measuring PR success

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, measuring the effectiveness of media activities is more critical than ever. Whether you’re running social media campaigns, launching print ads, or investing in online content, understanding how to evaluate the impact of your efforts is essential for driving success and maximizing ROI. But how can we evaluate PR success?

While many channels or activities such as social media, Google Ads, SEO and positioning can be quantified with readily available statistics, the overall measurement of PR activities can often seem a little more difficult. Often PR leads in companies or even in agencies resort to traditional indicators such as the Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE), which provides an estimated advertising value of the piece of coverage and is much more of a marketing tool than it is capable of showing the true impact of PR efforts. Share of Voice (SoV) is also a popular measurement tool – but while both measurement options can provide an indication, they both can provide a completely distorted image if they are not carefully applied. What, for example, if your competitors are involved in a scandal – then they will have a huge SoV, but certainly not a desired one.

Step by step guideline for measuring PR results

We have compiled a guideline in which we explore the key aspects of media evaluation to help you measure, analyze, and optimize your campaigns effectively – while also identifying their limitations.

1. Set clear goals

Before diving into media evaluation, it’s crucial to establish clear and measurable goals. Whether your objective is to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, generate leads, or boost sales, setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) provides a roadmap for success and ensures alignment with your overall business objectives.

2. Understand your audience

A deep understanding of your target audience is critical for tailoring media activities effectively. By conducting audience analysis and segmentation, you can identify demographics and behavior patterns to create targeted and relevant content. By aligning your media efforts with the preferences and interests of your audience, you can increase engagement and maximize impact.

3. Choose your channels

In today’s omnichannel world, leveraging multiple media channels is key to reaching and engaging your audience effectively. Whether it’s social media, print, television, radio, or online platforms, each channel offers unique opportunities and challenges. By strategically selecting the right mix of channels based on your campaign objectives and audience preferences, you can amplify your message and drive results.

A mix of earned and modern paid media co-operations has also proven to be an effective way to reach campaign goals – whether it is visibility in certain media or reaching a number of users on online platforms. With the right choice of media titles, there is a good chance of turning the display of an article into transitions to a landing page, or any other place that is a source of knowledge about the product/service or brand.

4. Identify your KPIs

Once you’ve defined your goals and streamlined them with the objectives set at the start of the campaign or the collaboration with a PR agency, it’s time to identify the key metrics that will measure the success of your media activities. Ideally both, the company, and the agency set measurable and realistic key performance indicators (KPI) which are based on the company’s priorities and put in relation to the planned activities with a well-defined media target group. From reach and engagement to the visibility of the product, service or brand, and the tone of the article (positive/negative), selecting the right KPIs is essential for tracking performance and evaluating effectiveness. In the end, by aligning KPIs with your specific goals, you can gain valuable insights into the impact of your campaigns and make data-driven decisions to drive results.

5. Measure, evaluate and analyze

To evaluate the effectiveness of your media activities, performance measurement should be based on qualitative and quantitative indicators. Professional media monitoring tools are helpful to stay on top of things and regularly check what is being said about your brand, company or competitors. Additional data can be collected and analyzed – from web analytics and social media insights to surveys and focus groups. By leveraging these tools effectively, you can gain actionable insights into audience behavior, campaign performance, and areas for improvement.

6. AVE and SoV: limitations of traditional measurement tools

Banner ad or advertorial – is it really all the same? One of the most controversial analytical tools is the AVE, which is supposed to be the estimated value you would have to invest in advertising to get the same coverage as a PR effort. Why can this be an inaccurate figure? On the one hand, ad prices vary widely – agencies often get big discounts on ad bookings, so the AVE is a rather fictitious bookmark. On the other hand, the value of a banner ad is not really comparable to that of an expert opinion piece, as there is much more content in a piece of text that could be of value to the reader – and therefore it is a much more effective way to staying on top of mind with the target audience.

Measuring the share of Voice (SoV) against competitors is a well-established way to measure PR results. Setting up a SoV monitoring however can be tricky. Often the overall reach of the media presence is the only factor taken into account. This can be misleading in many ways. Most importantly: the target group is not taken into account. Coverage in a high reach general interest media is great. But within this readership only a small group might be your target audience, while in a special interest or trade media with a lower reach, a much higher percentage of the readers is your target audience. The second risk is not taking the tonality into account. Therefore, a SoV will rate negative media presence just like positive coverage. And a scandal resulting in a very high SoV is certainly not the desired result you are looking for.


You might think that it would be up to the industry to develop a more consistent and reliable indicator to objectively measure the effectiveness of PR, making it more comparable to marketing or SEO activities. This is where companies can benefit from the knowledge and experience of PR professionals, who can provide not only a quantitative assessment, but above all a qualitative one, which is so important for media publications. In addition to hard data, the experts will answer questions such as “Is our material of interest to journalists?” “What is our visibility compared to the competition”, and “Does our work really add value in terms of the company’s objectives and brand or product strategy?”

It is at this point that the importance of working with a strong team of PR professionals becomes apparent. In addition to all the analytical tools available, they can help companies to clearly state their communication objectives, know the appropriate ways and means to achieve them and, finally, help providing a qualitative classification of the results.