How do you really know if your digital PR is working?
Campaigns without metrics are akin to playing darts into a pitch-black
room—you may feel like you aimed well, but you never really know whether
you hit the bullseye.
Stop shooting in the dark with your digital PR and start getting to the
bottom of your progress.
One benefit of digital PR over traditional PR is that success is often
easier to track and measure in the digital landscape. Digital PR metrics
have a lot of familiar names, and you may already be tracking some of these
important figures for other purposes, such as your SEO or social media
Here are the six metrics that can help you gauge the success of your
digital PR efforts:
Domain authority (DA)
If your efforts go smoothly, soon you’ll be earning a healthy number of
backlinks from your content partners and influencers.
It’s important to ensure you earn traffic and links that add to your
website’s domain authority—the figure that
predicts how likely you are to rank
in online search results. Your PR efforts should always lead to an incline
in your DA, never a decline.
When your DA starts to fall, a number of factors could be at play. There
may have been a recent Google algorithm change, or you could be getting
penalized for having an abundance of
“spammy” or low-quality links
routing to your site. You could also be receiving a lot of links from other
sites with low DA.
When you focus your efforts on developing strong relationships with other
sites that have a high DA, you can help turn your own DA score around. If
your DA is increasing, it’s a sign your digital PR efforts are succeeding.
2. Estimated page views
One of the goals of digital PR is to improve brand awareness. If this is a
focus for your organization, the overall
page views for your content is an essential metric. This figure may not tell you how many people you’ve converted into
customers, but it can tell you whether or not you’re getting your name out
Use Google Analytics to get a picture of estimated unique page views for
your website and specific pieces of content. You can also use sites like Ahrefs to see which countries have
the highest numbers of page views for your content if your organization
focuses on targeting certain geographic regions.
3. Branded traffic search
Your DA is up and your page views are climbing—which great news. Your PR
efforts seem to be working, but some people may be landing on your pages
after searching for generic industry terms on Google.
Of course, any traffic helps increase your chances of being found by a
solid lead, but it’s important to find out how many people search
specifically for your brand name. These are called branded searches, and
they show that people not only recognize your brand but actively seek out
your company when researching.
Branded searches can be identified 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. An increase in branded searches strongly indicates that your
digital PR efforts are building public awareness of your organization and
leading consumers to seek you out specifically.
4. Backlink authority
Not all backlinks are created equal. If your digital PR relationships are
leading to a slew of incoming links from undesirable sites or links that
are poorly placed, Google may not give you as much credit for them and your
rank could suffer. This is why checking the metrics surrounding your
backlinks is so important. You can see where your backlinks are coming from
using sites like BuzzSumo.
A good backlink will come from a site with a high DA, be placed organically
in content with relevant anchor text, and will not be on a page with
hundreds of outgoing links. If your PR strategy is only cultivating
backlinks from undesirable locations, it’s time to adjust your approach and
reach out to more reputable content partners and media placements.
5. Specific content referrals
When working in digital PR, you become familiar with rejection. An editor’s
promise to publish a backlink to your site may never yield results.
Following up on media placements is a crucial step. You haven’t notched a
win until your brand mention or linked content is live. Check the Google
Analytics acquisitions tab to see exactly where your referral links are
coming from. This will help you tie your digital PR wins (placements, brand
mentions, and links) to the tangible referrals you’ve acquired.
Keep in mind that acquisition data may not include all brand mentions. For
instance, if an incredible shout-out on social media doesn’t include a link
to your website or content, it may not appear in the Google Analytics
acquisitions tab—although it’s still an extremely valuable mention for your
brand and highlights a strong brand reputation.
social listening tools
can help you fill in some of the gaps. Tracking specific content referrals
helps you determine whether your relationship building strategy is
6. Social shares
Social media platforms require
their own nuanced strategies and metrics, yet they can also reveal something about the health of your overall
digital PR scheme. If the articles earned by your digital PR team are
shared and mentioned alongside positive descriptors, you’ll know you’re
effectively enhancing your brand’s reputation. The more positive
engagements you see with these pieces of content, the more likely your
digital PR efforts are building up your brand’s authority in your industry.
There is no magic number of social media engagements to target. Any growth
in engagements and shares is a reason to celebrate. Social platforms can
also lead valuable traffic back to your website or content hub, so it’s
important that your social media strategy and digital PR strategy are
Ilana Plumer is the senior director of marketing at RelationEdge.
Zoomd Custom Site Search