Today, we live in a digital world that has given us access to a unprecedented amount of data. Whilst this can be quite overwhelming to many, the importance lies in how big data can be used to access human insight and engagement. For PR practitioners it is vital to work with data, and now they have the opportunity to collect specific and meaningful data on everything from tracking brand impressions, to social graph, thus guiding their decision-making in an informative way.
It’s no secret that the advent of social media changed the face of public relations forever. 20 years on from the first social media site, Six Degrees, and you’d think PR professionals would have the medium all figured out. And for the most part, they do. But one element of social media that they have always struggled with is measuring metrics.
In the past, advertising dominated the PR evaluation system. Organisations were measuring their ‘success’ through Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE). They were quick, they were easy, but certainly not representative as the cost of advertising does not relate to the value of PR. Thank goodness the industry has moved on since then!
In the words of Stephen Waddington, ‘public relations practitioners need to use tools to deliver insights from data relevant to their publics.’ So here are three measuring tools which I believe are the best of the best at this present time.
Used widely throughout the PR industry, Brandwatch is a social media monitoring tool used to discover vital insights within online conversations happening on various social platforms. From measuring the impact of your latest campaign, to new marketing opportunities, to potential crises, this tool goes beyond keywords to help companies identify, listen and understand their publics.
‘Influencer’ is the biggest buzzword within the PR industry at the moment, after it has become one of the most effective ways to attract customers and allow companies to connect with consumers directly. Traackr is useful and efficient tool for analysing, managing and growing your global influencer networks. And since PR is all about earning trust and building relationships, this is the perfect platform for practitioners to connect with influencers in a more personal way.
GOOGLE TAG MANAGER
While Google Analytics may be more than capable of all your digital data needs, if you’re serious about gathering information directly linked to your business objectives, then Google Tag Manager is for you. This sophisticated-yet-free tracking tool is designed to measure much more detailed data from your website, giving you more power and versatility in your data collection.
As the digital landscape continues to grow at a rapid pace, so does the importance of data. So much so that the head of research and strategy at Microsoft, Craig Mundie claims that data has become the new raw material of business – an economic input almost on par with capital and labour. Whilst this demonstrates a dramatic change within the industry, and a power shift towards the public, practitioners have more access to more information than ever, helping their clients to build up their brands with sustainable success.
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The Economist. (2017). Data, data everywhere. [online] Available at: http://www.economist.com/node/15557443 [Accessed 25 Mar. 2017].
Waddington, S. (2017). There’s never been such a good time to work in public relations [online] Stephen Waddington. Available at: http://wadds.co.uk/2014/03/06/good-time-work-public-relations/ [Accessed 25 Mar. 2017].