Two new links to your site from targeted communities!
A mention on Forbes.com!
All of the new buzz (and traffic)!
Referrals from Placements
The first step toward measuring the value of a public relations campaign is to look at your referrals. This will help you to analyze how much traffic you’ve received from the news outlet or blog you were featured on. You’ll also want to consider how long these visitors spent on your site and how many converted into prospects or took a secondary action.
In addition to our blog brand building, Megalytic has been proactive about contributing content to relevant blogs and news outlets. One blog where I was honored to contribute was Duct Tape Marketing (see my post: The Top Google Analytics Reports for Assessing Mobile Activity). This type of outreach is a great way to build connections, as well as to expose your brand to a much larger audience. Megalytic has received both significant traffic and free trial signups as a result of multiple mentions on Duct Tape Marketing. To look at results from this specific site, we’ll go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals. Once here, we can immediately see ducttapemarketing.com as the top referring site.
In this report, we can see that ducttapemarketing.com drove 577 New Users over this timeframe, introducing a number of people unfamiliar with Megalytic to the product. We can also note that these people looked at close to three pages (Pages/Session) and browsed the site for almost two minutes (Avg. Session Duration). This engagement data shows that Duct Tape Marketing readers didn’t just land on the site and go away, they engaged with content on the site and were interested in learning more about the tool.
Most importantly, in the Conversions section at right, we see that this site generated 32 free trial signups. This tells us that this placement proved valuable well beyond brand awareness, driving a number of people to try the tool right away.
To see more specific information about this placement, we can click the domain in the Referrals report. This will take us to a list of URLs on ducttapemarketing.com that drove Sessions (visits) to Megalytic.
Here we see that multiple blog articles, as well as some miscellaneous URLs from the blog, drove Sessions to the site. We can make a few observations from this data.
- The posts driving the most Sessions don’t necessarily drive the most free trial signups. For example, the August 30 Weekend Favs post (/weekend-favs-august-thirty) drove 263 Sessions but only nine free trial signups, converting at 3%. The Tools for Productivity post (/tools-productivity) drove 260 Sessions and 17 free trial signups, converting at 6.5%.
- In general, higher Avg. Session Duration seems to correlate with higher conversion rate, both on the high volume (in Sessions) Tools for Productivity post and the lower volume Mobile Analytics post.
This data also demonstrates the value of asking publications to link back to your brand in mentions. Besides driving SEO value, linking back will encourage people to click through to your site. An increase in people visiting your site from quality placements can also increase the possibility for an increase in conversions.
Increased Search Activity
Sometimes, PR placements may not drive referrals or conversions that are easy to attribute directly, but they will contribute to brand awareness. Increased brand awareness can show up in your analytics as search activity increases for your business’s brand name.
To evaluate organic search activity for specific keywords, you’ll first need to have Google Webmaster Tools installed for your site and linked with Google Analytics. Once you have done this, you can see Search Query data (i.e., keyword data), in the standard report found under Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Queries.
Using the search bar, you can filter queries to specifically see those including your company’s brand name. If you type in your brand name, results will show any searches that mention your brand name (for example, not just “Megalytic” but also “Megalytic reviews”). You’ll now see a list of all searches in which people referenced your brand. Keep in mind that Webmaster Tools only provides keyword data for the previous three months.
For this particular brand, we can see a 100% increase month over month. Not only did twice as many people search for the brand name (impressions), but twice as many also clicked through to visit the site. This increase reflects awareness for the client’s brand increasing in line with increased recent press exposure.
Keep an eye on brand name searches that are timed with various PR placements going live. You’ll want to watch for increases that may reflect curiosity from people who saw your brand mentioned in an article and decided to conduct a search. Search the Referrals report for each site with a brand placement to determine how many people are visiting, how well they are engaging and how many are completing goals.
Increased Direct Traffic
An increase in direct traffic can also reflect activity from PR placements that may not necessarily include links to your business’s site. This is especially true if PR involves offline placements in print publications, as people may then turn to the web to type in a URL and visit your website directly.
To view Direct traffic, you can go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium and select (direct) / (none) from the list of sources. You’ll then see stats specific to Direct traffic for the timeframe you’re viewing.
In this screenshot, we see a traffic spike around February 3, reflecting an event this business promoted heavily through offline PR. While we don’t see referrals directly from these sources, we do see the impact on driving people to type in the website URL and visit.
Of course, keep in mind that Direct traffic in Google Analytics can include a variety of visit types. Always be aware of dates that PR placements published to be able to correlate these with traffic patterns in Google Analytics.
Google Analytics bolsters your ability to track the results of public relations campaigns, measuring the impact of both online and offline placements via website activity. Specific referrals show data for traffic and conversions, while search activity and direct traffic reflect general increases in interest around your brand. Take the time to monitor these sections of analytics in conjunction with PR campaigns to determine how well they are helping to build your brand.