analytics reporting

Data collection and evaluation are (or, at least, should be) integrated into the daily rituals of PR pros. With the gajillions of measurable actions consumers take every day, the massive amount of information PR pros must sift through grows exponentially, which, in turn, can make locating those meaningful insights challenging. But let’s not get overwhelmed, yet.

To ease this gentle data giant, let’s start by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable pieces that can be leveraged distinctly at each step in the PR campaign process. Categorizing PR data will help you identify relevant insights lickity-split and in this field, who couldn’t use the extra time?

Below are four of the main types of PR data you should start using right now:

1. Assessment Data: Used to determine the desired level of achievement. e.g. Number of media hits, traffic to site, new leads generated, etc.

How to leverage: Assessment data creates the foundation for any PR campaign. Before you set your objectives, identify your target audience, or develop your press lists, use these data to evaluate your current situation. What is your average traffic? How frequently do media placements lead to conversions?

After you know where you’re starting from you can set your success metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators). What do you want to increase or decrease? What variables are the most meaningful for determining the success of your campaign? Clear assessment barometers will ensure you can definitively state which PR activities delivered and which ones might need to be re-imagined, after all is said and done.

2. Demographic Data: Used to decide which audience segment(s) to target. e.g. Gender, economic status, location, ethnicity, etc.

How to leverage: When looking at demographic data, think beyond the traditional segments listed above. If you’re launching a line of cologne, your audience should be more than “professional males with a full-time jobs”. Dig deeper, find out more (if you can), such as where these men shop, how many years of school they completed, marital statuses, industries they work in, job titles, etc.

This genre of data can include psychographics — people’s wants, interests, attitudes and opinions. What consumer segment is most in need of your new, musky scent? The more cold, hard facts you know about your audience, the better you can tailor your content to resonate with them.

3. Campaign Data: Used to execute campaigns and define plans, strategies, and practices employed by those executing campaigns e.g. Distribution channels, messaging, media targets, publishing schedules, etc.

How to leverage: Measuring and evaluating campaign data creates another dimension in which to assess campaign success. Consider these your independent (manipulable) variables, that can affect your output — assessment and perception data. Was your publishing schedule the key component to maximizing shares? Or would adjusted times prove more effective?

Campaign data not only gives you additional insights into your campaign achievement, but helps you monitor your own performance and efficiency. London-based Shine Communications used extensive research to help its client Plan UK identify channels most likely to reach the target audience for its campaign: Facebook, YouTube, outdoor advertising on commuter train panels and bus stops, video-on-demand advertising, high indexing broadcast, digital and print editorial, and digital advertising on female-focused websites.

Then, these folks used more research to find the optimal multi-channel mix to implement their campaign. The results? Just what you expected: surpassed goals and happy clients. See…isn’t this whole data thing cool?

4. Perception Data: Used to gauge how people are responding to your efforts and what to do next to optimize your strategy. e.g. Sentiment, message pull through, conversion, amplification, etc.

How to leverage: With this data type, you qualify your KPIs. Maybe your article received 4,000 social shares, but what was the sentiment of the comments? Did people share it because they agreed or disagreed with your message? Did your message reach the audience you had targeted? Use these data as both checkpoints and springboards — never conclusions. Think back to physics: perception data are like a ball sitting on the edge of a cliff; they have potential energy, they just need a force to push them to motion. Use those insights to fuel campaign strategy in the immediate future.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the types of PR data. There’s also competitor data, influencer data, relationship management data, and much more. But we encourage you to use these four major types of PR data as a starting point to begin organizing your insights and strategies. Soon enough, you’ll be adding a data science hat to your growing PR hat collection.