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Q&A: How to measure the effectiveness of our online PR and viral campaigns

Question: How should I measure online pr? I am trying to write my objectives for a marketing campaign.

Smart Insights Expert Answer: Thanks for your question - it's good to see you're going for SMART objectives...

While you may not be able to set specific goals for these, it's worth stating in the plan what you will be measuring, since then you can make sure you're tracking these measures and start to build up a library of the PR or buzz effectiveness of campaigns.

As for any goal-setting and measurement you can't stress enough how having clear goals (business specific) is the key, and that those goals are aligned to commercials.

I think it's always to break down campaign measures into goals of volume, quality and cost so for PR, the type of measures to consider are:


  • Number of mentions of brand or campaign name during the campaign
  • Incremental growth in Facebook Likes or Twitter follows
  • Backlinks created to your site from other sites during campaign


  • The volume can be assessed broken out by site type (e.g. blog, SNS, mainstream news media, etc) and quality (reach)
  • Quality of links can be assessed by site home page authority (PageRank), but PageRank of individual posts won't be updated in time
  • Number of incremental sales from links attributed to campaigns - this is only for direct links - increased awareness may generate other sales that can't be directly measured

Cost effectiveness

It's good to normalise the cost of your PR or link-building activities so you know the bang you get for your buck in future

  • The cost of the PR element of the campaign
  • Cost per mention, cost per link
  • Cost per response of clicks from these links that convert to lead or sale (will generally be relatively few of these)

Recommend setting goals for E-PR campaign of nMentions, Reach and Quality of Mentions, n,Q Backlinks and +IVE Sentiment

I hope that helps, good luck for your campaign. We also have these articles which may help with your campaign:

By Dave Chaffey

Dave is CEO and co-founder of Smart Insights. He is editor of the 100 templates, ebooks and courses in the digital marketing resource library created by our team of 25+ Digital Marketing experts. Our resources used by our Expert members in more than 80 countries to Map, Plan and Manage their digital marketing. For my full profile, or to connect on LinkedIn or other social networks, see the About Dave Chaffey profile page on Smart Insights. Dave is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Emarketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing.

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