I love analytics

I love figuring things out and I love following data from one platform to another. Yes, if you don’t work in PR you might think this is a bit unusual for a PR person, but with our skills heading towards tech and our strategies being informed by data, PR practitioners need to get geeky with analytics.

Basic analytics

Basic analytics can be taken from Google Analytics plug ins on the likes of WordPress. It’ll give you basic site visit stats from 90 days right down to today. This helps have a non-detailed overview of traffic to your site.

Similarly, you can view basic analytics on Facebook posts stating reach, likes and shares, or if you click on Insights, you get more detailed view on reach, engagement, clicks etc.

On LinkedIn Pulse you also get basic stats on views, likes and comments. You catch the drift here. It can be basic.

Making analytics meaningful

Now, if we move away from just observing analytics, we can look to analytics to help us be more strategic, understand gaps and maximise opportunities.

Firstly we can use data and analytics to see what works, what doesn’t, peak times, visitor behaviour etc. That’s all very well, but we need to know what we want out of the data before we go diving in. In this instance, we can use the stats to tell us “more of the same”, “they like that page/post” or potentially people leave the site after  short period of time, which generally means the content on the site isn’t engaging or relevant.

You can figure out your audiences and how they access your site, what browser they use and what their journey has been. This can tell you a lot about an audience.

There could be a number of reasons for how people found your site – we’ll leave that for another day!

Secondly, we can use data and analytics to help measure and indeed monitor in realtime. Measuring with data is fun; when stats shoot up it’s rather satisfying, especially if you’re online watching realtime activity.

PR strategies are only successful if results are demonstrated and backed up with insights and what better way than to see an increase in traffic, increase in downloads, increase in interaction, increase in shares and discussion. Outputs are great and measurable to an extent but the next bit is when we get down and dirty – with outcomes.

The Barcelona Princples outline this perfectly, particularly point 2,3 and 4:

1.Goal Setting and Measurement are Fundamental to Communication and Public Relations

2.Measuring Communication Outcomes is Recommended Versus Only Measuring Outputs

3.The Effect on Organizational Performance Can and Should Be Measured Where Possible

4.Measurement and Evaluation Require Both Qualitative and Quantitative Methods

5.AVEs are not the Value of Communication

6.Social Media Can and Should be Measured Consistently with Other Media Channels

7.Measurement and Evaluation Should be Transparent, Consistent and Valid

The beauty of always monitoring analytics means you can be opportunistic and be ‘of the moment’. Timing counts for a lot. News, statements and indeed in times of crisis, your site can be changed within seconds. Be proactive and reactive.

Also, here’s a fabulous post on the CIPR Conversation by Michael Blowers from March. It’s about using Google Analytics to track outcomes.

Here is another post by Michael on mediaevaluationresearch.com which touches on measuring outcomes against objectives – which you can set on Google Analytics.

If I could give any advice it would be know the Barcelona Principles (above) and apply them. It’s then clear, results-driven and measurable.

More to follow another day about people finding your site and how to sustain their visits.