By: Jacob Hanson
One of the many joys of pursuing PR in the education and ed tech industries is that our work has meaning. Our mission goes way beyond the reach of a publication or the number of impressions you may get from an article.
Speaking of which, is there really any value in impressions or reach? Maybe… or maybe not as much as you might think (or other PR folks might want you to believe).
At PRP, we measure ROI in a few different ways—some are based on actual data or results, while others are not as easy to quantify. One metric we definitely do NOT use is impressions. Here are a few reasons why not:
- Impressions don’t really mean all that much.
So, you might be shaking your head right now. That’s okay, bear with me! Would you as a marketer measure a campaign’s success or failure based on how many emails you sent? Or if you are a sales leader, would your key performance indicator be how many cold calls were made? Absolutely not! That is pretty much what impressions are. They reflect how many people see a certain piece of content, even if they are not engaging with it at all.
- More doesn’t always mean more effective.
If you sat in on an editorial strategy meeting here at PRP, you would never hear discussions about reach numbers or potential impressions we can “earn” for our clients. You would hear many discussions about what publication has the right audience for a particular story or topic. For example, if we were looking to secure a story for a client who is targeting chief information officers, we would never pitch a publication like Scholastic Teacher, even though they have a large reach. They have a wide audience, but not the right audience. A story is much more effective if it reaches its intended audience rather than a large one. This is the essence of effective ed tech PR.
- Why not use real data and measurable, actionable results?
We can’t measure the success (or lack thereof) of a particular story or content piece based on impressions. However, we can concretely measure success in other ways, such as increases in site traffic, bounce rates, specific page performance, and lead conversions.
Those last types of data are crucial because they help us learn so much from a few data points. If an article drives 1,000 page views in a day or two but we aren’t seeing any conversions, it’s possible that we’re not offering the correct corresponding content or conversion paths to help new visitors to raise their hand. Or maybe an article didn’t drive as many page views as we had hoped; in this case, perhaps the title was off, or the timing, or even the publication.
The list goes on, but with impressions, the number stays the same regardless of whether your content was effective or not. So when it comes to measuring ROI, a crucial first decision is choosing a metric that delivers real, actionable information.
Thank you for sharing!