How to Measure Press Release ROI

Return on investment (ROI) is a critical measure of success in any line of work. A widespread public relations issue we come across is the ability to measure press release ROI.  

June 16, 2021

Return on investment (ROI) is a critical measure of success in any line of work. A widespread public relations issue we come across is the ability to measure press release ROI.

Return on investment (ROI) is a critical measure of success in any line of work. A widespread public relations issue we come across is the ability to measure press release ROI.

With PR measurement tools becoming more prominent, it’s more important than ever for PR professionals to monitor and measure the success of their work - and there’s a clear need for guidance on how to navigate press release ROI. 

Read on for our tips and tricks on how to track press release success. 


The History of Press Release Measurement

Back in the “old” days, when the internet had minimal existence and hard copy publications were the norm, tracking press release success was a tedious, manual process. PR agencies would find printed placements of a client’s press release and then provide an estimated number of people who read each publication.

This would give their client an idea of their press release ROI. And that was that.

Accurate? Absolutely not. But it’s the best they could do.


Press Release ROI: Moving From Outputs to Outcomes and Impact

In today’s online world, a common mistake is to measure press release ROI simply by looking at the number of publications where a release was published. Yes, the main goal of PR professionals is to get coverage for their company or client - but it’s not always the case.

With increasing frequency in PR, ROI is moving from outputs to outcomes and impact. Output metrics track activity (media reach, press releases issued, etc.) but fail to address the effect or impact of press releases.

Measuring outcomes and impact is more strategic because it looks at the effects and results of your communication on your audience.

Output Metrics:

  • Reach, advertising value equivalency (AVE), hits, impressions. 

  • Why are they not enough? The industry is leaning toward a more nuanced and multi-faceted approach to understand the impact of communications—not just the amount and volume of activity. Output metrics are often vague, don’t prove the value of the work, and lack precision.

Outcome Metrics:

  • Trust levels, website traffic, higher rankings for specific keywords, registration, leads.

Impact Metrics:

  • Customer retention, increase in sales, reputational change, competitive positioning. 

  • ​​​Why are they so important? All these metrics provide the segmented, specific data required for a tailored approach to measuring performance against overarching business objectives. Outcome metrics don’t stop at quantifying. They help PR professionals understand how messages are being received and interpreted. Impact metrics go one step further to demonstrate results—business goals and organizational objectives.
     

How to Measure Press Release ROI


Press releases are often criticized for being irrelevant and “old school” in the world of social media and real-time brand communications. However, savvy practitioners know that press releases still provide value. They continue to be used as part of a strategic media mix, remaining an effective way to reach targeted audiences, including global media and niche verticals. 

To combat the notion of fake news, press releases provide media, customers, and investors with verified, straight-from-the-source content on behalf of brands.

But can you really measure the ROI of a press release? Here’s how to do it: 
 

  1. Media inquiries: How many requests for interviews or additional information did your release generate? 
     

  2. Earned media: How much coverage resulted from your release? 
     

  3. Social media activity: What conversations (mentions, sentiment) across social did your release spark? 
     

  4. Event registrations/content downloads: How many people registered for your event or downloaded a gated asset? Using tracking links in your releases makes this response easier to track.
     

  5. Lead generation: How many sales-ready prospects signed up for a product demo or event? Again, take advantage of tracking links to see who responded to specific call-to-actions in your press release.
     

Press Release Distribution with Intrado Digital Media


As part of Intrado Digital Media, GlobeNewswire is focused on providing clients with high-quality press release distribution options —because our goal is to enable your success. 

With GlobeNewswire, you can share your news with media, investors, and consumers with targeted distribution options from one of the world’s largest and most trusted newswires. 

You can then measure ROI and understand how your press releases impact your business and brand. With our Newswire Analytics, you can Instantly connect to the data you need to help measure the performance of your GlobeNewswire-distributed releases.

Learn more about GlobeNewswire today.