat

Reports and Dashboards

Dashboards are a conglomeration of various reports and data (metrics) that you choose to showcase. If your C-suite is interested in revenue, you’ll need to connect organizational revenue with your marketing efforts. The good news is customer relationship management (CRM) software such as Salesforce, enable you to input your own business data (closed opportunities) and connect it to 3rd party applications, including your various marketing activities.


There is an abundance of data available for PR practitioners to 1) validate their efforts, 2) support sales and marketing, and 3) discover new business opportunities. By focusing on top and middle funnel activities — Who is your brand’s target audience, are they aware of your services, and how are they currently interacting with your brand? — PR pros can offer a new perspective on their existing business data.

It starts with taking a look at data, understanding the various metrics and characteristics, and connecting those insights with campaign activities. To download my full presentation from the webinar, check it out on SlideShare.