#MeasureForSuccess: 3 Categories of Metrics to Show the True Success of PR

Everyone in marketing (I hope) will agree that measurement has value. But from a measurement perspective, why does PR receive special treatment from other marketing departments? When asked to show the performance of PR, many professionals present share of voice (SOV), impressions, unique monthly visitors – all general awareness metrics. Very few PR professionals provide their clients with more meaningful metrics that speak to the quality of coverage, and even less are those who present the business impact of PR efforts. For the C-Suite to take PR seriously, we need to take measurement seriously. And to do that, we need to provide our clients with serious metrics that show the success and value of PR.

Here at Spark, we take measurement seriously and we want to start a movement to #MeasureForSuccess. Kicking the off the movement we will share with you some of our best measurement practices that inform client strategy and support program success. In doing so, we hope to encourage others to provide their own clients with metrics that will help in validating the success of their PR programs.

There are three categories of metrics that are vital in painting a complete picture of PR performance: General Awareness, Coverage Quality, and Business Impact. Here are the categories we use at Spark, along with example metrics and their descriptions.

General Awareness

Share of Voice

Typically presented in a pie chart, SOV is the number of earned mentions a brand and it’s competitors gain from news, blogs and/or social media conversations.

Total Number of Mentions

The total number of earned mentions for your brand trended over a given period of time.

Unique Monthly Visitors (UMVs)

The number of visitors per month to a specific publication.


The number of times your content is displayed or “impressed” upon a screen.

Coverage Quality

Mention Prominence

Metric: Headline-lead paragraph mention vs. Body mention
Value: A mention is more likely to be seen if it occurs in the headline or lead paragraph of an article versus in the lower body.

Mention Depth

Metric: Feature mention vs. Passing mention
Value: A mention is more likely to be seen if it is a feature article versus only a passing mention, as in a round-up.


Metric: Positive, Neutral, Negative
Value: This allows an assessment of how a brand is perceived in coverage.

Publication Type

Metric: Business Press, Vertical (or Trade), Technology (or IT)
Value: This assesses what type of publications a brand’s coverage is most often shown in. This allows brands to pitch different publications, or redirect media efforts if necessary.

Article Type

Metric: Financial/Stock, Executive News, Product Story, Product Announcement, Industry, Customer Story, Partnership/Acquisition, Award/Honors, Events, Legal News, Corporate Story, etc.
Value: This allows brands to assess what storylines are working, and redirect media efforts accordingly.

Article Origin

Metric: PR vs. Organic
Value: This allows brands to assess who is responsible for their mention/coverage.

Publication Tier

Metric: Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3
Value: This assesses the importance of the publication a brand’s mention was included in. Tier 1 publications are primary targets, Tier 2 are secondary and Tier 3 are of tertiary importance.

Executive Mention

Value: This allows brands to track when and where executives are mentioned and tracks the success of a Thought Leadership program.

Customer Quote

Value: This allows brands to track when and where customers are quoted and tracks the success of a Customer Advocacy program.

Business Impact

Site Traffic

Using Google Analytics, correlate earned media coverage (via referrals) with website traffic (number of sessions).

Goal Completions

Using Google Analytics, correlate earned media coverage (via referrals) with defined goal completions (demo requests, content downloads, new business inquiries, etc.).

Lead Generation

Using a brand’s in-house Business Intelligence (BI) platform, how many new leads resulted from earned media/PR coverage.

New Customers

Using a brand’s in-house BI platform, how many new customers (and their value) resulted from earned media/PR coverage.

Do you have any thoughts on how to improve the quality of PR & communications measurement and #MeasureForSuccess? What roadblocks have you had to face in PR measurement implementation?

Please share in the comment section below! Or tweet us at @sparkpr using the hashtag #MeasureForSuccess.

About Alex


Alexander Romero-Wilson is currently a Senior Analyst at Spark, a data-driven integrated communications agency that focuses on the technology and consumer markets. He was previously a Senior Analyst at Eastwick, a Social and Digital Strategy Intern at H3O Communications, and a Jr. Social Media Analyst at the award winning communications agency, WCG.