Is ‘return on PR spend’ the next big metric?

Public relations professionals should take a page from our advertising cohorts and start documenting the cost-benefit analysis of campaigns.

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Recently on Twitter, New York Times writer Farhad Manjoo debated common misconceptions of what constitutes PR success. His argument highlights our industry’s failure to adopt a definitive set of data points we can use to justify our existence.

It’s time to develop a “return on PR spend” (ROPRS) metric that can demonstrate the ROI of any given PR campaign.

Here are some thoughts on how to develop a more substantive measurement similar to ROAS:

How ROAS is calculated

ROAS measures gross revenue generated from each dollar spent on advertising. It represents revenue generated from an advertising campaign as compared to the total campaign cost.

With this metric, marketing is a necessary cost, rather than an investment to incrementally produce profits (as is the case in PR at times).

Defining ROPRS

ROPRS would measure revenue generated for every dollar spent on a PR campaign. Compare revenue produced by a PR campaign to the total campaign cost.

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