Using Web Analytics to Measure the Impact of Earned Online Media on Business Outcomes: A Methodological Approach
The focus of PR enterprises is slowly turning towards business outcomes instead of communication. But the adoption has been slow because the tools needed to do so are out of reach for many teams. Web analytics is the new trend which aims to address the outcome-focused measurement, help organizations optimize strategy and demonstrate PR value. Web analytics tools are used to track web traffic patterns, particularly where visitors are coming from, what web browsing technology they are using, and how visitors are interacting with a website. Web analytics and search trends are being widely used by online marketing firms to optimize advertising and search strategy and spending. Corporations are setting aside good portions of their advertising budgets to the online vehicles with the best business outcome metrics. Online formats are making it possible to apply the same measurement strategies to PR that have been effective for other forms of online marketing. Using web analytics, PR professionals can directly measure the business value of carefully targeted earned media opportunities. This data-driven approach leads to the best strategic PR decisions and greatest investment in PR campaigns. This paper attempts to provide PR practitioners with an overview of web analytics and their usage in regular communications measurement programs along with an overview of different methodologies that PR practitioners can use to measure how PR and earned media are influencing customer behavior.