Google Analytics for PR – What do you need to know? (Part Two)

In the second of these blog posts, we look at how PR professionals can use the GA tools to demonstrate the ROI on a company’s PR investment.

Missed part one? Then click here to find out the first three top tips for Google Analytics (GA) for PR.

In the second of these blog posts, we look at how PR professionals can use the GA tools to demonstrate the ROI on a company’s PR investment.

1.       Attribution Analysis

How many times have you been asked ‘how is PR going to help with sales leads/increase website traffic?’ I’m going to guess a fair few times. I’m also going to presume it was met with a sigh and the explanation that PR works as part of a wider marketing mix and contributes to the end goal. The good news is that GA allows you to do attribution analysis, which will help demonstrate the direct and indirect links of different elements of the marketing mix.

To be able to effectively use this, you need to understand what elements are part of the campaign, have goals set up (remember them from Part One?) and attribute a value to these goals.

With all this in place you can track the behaviour of the users and understand the different elements that contributed to your end goal, e.g. a sale or download of content. Let’s take a use case – you’ve developed a whitepaper that you want users to download. You’ve already set your goal, most likely in this case to be an event based goal, and set the value. To promote this campaign, you’ve got several different elements – you’re doing an email shot, adding it to a newsletter, setting up social media campaigns on Twitter and LinkedIn, distributing a press release and, of course, promoting it on your website and via banner ads. A visitor has downloaded it, and whilst in the past that may have just been attributed to the user directly going to your website resource section and downloading it, that may have just been the final stage of that process. In reality, the visitor first saw your email shot and clicked through, but got distracted and didn’t download it, then they read two press articles, saw a LinkedIn post, a Tweet and finally an ad – then they downloaded it!

The benefits of attribution analysis speak for itself as you can finally obtain a value for the activity and demonstrate how all elements of the PR and Marketing mix contribute to the end result.

2.       Real-time monitoring

Now this one is a little bit funky and perfect if you have bagged your CEO a slot on a TV or radio broadcast and want to know the real-time value of the interview. Few people know that you can access real-time monitoring data on GA. That’s right – you can see how many people are on your website at that precise second and see what pages they are viewing.

So, Mr CEO is going to appear on the BBC Breakfast show at 8.10am to talk about the latest cyber hacking attack. So, you login to GA at 8.09am and no-one is on the website. Once the interview starts, and a nice company name drop is given by the presenters, suddenly you can see people are checking out your website. Within minutes your website traffic could go from 0 to the hundreds. Better still you can see what pages are being looked at, and if you have a search bar on your site, can even see what terms they are looking for.

As well as celebrating the fact that your CEO has been on national television to an audience of millions, now you can confidently tell your CEO that the immediate impact of the six-minute broadcast interview generated, let’s say for arguments sake, 300 visitors to your site and they were interested in the ‘About Us’ section of the website and then searched ‘APT detection’.

3.       Reporting

It’s fair to say you could have a field day with all the reports that you could pull from GA. Everything ranging from audience demographics (anonymised data of course) through to what pages they visited, how long they were on the website for, what terms people searched for the most. The list is endless. However, don’t just report for reporting’s sake.

What you need to do is ascertain what reports would provide you with the data that most justify your investment in PR and provide actionable learning points so that you can make informed business decisions. Create a personalised dashboard of the data that meets your measurement criteria and reflects the success of your goals. This can then be regularly updated and automatically sent to your or another designated email address.

There is so much to do and access within Google Analytics, and many supplementary tools that you can use to enhance your data and analysis, that it could be easy to get carried away with it all. Now is an interesting time to get to grips with GA as a new user interface is expected to launch in the not too distant future and new analysis sections are being added and modified all the time.

But as long as you remember, as a minimum, to get the account and view set-ups right and set your goals then you will be in good stead to start unlocking some of the insights that GA can provide you with.


Kim is an Account Director at éclat representing clients in the IT and physical security, broadcast and telecoms space. Despite graduating from Liverpool John Moores University with a degree in International Journalism, she turned to the dark side in 2008 to pursue a career in PR. She is also a running and wine drinking enthusiast (preferably in that order). Connect with Kim on LinkedInTwitter or Google+

Is education the best form of defence?

Google Analytics for PR – What do you need to know? (Part One)