Demonstrating return on your PR and marketing investment can be a tricky task. Although tools such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights have made it easier, they require a certain level of interrogation to translate the raw information into valuable and meaningful data.

Follow these steps to avoid being bamboozled with numbers and lost in an ocean of stats, and actually see the impact of your brand building activity.

Firstly, communicate your organisation’s overall objectives to your PR agency or in-house team.

Modern day PR is much more than just media relations and the tactics used should reflect the overall business goals. PR is a about brand awareness and building a positive picture of the company.

An effective integrated PR campaign will cause more people to search for your brand. Review Search Console (a free Google tool) to show increases in Google searches containing your business name.

And then check out Google Analytics to analyse visitor behaviour. Don’t just look at the overall numbers. For example, reading that users visit an average of two pages is meaningless. What pages are most popular? Were those pages visited before, during or after the PR activity? How did people find their way to the site? Did those visitors do what you wanted them to do eg buy a product, read a case study, or download a brochure?

Social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have their own analytics for users to understand what content is performing well.

Common KPIs for social media include increases in followers/fans and engagement eg retweets, likes, and comments. But in isolation, reporting on these doesn’t really say anything. Who are those new followers? What caused the increase in engagement? How did this increase impact the overall business objective?

Use Followerwonk to analyse your Twitter followers. And use Google Analytics to view the behaviour of people who landed on your website as a result of the social media activity.

In addition to the digital analytics available, advise your sales team to report anecdotal feedback eg a customer saying how they found your brand, or what they put into Google.

Speaking of Google, the boundaries between PR and SEO (search engine optimisation) continue to blur and PR activity can have a huge benefit on your visibility in search engines, even if you don’t carry out a formal SEO campaign.

Digital PR secures links from trusted and valuable third party websites, and recycling the content on your own website acts as fresh content. Google rewards websites which have both by pushing them up the rankings.

An integrated PR and SEO agency will showcase the links earned and the positive results in search engines as a result of the PR.