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Evaluating the media: Online PR goes intangible

PR geekiness - the tools & techniques to gain insights from PR exposure

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Online PR goes intangible

The current theme to this blog is contrasting the differences between measuring conventional and new media. The debate continues on the metrics used to measure online media with the growing rejection of the current default page view model. New methods of page processing mean that often people do not move from their original entry page – only the content before them changes. MySpace and YouTube are obvious examples of these types of site.

Where is the relevance of this to PR? The growing importance on online media means it will feature as an ever expanding element of PR’s output and needs to be effectively measured. As mentioned it was done by page views often derived from a sample of webusers. However web communities are often small and highly specialised meaning they are not accurately represented in a sample.

Jeff Jarvis wrote at the start of the week in The Guardian that the advertising industry is trying to find a replacement which can accurately portray viewing habits. One suggestion is to consider the audience fragmentation as an opportunity to track quality over quantity; for instance what were the step-through pages which lead to a sale?

The measurement of conventional media has possibly left us with the feeling that we must put a specific value on our output. For example, to say we achieved X hundred thousand viewers and readers. Instead (and in the absence of good online metrics) we should consider what proportion of our media coverage featured a key message and in what ways we can measure the positive impact of this messages use, be it through sales, share price or future PR/marketing opportunities. That could all be before considering the impact within your online community where the impact could be measured though mentions on blogs.

Coverage online are intangible assets and interpreting their impact will require experience and skill, qualities which PR has and can capitalise on.


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