Does digital PR work? Five ways to measure its impact!
Digital PR now, more than ever, is a vital part of digital marketing, so as a business you need to ensure that you are incorporating digital PR within your strategies. This blogpost has everything you need to know about measuring your own digital PR campaigns and their success. But I guess the famous question some of you may be asking is what even is digital PR? Well digital PR is a tactic used by marketers to increase brand awareness online.
You’re probably wondering exactly how it helps your business in terms of revenue. Well, the more brand awareness you get for your products/services online, the more chance you are of converting that in cash. Digital PR campaigns are all about creating that exciting buzz around your business, in the hope that you will acquire new customers who want to buy from you.
By measuring the success (and yes sometimes failures) of your digital pr campaigns, you’ll learn to see what works and what doesn’t, and where you can make improvements or find new opportunities. You will be able to create and present strategic reports for your business to be able prove whether or not that specific campaign actually worked and how. This will enable you to re-strategise and set a budget specifically to a particular digital PR campaign because of course, you as a business will only want to push forward with what really works.
So let’s share what your business’s digital strategy metrics you would need to consider when measuring if that specific digital PR campaign was successful or not. Just take note that the data from these metrics needs to be collected before you start your digital PR campaign so that you can measure the results at the end and have something to compare it to!
Metrics that can help you measure digital pr campaigns
Conversions & Revenue
So this is the end goal for any business first and foremost - making money and selling products/services! This is pretty obvious but if you have launched a digital PR campaign and people are buying your products or services then you can say that particular campaign was a success. Of course the best way to track conversions is either using Google Analytics or your sales data. Below is an example of our client’s Shopify sales data which shows that a piece in the Telegraph was linked to the amount of sales that weekend.
Links, links and more links
Backlinks are literally what the digital PR world feeds off as it is one of the best ways to increase your site’s ranking on Google - also, one of the most difficult. To put it in simple terms, a backlink is when one website links to another. Showcasing the amount of links you have secured for that specific digital pr campaign is a great way to measure its success. It’s a bonus if the domain authority of each link is high and relevant to your site. More on domain authority next!
Domain Authority (DA)
Sure, lots of brand mentions and backlinks are great metrics but to truly measure the success of your digital PR campaign is by evaluating the strength of your backlinks through Domain Authority (or Domain Rating - depending on the tool that you’re using). This really matters if you are trying to build up your rankings on Google and ensures that you are at the best possible place on the page. It is crucial for SEO that you earn high quality links which will add relevance and increase your website’s domain authority. A good tip is to focus your PR efforts on developing strong relationships with other relevant sites that have a high DA, if you exchange links or even give that site information that will add value to their page then they are more likely to link your site which will boost your own DA score. Be aware of Google’s algorithm changes as that can have an effect on your DA, so ensure you are always monitoring any changes. Be sure you don’t have too many low referring domains as this can look spammy and can hinder your DA score.
At Contrast we use Ahrefs which allows you to find all sorts of information about your site including domain authority, referring domains and even the number of backlinks.
Next up is monitoring traffic from your digital PR campaign, this will show you if your efforts are paying off or not. Using Google Analytics is the best way to track any traffic you are getting to your site, whether that be specifically from your digital PR campaign where high authority publications link your site, social media posts you have created and paid ads you may have in place. If the digital PR campaign is successful you will be able to see spikes in the number of sales or leads from your website. So for example, here at Contrast we had launched a new site called https://aquaproofs.com/. We ran a digital PR campaign that was featured by The Telegraph online which has a domain rating of 91, you are able to see from the graph below that there was a huge spike in traffic where people had clicked on the Telegraph link to the Aquaproofs site. This actually brought in more sales that weekend than the paid campaign we had launched that same week. This proves that digital PR campaigns can be more effective at times than spending money on paid advertising - and also brought in a bunch of reviews that are invaluable to the brands performance in future.
A successful digital PR campaign can result in a flood of brand mentions online, which of course is the main purpose of this marketing strategy! Brand mentions enable you to really connect with your target audience and even get feedback from them to help improve your business. Another key point to look out for is if that brand mention is linked - if it isn’t linked and is a positive response to your brand you can reach out to that site to see if they can add a link. A win-win situation for both! Monitoring brand mentions can be hard if a publication hasn’t linked directly to your site, but don’t worry we have a simple trick you can use to track and find brand mentions you may have missed on Google if you don't have access to paid tools.
This tactic really helped us find an extra 5 links to a digital PR campaign for one of our clients, once we found those brand mentions we were able to email the website and ask them to add a link to our client’s website. So let’s show you how you can simply search for brand mentions from a specific digital PR campaign. All you have to do is type in your business name followed by the digital PR campaign you launched for the brand. You should be able to scroll through pages and find unlinked brand mentions! Another great tip is to do an advanced search so you can filter the dates.
Tools to help!
Now this is just a quick insight into how these tools can help your business and to ensure you maximise your digital PR efforts. The God send for all digital marketers is Ahrefs, it will help determine your website’s Domain Authority, look at all of your backlinks and even the referring domains over time - as well as those of your competitors so you can get some ideas!
Next up, Google Analytics! Use this tool to look into your traffic, whether that be paid or organic. You can use Google Analytics to see spike in traffic if your digital PR campaign goes viral as well as looking at conversions for leads and sales.
SEMrush is great to monitor keywords and see whether your backlinks are improving your ranking and visibility of your website in the search engine results pages. A great thing about this tool is that it can allow you to find more backlink opportunities which you can then implement into your digital PR campaign.