How to Measure Public Relations Efforts: Traditional and Social Metrics

by Julianne Hester, Account Coordinator

As a strategic communications firm, providing measurement around client results is an incredibly important aspect of showcasing your impact. In a field that’s often very subjective, PR metrics provide a tangible way to track and analyze achievements and progress towards goals. For our quantitative driven clients, these measurements are especially important to put our work into a language more familiar to them.

Here at Issues Management Group, we track metrics not only for traditional PR efforts, but for digital media as well.


Traditional metrics track the impact of a client’s media mentions over traditional media channels including TV, radio, digital, and print outlets. It’s important to identify which outlets are significant to a client, but also to understand the impact of a mention in that outlet. What is the goal of your campaign? If you’re interested in attracting attention from the general public, you may place higher value on a broader read regional or national publication. If the campaign seeks to position your client as a thought leader within a specific industry, you may want to target a widely-read trade publication in that field.

Once the goal of a campaign is understood, it comes time to measure the results through indicators like potential reach, share of voice, sentiment, and ad equivalency. How did your client stack up to its competitors? Share of voice indicates which percentage of media in a target area mentioned your client and its competitors.  

When drawing comparisons between your client and their competitors, qualifiers like sentiment are important. Contrary to popular belief, not all press is good press! Indicating whether articles are positive, negative, or neutral brings further clarity to the impact of your campaign.

Potential reach is a measurement of the impact of a media mention and indicates how many people viewed a story. While potential reach is an important indicator, it’s also necessary to consider the target audience of a campaign. Some articles may have a smaller potential reach but are featured in a publication that’s widely read by industry professionals. Context matters!

Finally, ad equivalency estimates the amount of revenue attributed to an article. This combines potential reach and article engagement to find a dollar equivalency of value.

These standardized measures, contextualized with a client’s goals for a campaign, provide a clear way to track client outcomes.


Social media metrics are a more commonly known, but equally important measurement of performance across social platforms. The most important measurements of social media metrics are impressions, followers, engagements, and engagement rate.

Impressions measure how many times a piece of content on social media was viewed. Impressions are important because they provide insights on what content users interact with most. Higher impressions helps spread more brand awareness.

Measuring followers is a given, but followers are crucial to track as a measure of growth. While fluctuation in follows is natural, an overall trend of growth across platforms indicates excitement and interest around the content shared.

Engagements and engagement rate go hand-in-hand. Engagement measures the number of clicks, likes, comments, and shares on a post. Engagement rate (ER) is used to indicate the level of interaction on a post and is calculated as ER = engagements / impressions. The higher an engagement rate, the greater an audience’s interest is in the topic. Engagement rate is one of the most important metrics in digital media.

Social media metrics are useful not only as an indication of growth, but also as a roadmap for future content. Metrics allow us to distinguish which posts performed best and emulate why in future posts. For example, one client’s followers may respond better to organic and natural feeling content rather than branded content. It’s also useful to tailor posts to specific channels, as they each have different audiences. As a rule, more company / employee news and achievements perform best on LinkedIn, but you may find through metrics that a company’s audience on Twitter also appreciates those updates.

This blog provides a quick overview of PR measurement 101. PR metrics and analysis are crucial for informed decision making around digital and traditional PR campaigns. Knowledge is power – being fully informed about the results of a campaign allows us to constantly learn and aid our clients in achieving their public relations goals!

Talk To Us

With decades of experience in politics, media, government, and public relations, Issues Management Group leverages our expertise to propel and protect established, transitioning, and emerging organizations.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.