Greg Jarboe and Katie Paine.

Why do Digital PR people need to learn about Digital Analytics?

Katie Paine, the CEO of Paine Publishing, and I will be teaching a new course that is designed around the needs of Digital PR and communications professionals, who need to improve their metrics and want to use Google Analytics 4 (GA4) to show their value.

Why do Digital PR people need to learn about Digital Analytics?

This is the latest version of a question that we’ve both wanted to answer since Katie hired me at Lotus Development Corporation back in 1986, when she was the software company’s 12th Director of Corporate Communications. A few months later, she left Lotus, and I became the 13th Director of Corporate Communications. It’s worth noting that the company was only 4-1/2 years old at the time.

After my first month as the director of a department of 24 PR and communications professionals, I took a very thick book of about 700 magazine and newspaper clippings that we’d received since my promotion down the hall to CEO Jim Manzi’s office, and casually dropped it on his desk.

Manzi glanced at my cover memo, which had calculated the Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) of our media coverage. Then, he took a quick look through the clippings and said, “Jarboe, if I could deposit these little pieces of paper in a bank, then I’d know what they were worth. But, until you can measure the impact of PR in cold, hard cash, don’t waste my time with these so-called reports.”

So, perhaps you now understand why both Katie and I have made “measuring what matters” our ongoing mission over the years. I should also mention that Jamie O’Donnell, who co-founded SEO-PR with me in 2003, worked with Katie and me back at Lotus. It also explains why SEO-PR’s slogan and brand tagline is “Results Driven Success.”

Now, Katie has gone on to master innumerable aspects of evaluation. She has founded two measurement companies, KDPaine & Partners Inc. and The Delahaye Group.  She has advised some of the world’s most admired companies and has been a leading promoter of standards in the PR and social media measurement field. And she has been helping companies define success and design measurement programs for their PR, social media, and communications programs for more than 35 years.

Katie’s books, Measuring Public Relationships: The Data-Driven Communicator’s Guide to Success (KDPaine & Partners 2007) and Measure What Matters: Online Tools For Understanding Customers, Social Media, Engagement, and Key Relationships (Wiley, March 2011), are considered must reading for anyone tasked with measuring public relations and social media. Her most recent book, written with Beth Kanter, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, Using Data to Change the World, was the 2013 winner of the Terry McAdam Book Award.

And I can provide 20 years of case studies that demonstrate tactics like press release SEO, social media, video SEO, and integrated marketing communications can generate results-driven success, which even the most cynical, caustic, and curmudgeonly CEO would grudgingly give you credit for producing.

In 2005, SEO-PR and Southwest Airlines won the Golden Ruler Award for Excellence in Public Relations Measurement from the Institute for Public Relations and PR News. Over 14 months, SEO-PR and Southwest Airlines linked $2.5 million in tickets sales to a series of optimized press releases.

In 2010, SEO-PR and SES Conference & Expo won the Best Use of Social Media award at the first Conference Awards. This award was for events which benefited significantly from the use of social media — such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  We were able to demonstrate that our campaign:

  • Improved delegate numbers attributable to use of social media.
  • Attracted delegates who would not have been reached by other traditional marketing channels.
  • Improved discussion and networking opportunities before, during and after the events.
  • Increased value for sponsors of the event and exhibitors.
  • Got excellent feedback from delegates.

In 2013, SEO-PR, Get City Dealz, and Business Wire won both the Best Use of PR in a Search Campaign award in the inaugural U.S. Search Awards as well as the 2013 Excellence in New Communications Award in the Visual Media Category of the Corporate Division of the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) Awards.

We won both awards for a test to see if an online video news release, a photo press release, or a release without multimedia would generate better results for three local merchants that were promoting their best daily deals in New Orleans. We used the Google Campaign URL Builder to add campaign parameters to the URLs in each release so we could measure our Custom Campaign in Google Analytics.

And in 2019, SEO-PR and the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) won the award for Best Use of PR in a Search Campaign in the US Search Awards. SEO-PR and Rutgers SMLR were also finalists in the Best Integrated Campaign category.

An analysis of the launch campaign using Google Analytics found that an optimized press release on Business Wire, duplicate news content on SMLR’s website, and an optimized landing page generated 4% of the traffic to a landing page, but 27% of the leads for a new online master’s degree program.

And these results were all achieved before GA4 became the next generation of Google Analytics on July 1, 2023.

So, you’ll have the right instructors to teach this new GA4 training course, which Katie and I will be teaching in September. Here’s an overview of the 12 questions that the course is designed to help Digital PR and Communications professionals to answer:

First class on Sept. 6:

  • What should you double-check in your website’s GA4 configuration?
  • How do you measure your PR campaigns in GA4?
  • Why should you measure your communication programs in GA4?

Second class on Sept. 13:

  • What “events” and conversions should you measure in GA4?
  • How do you measure “events” and conversions in GA4?
  • Why should you measure “micro conversions” in GA4?

Third class on Sept. 20:

  • What can you learn by comparing GA4’s two conversion models?
  • How should you analyze GA4’s different report collections?
  • Why should you explore GA4 for deeper insights?

Fourth class on Sept. 27:

  • What can you learn from Analytics Intelligence?
  • How do you create PR audiences in GA4?
  • Why should you enable remarketing for PR audiences?

Now, some of this may be Greek to you. But using GA4 to learn how people use your site or app and show that Digital PR campaigns and Communications programs have had a measurable impact is a game changer, whether your organization’s business objectives are:

  • Raise brand awareness.
  • Generate leads.
  • Drive online sales.

If you want more information or would like to register, go to Google Analytics 4 for PR & Communications. Whether you’ve been using Google Analytics for years and want help making the transition to GA4, or you just want to up your measurement game, this training course is for you.

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