3 digital PR KPIs every entrepreneur should know

Digital Marketing KPIs Image credits: NicoElNino/Shutterstock

PR has changed, and traditional publicists broke out in a cold sweat when digital marketing KPIs were introduced to a larger audience. The times when one could put a Forbes interview as a major KPI are long past. Just like customers in Starbucks, companies are ticking the boxes: growth rate up, bounce rate down–yes, please. 

During a Content Breakfast webinar, Cameron Sharpe, the Head of Insight at Progressive Content, spoke about Phillips who were super heavy on KPIs with 30 of those listed in a contract. Entrepreneurs become well aware of KPIs from marketing, and so should you if you want your startup to be visible and get the most from the PR. 

Traditionally, PR professionals were mainly focused on building and managing brand’s image through press offices. Simply saying, an article in Tier 1 media was a final goal. However, digital PR professionals do outreach to gain not only a publication but also high-quality backlinks, social media mentions, and traffic. PR, content marketing, social media, and search are now more intertwined than ever, and all of them are here to finally measure the PR value in terms of reaching business goals. 

So if you are a CEO who wants to hire a good PR or just get a better understanding of what’s going on in your PR department, here are three digital PR KPIs you should know. 

1. Domain and backlinks authority

Considered to be different metrics, I’d say they don’t really make sense one without another and look very basic to deliver tangible benefits. So let’s make it one metric. 

First, you will need to know how to beg for a backlink – this is the toughest part here. Once you figure this out you will earn a good number of backlinks from media and influencers, that will increase your DA. In simple words, you will appear higher on the search results page. The biggest contributors to the rise of a DA ranking are media with millions of visitors – not a secret really. But remember, not all backlinks are created equal. The better (read – appropriate to your business and product) websites will refer to your website – the better is your ranking. It is that simple. 

How to track: Moz is good for checking domain authority KPIs. Aim for a DA score above 40 to really improve your search ranking. BuzzSumo will help with backlinks authority.

Cases to look at: this campaign won The Drum Search awards – the best use of PR; this one got over 300 backlinks.  

2. Branded traffic search plus Lead generation

Again, these are 2 different metrics which will perfectly work together. Of course, any traffic helps increase your chances of being found by a solid lead and generate a lead, but it’s important to find out how many people search specifically for your brand name, thus who will be the target audience. This would be a very indicative metric to see if your campaign targeted the right (niche) audience. So called branded searches show that people actively seek out your company. An increase in branded searches strongly indicates that your digital PR efforts are building public awareness of your organisation and leading consumers to seek you out specifically. Growth in the lead generation rate shows that those people found what they were looking for! 

How to track: by using Google Analytics and going to Acquisitions → Search Console → Queries. Be sure to use the advanced search feature, as it allows you to account for your official brand title as well as variations. You can track your lead generation progress with a plugin like MonsterInsights, which can also display metrics such as total revenue, conversion rate and top referral sources.

Cases to look at: this campaign won The Drum Search awards – the best B2B campaign which was leveraged to build website authority and increase B2B lead generation.

3. ROI or, more specifically, ROPRS (return on PR spend)

This metric is a real crush mostly of all CMO and CEO when it comes to PR and the budgets. Once you can include this KPI in a contract – be well assured your organic relationships with a client have just significantly improved. However, the monetary proof that your PR efforts will deliver the result can be a difficult KPI to track, especially for traditional PR efforts. So here we talk only about those PR campaigns which include not only CEO interviewing but Facebook paid ads, landing pages, etc.

How to track: usually, ROI shows whether the costs of your acquisition efforts are worth their expenditure by dividing the revenue generated by these costs (Net Profit/Total Cost)

Cases to look at: this campaign boosted revenue by 50% through a highly successful PR campaign, and this one – delivered 53:1 ROI through tech SEO, content & PR.