How to Measure Public Relations Effectiveness?


Todd Murphy Vice President Universal Information Services news monitoring and PR measurement Todd Murphy, Vice President, Universal Information Services

Measure Your Outcomes

By now most PR professionals understand that in order to be effective in their work they must measure outcomes. Your goals and objectives are established at the beginning of your public relations campaign, you do the work, then measure the outcomes. Often times those individuals charged with measuring the effectiveness of their campaign may only look at outputs, such as media mentions, likes, retweets, or other volume based metrics. I’m not going to call those “vanity metrics”, as some measurement firms might, because in the world of real data science it can be successfully argued that all outputs can have an impact on your outcomes.

It’s true, some outputs have a much smaller impact on the effectiveness of your campaign, but like a butterfly’s wings every output has the potential to influence your target audience. I’ve written previously on the potential energy of a PR effort, outlining the physics concept of enthalpy as being analogous to your PR effort. Every public relations campaign has potential energy, but how effective you are at executing on your PR strategy will ultimately demonstrate your success or failure.

Universal Information Services Public Relations Impact Score

Measuring PR Impact, and beyond

Many years ago Universal Information Services was the first to develop an Impact Score. This key metric generated a value based on outcomes, qualitative measures, and worked within the Barcelona principles to provide PR professionals with a more valid way to measure the Impact of their efforts. Our measurement team can show impact from media types, key messages, time frames, or any other outcome we are analyzing. We are now most excited about our current research into the effectiveness of a public relations effort.

An Impact Score accounts for both internal and external inputs, comprehensively measuring the impact of media exposure on your desired outcomes. Our research team now wants to help those who wish to understand how effective their public relations strategy and efforts are in achieving desired outcomes. Towards this end we have put our resources toward developing a new metric we call the EQ Score.

Measuring Effective Public Relations

The EQ, in EQ Score, stands for “Effectiveness Quotient” and results from a formula measuring how effectively a public relations professional or campaign is moving their paid, earned, shared, and owned media exposure (PESO) in a desired direction. The goal is to use measurement methods that generate reliable data, and present results in numeric and graphic formats, while communicating PR productivity in a language both PR professionals and non PR management understand. Comparing your effectiveness between campaigns and across time, we feel, will become a critical tool for any public relations effort.

What’s Next for PR Measurement? 

We feel the answer to the above question is simple. PR practitioners have neither the time nor the access to research needed to develop the measures for evaluating their effectiveness. This research is up to the firms they entrust to measure their public relations campaigns, brands, services, and reputations. Recently, the challenge to the media measurement industry has been issued through the feedback PR professionals provide at industry conferences. Our answer to their questions is the development of the EQ Score, but we need to know what else practitioners need. Please leave a comment if we can focus our attention in a specific area of public relations measurement. Our industry is here to serve those who need true media intelligence and insight.


  1. Ford Kanzler on at 10:16 AM

    Sorry, but the article didn’t really deliver on the headline (?). It felt mostly like a business promo.

    • No need to apologize for your comment, it wouldn’t be the first time my text obscured the message. It is true, my company is in the final stages of our research to develop a reliable metric for PR effectiveness. Is it completed, no. But with the annual AMEC meeting in Bangkok this past week we felt compelled to inform our peers of the efforts. Thanks for reading.

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