Google Analytics 101: How can it aid your PR strategy?

29.01.19 Digital World

We’ve given you tips on how to create an editorial calendar, the role of creativity in your PR campaign, how to write your press release, and the best times to send out your release.

But how do you measure success after all that work has been carried out? What learnings can you take from your efforts to improve your next campaign?

The core goal of PR is to build brand awareness and control the voice of your brand in the media. While the true value of PR efforts can never be fully captured in a spreadsheet, Google Analytics can be used as a broad-based platform to give solid facts and figures about the Return On Investment of carrying out PR.

Google Analytics should be used to make smarter decisions– to help shape, drive, measure and evaluate PR and comms activity.

Here’s how Google Analytics can help define the success of your PR strategy:

Who’s your target audience?

Before the internet age, PR pros had to make educated guesses about their audiences.

There’s no point planning for a strategy or campaign if you don’t know who you’re planning it for. To figure this out, look at who are already engaging with you the most. All you need to do is link your website to Google Analytics through your own email account to get a world of information about your visitors.

Under ‘All Website Data’, click on the ‘Audience’ tab. This will tell you what countries your visitors are coming from. Under the ‘Demographics’ tab you can find out the gender and age breakdown of your visitors.

The further you explore the tabs under the“Audience” menu, the more in depth the analytics become. You can find out what your audience’s interests are? Do they look at your site on desktop, tablets or mobile? What percentage of your visitors are new compared and who has visited before? All of this is critical information to figure out who you need to target.

When you understand your audience’s habits and patterns, it can help improve your overall PR strategy as well as give a deep understanding of the content your audience is engaging with, and when they’re most active.

Driving awareness

Now that you know who your target audience are and have incorporated your strategy to reflect this, how are you going to measure success?

For most campaigns, the goal is for awareness or action to be taken and Google Analytics can tell you both. Click on the ‘Audience’ tab to look at your results.

You can see the number of people who visited a specific page on your site which is great but that doesn’t tell you where they’ve come from or if they actually engaged with your content.

You need to check the channels to see where your visits came from. Did they find your content organically through search engines, did they come directly, eg someone typed in the URL, did they come from another website as a referral or was it through your social efforts?

A good indicator of awareness is how much time your audience actually spends on your content. If the average time is less than 30 seconds, it means they’re not engaged. If it’s above two minutes, the chances are they are digesting your content.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on your bounce rate as they will tell you how many people left your site after looking at a single page. To keep your bounce rate low, make sure you have plenty of high-quality content to keep your audience interested

To keep your bounce rate low, make sure your site is rich in content. You also need to ensure that it’s easy to navigate and your content links back to other posts. 

Monitor social channels

Whether it’s paid or organic posts, Google Analytics is a great tool for analysing social efforts and reporting on your social media traffic. Under the ‘Acquisition tab’ it will tell you what percentage of your website traffic is coming from social, the number of users that came from each individual social media platform, the news users, sessions, and bounce rates.

When armed with this information you can make informed decisions on which social media platform is bringing the most traffic to your content and which ones need more attention.

You can compare the ratio of new visitors vs. a return visitor. For example, if the visitors are not returning often, you can tweak your campaign next time round to boost engagement.