Published on 12th November 2021
This insight post is a summary of the original blog post published by Kayla Rodriguez and Sally Slater of The Bliss Group.
PR and marketing professionals notoriously don’t gravitate to numbers. We’re creatives, storytellers and above all else, words people.
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But with the advent of web analytics and artificial intelligence, numbers can be a PR practioners’ new best friend. The days of decision by gut instinct are behind us. Data reigns supreme, replete with quantifiable evidence that can prove or disprove our theories, measure program impact, gauge audience interests and behaviors and uncover opportunities to optimize performance. The communications strategies of the future will increasingly be one part art, one part data science.
Where analytics has gained the most traction in the industry to date is measurement and reporting. Demonstrating the ROI of public relations and marketing campaigns has long been an uphill battle. As reporting requests grow more frequent and more elaborate, collecting and collating the data can eat up a sizable chunk of retainer hours. Analytics can streamline reporting efforts and provide better metrics that resonate with business leaders outside the marketing function. Relational databases allow us to build dashboards with KPIs tailored to different stakeholders, and data visualizations help us relay the numbers in the most compelling way. And instead of using ad value equivalency, we can use attribution analytics to tie earned media directly to the sales funnel.
However, reporting efficiencies are just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some of the ways analytics and AI are transforming the communications landscape:
Analytics and AI can accelerate unwieldy competitor audits by automating data collection processes to quickly generate competitive benchmarks and insights on performance. Analyzing earned share of voice with tools like Cision and Meltwater is standard fare at this point. You may be less familiar with SimilarWeb, which lets you view your competitors’ website traffic (ethically!), or Newswhip, which not only measures social engagement on your competitors’ content, but it also predicts which competitor content will perform best next.
The holy grail of insights, audience analytics can be used to get a 360-degree view of your customers and the influencers who shape their opinions and decision-making. There are plenty of social listening platforms out there that will give you surface-level intelligence on broad market categories or topics of conversation. But to truly understand what your target audiences care about, who they respect, how they consume content and when you need to go deeper. We refer to this as audience architecture, the structural elements that shape human behaviors and outcomes. With machine learning techniques, you can identify and track hyper-targeted audiences to construct a dynamic view of those structural elements and use those insights as the foundation of everything that you do.
By leveraging analytics to map where key audiences go online to read and share content, you can more efficiently allocate media spend to those channels and outlets. Not only can you drive more website visits, you can drive more of the right visitors to your website. This applies to search strategy and keyword spend as well. By understanding the language your audiences use when they ask peers questions online about products and services, you can tailor your SEO strategy to match their language and optimize your web content to address gaps in knowledge.
To read the full blog post with more insights on ABM and sales team enablement, read “From Insights to Actions: a PR Pro’s Guide to Analytics.” You can get insights from other partners about Strategy and Digital Marketing Trends.
AGENCY PROMO & BIO:
Bliss Integrated Communication is an award-winning strategic marketing and communication firm based out of New York. They have expertise in public relations and marketing strategy and execution, social media management, and content development.
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