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Optimizing your PR metrics with the help of Google Analytics

If you want to prove your PR and earned media efforts are positively impacting the business, you must back up your program with meaningful metrics. That means more than just impressions and clip counts, folks. The data made possible through Google Analytics – some of which you’re already gathering to measure other digital marketing efforts – can be optimized for your PR program, too. Here is a handful of simple ways to make that happen.

Utilize tagged links

Google Analytics can help track customer acquisition from your marketing efforts such as paid search and email campaigns. The function can also be used to attribute visits to PR efforts.

When linking to your website in owned content (including social posts), always create a unique tagged link so you can track it back to the post. That way, you can know what type of content is performing best to help guide future ideation.

Earned content is a bit trickier. At the end of the day, it comes down to whether the editor will allow the link to be published. It’s worth trying, but there’s no guarantee (see the next tip for a workaround).

An added bonus? Links also help with your SEO impact. Google gives priority in search to companies with the greatest number of relevant backlinks—and news websites are among the highest authority backlinks you can get.

Set up annotations

If your tagged links don’t get published, it doesn’t have to be the end of the road for attributing website visitors to PR efforts. Another way to proactively know is by keeping track of when coverage hits using annotations (notes to yourself or your team on the data).

Look at spikes in your web traffic. Some are easily attributable, like those that coincide with the launch of an AdWords campaign. But there might also be some mystery spikes. By using annotations, you can mark certain milestones to correlate spikes in traffic to earned media, such as a press release distribution over the Wire or coverage in a high-reach publication. That way, you can attribute traffic to your PR efforts, making your program more tangible.



The key is to annotate as placements publish. Trying to do it after the fact is much clunkier and less likely to happen. Make it a best practice to do it in real-time.

Track goal conversions

Imagine standing in front of your executive team, saying, “Our article in the Washington Post generated 100 visitors to our landing page. They stayed on the page for one minute on average, and 20 of those visits turned into demo requests.”

That scenario doesn’t have to live only in your dreams. Expand what you’re tracking with goal conversions to include actions taken with PR efforts, too. Think about what behaviors are high-value to your business and add them as goal conversions. Sky’s the limit here – you can set up as many goals as you want (time spent on the page, e-book downloads, number of website pages visited, etc.)!

Get customer insight

You’ve probably looked at your Behavior Flow chart to see where customers are dropping off. Think about what content can be added to keep them engaged. What are they looking for that they aren’t getting?

Take some time to break down how your users are interacting with your website after coverage in a trade publication or a blog post is published. That way, you can be smarter about how to direct customers, like creating tailored landing pages or more specific calls to action.

Google Analytics has an abundance of information. The key is knowing how to make it work for you. Having metrics to back up your program can help sell the value of PR to the C-suite. We’ve helped clients turn skeptics into believers. Need some help getting started? Contact us to learn more:

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