When it comes to marketing analysis, public relations has been known for output — media relationships developed, placements gained, awareness garnered, and perceptions changed. In-depth analysis and measurement of PR outcomes is a fairly new practice. Thus, standards around this measurement are still in development.
Often, when a PR professional views data that shows the results of their work, and that data does not show what they expected, many do not accept that data as true. This is due to an unconscious data bias.
But even if what you see or learn is surprising, having data about public relations efforts is always valuable. The following are examples of potential reactions to PR data, plus what they mean for you.
PR Data Bias Reaction: “This doesn’t make me look good.”
After reviewing data about the results of PR efforts, many are surprised by comparisons such as share of voice. No matter the reason for this surprise, the fact that you may feel this way means that the information is novel and you are learning something new from the data. When you feel surprised or impressed, the data that caused that reaction is worth investigating further and analyzing.
PR Data Bias Reaction: “The largest effort is not showing the strongest results.”
It’s very exciting when you see the magnitude of website traffic resulting from your PR efforts! But in analyzing this data, you may find that smaller publications or placements that were garnered in a shorter timeline happen to drive more traffic than more arduous content. Again, this is a key lesson. It is likely that you may find that a fraction of your outputs drive the majority of your outcomes. That’s okay. Use that knowledge to better align and direct future output.
PR Data Bias Reaction: “This data doesn’t help prove anything.”
Before you begin data review and analysis, define a focus. This seems easy to remember, but it is hard not to get sidetracked when there are 4,625,397 data points, and you’re seeing spikes and dips in eye-catching data visualizations. After focusing on what is most important, let the data be your proof! Allow the facts to dictate your insights, instead of drawing facts based on your suspicions.
It definitely takes more than just numbers to see the whole picture. Using the vast data available to public relations teams can unearth lessons for future strategy development and provide data that may be used to create a cyclical process of analysis.