You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure out how to measure PR using Google Analytics at your B2B tech company. The data sets are freely available and the process is surprisingly easy.
Measuring your PR campaigns is good practice for many reasons, not the least of which is ensuring that you are reaching the right audience with the right message.
Another important reason? To help prove the value of PR in terms most marketing executives can easily grasp: data analytics.
As you look to build out an effective PR initiative at your B2B tech enterprise, we strongly encourage you to learn how to measure PR first. Only then can you ensure your PR campaigns are working, and that your executive team will be happy with the results.
This is an often overlooked tactic when it comes to figuring out how to measure PR. Our opinion at Swyft is that, whenever possible, you or somebody in your marketing team should create a unique landing page for every PR campaign. This may not always be practical, but here are times when it makes sense:
- Launching a new product or service
- Executive new-hires
- Capital fundraising rounds (seed round, Series A, etc.)
- New office openings
- Revenue or product milestones
Having a unique landing page narrows the total data set you hope to measure for your upcoming PR campaign. Admittedly, this isn’t the ideal solution as the landing page will be used in your social media campaigns and other outbound communications. Still, it’s far better than pushing campaign traffic through the busiest page on your website– the homepage.
It’s been Swyft’s experience that UTM codes are rarely used, yet they can provide one of the best ways to figure out how to measure PR campaigns.
Many marketers will know what a UTM code is but for those not in the know it stands for “Urchin Traffic Monitor.” A UTM code is a tracking tag, consisting of a snippet of code, that allows you to track website traffic from its origin to your website.
Rather than explain how to create UTM codes and their different parts, check out this helpful post on the topic from AgencyAnalytics.
When you create a UTM code, be sure to add it to the landing page URL you created for the campaign. Even if you just add a UTM code to your homepage URL, any traffic stemming from the PR campaign will be more easily measured and easily reported.
There is, however, a possible downside to using a UTM code when sharing your news announcement with the media. Some media outlets prefer not to use URLs with UTM codes as they don’t want to be seen as an enabler of a company’s SEO strategy. They will either strip out the UTM code altogether, request that you send it back ‘sans’ code, or simply refuse to allow backlinks.
Bottom line: It never hurts to create a UTM code and use it in a press release. Just be sure to alert the media outlets you pitch to make sure they have a friendly policy toward UTM codes. At the end of the day, it’s wise to keep another press release handy without the code to make it easier to accommodate media preferences.
One of the nice benefits of using Google to track PR campaigns is that you can see who responds to your news announcements in the media. From gender to age to geographic location, data like this should be tracked and compared to your existing buyer personas and marketing intelligence. A lack of alignment could be a sign that your buyer personas need to be tweaked, that your PR messaging needs to be tweaked, or both.
The demographic data is found under the Audience section of Google Reports. The Demographics – Overview section in particular will tell you about the age and gender of your visitors. Again, reviewing these results will help confirm your messaging and media outreach strategy vis-a-vis your established marketing assumptions.
Other demographic attributes worth reviewing are found under Audience – Interests. Pay particular attention to Affinity Categories and In-Market Segments. Affinity Categories will show you what kinds of interest categories appeal to your audience. Are they into shopping, hobbies, travel, or finance? This will help you further validate the make-up of your buyer personas, and ensure you are appealing to the right audience (right media outlets, right messaging).
In-Market Segments is particularly helpful in that it will show what your audience is actively researching. It can tell you what your visitors are researching when they come to your site, and it may express more serious buyer intent. For example, if your B2B tech company provides a cyber-security SaaS solution, then you would like to see more traffic reflecting the Business Services/Business Technology/Enterprise Software segment as opposed to Travel/Air Travel or Real Estate.
Geography clearly matters to most businesses. If your target market is North America but more traffic comes from Europe, where you may not have any offices and sales infrastructure, then you will want to look more closely at which media outlets you’re targeting during the pitching process.
Acquisition of visitors
Data from this section of Google Analytics is extremely important to your evaluation of PR campaign success. Since not every media outlet will allow you to use a UTM code in press release backlinks, you can use Acquisition – All Traffic – Channels to zero in on traffic originating from specific media outlets.
Pay attention to the Referral Channel Grouping. That will show any traffic coming from particular sites, namely media outlets where you obtained media coverage. There is an undeniable causal relationship between a media outlet covering your news and traffic as measured under the Referral Channel. This is where you can build one of your strongest cases for how successful your PR campaign was at driving traffic to the website.
Spike in homepage traffic
When it comes to how to measure PR for your tech company, don’t overlook the obvious. You can monitor your homepage traffic volumes to see how a media blast of your news and resulting media coverage impacts your homepage traffic on a macro level. For instance, say you tend to average 1,000 visitors a day. On a day when your news gets picked up in multiple media outlets and is shared on various social channels, there should be a corresponding spike in traffic. You can then measure and and share that insight with your marketing peers and executive team.