ROI (Return on investment) is a way to measure and evaluate the efficiency of an investment. It can be difficult to calculate ROI, so this guide will show the best ways to measure it and how to use it in your digital PR strategy.

What is ROI in PR?

It is important to understand that ROI in PR and marketing is generally split into two categories; monetary gains like sales revenue increases and earned media gains that increase a startup’s reputation and credibility. Businesses are quite familiar with a company’s monetary gains because it has existed before social media and technology. However, nowadays it is important not to neglect earned media gains if you want your startup to be successful. If you want to achieve an accurate ROI for your PR strategy, it is important to understand both.

ROI for PR today

What is a press release and what’s its purpose?

In order to get a better understanding of what goes into a press release, you can take a look at press release templates to get a detailed understanding and a step-by-step guide to writing a press release. Basically, the goal of a press release is to gain media coverage by sending it to media outlets. It is one of the main components of a well-balanced PR and media strategy. 

ROI can be a bit difficult to measure. Impressions and media mentions can provide a sense of efficiency in a PR campaign. However, they can be meaningless if you can’t contextualize the numbers around well-defined strategy goals.

It is important to understand that you need to constantly be checking your metrics because things are constantly changing whether in a negative or positive way. Just judging and analyzing your initial PR gains can be a big mistake if you are only considering site sessions or publication appearances. Metrics could lead you to believe that the PR campaign is going better or worse than it actually is.

If your site creates content designed to build social proof, looking at the metrics and amount of content impressions would be pointless. This is because there would be another way to measure its industry credibility by lead conversion rates.

What’s its purpose?

In order to correctly use metrics, you would need to give the data obtained a framework that describes the purpose of your PR strategy. Here are some that you can use to measure the ROI of your PR campaigns:

  • Page Impressions – Every time a page on your site appears on a Google ad or SERP.
  • Social Media Likes/Shares – The amount of interactions visitors have with one of your social media posts.
  • Page Click Through Rate – The ratio of page impressions to page views
  • Page Views – Every time a page on your site is clicked on a Google ad or SERP.
  • Bounce Rate – The ratio of single page sessions on your site to multiple page sessions.
  • Average Page View Duration – The average time visitors spent on a particular page.
  • Goal Conversions – The number of measurable goals completed, such as scheduled calls.


How to measure PR ROI

At the moment, there are two strategies to measure ROI in PR:

Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles

The Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles has shown the importance of measurable goals. This metric places emphasis on achievements and it does it without letting go of the less attainable metrics because there are many components of success.

It also takes into account new technology such as social media and understands its role in ROI PR and it deserves the same attention as any type of monetary ROI for PR strategy.

However, what the principles lack is that they do not make perfect and concrete steps towards a framework for ROI calculations

In spite of their clear support for quantifying returns on PR in a meaningful way, the principles don’t enable startups with mathematical formulas to draw objective conclusions from their PR efforts.

Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE)

A more simple way to measuring all ROI activity, it multiplies the amount of ad space or “seconds” mentioned on a broadcast network by a medium’s advertising rate.

The only problem is that it can be considered to be an outdated system of measuring ROI

How are we measuring PR ROI?

Here are some of the factors that people use to measure ROI in their PR campaigns.

Social Media Posts

Social media PR is key when it comes to creating a buzz around your startup.

In addition to being key to any PR campaign, social media platforms give startups:

  • Increased organic visibility
  • Improved traffic to the website
  • Heightened brand awareness
  • Faster and easier communication

Social media is a great place to build an online presence for your brand. Given the amount of time people spend on social media each day, these platforms provide a valuable opportunity to engage directly with your target audience. By building relationships with potential clients online, you can convert more leads into paying customers and generate a sense of brand loyalty. Furthermore, engaging directly with the people you’re selling products to will help you identify their needs. Once you understand what these people need, you can develop products that meet their needs better.

How do we measure the ROI of social media posts?

If you’re posting to encourage people to sign up to a newsletter or webinar, then consider the following metrics your key indicators of success:

  • Signup conversions
  • Impression to signup conversion rate

If your posts are more focused on increasing your site’s reach and increasing your brand awareness:

  • Impressions
  • Click-through rate
  • Estimated Reach
  • Social Media Mentions

How to track PR ROI long-term?

There are individual measures of ROI in your PR strategy, but how does it work in the long run?

There are three fields that can indicate real ROI in a PR campaign:

Brand awareness and loyalty

A continuous look at metrics like traffic and social media shares can show long-term increases and improvements as well as new business opportunities. If you’re getting better at retaining your customers after they convert, then you know you’re doing well. However, if you keep losing clients, you need to look into your customer acquisition strategy and figure out how to adapt it to serve your customers once they’ve already converted.

Additionally, you can monitor activities such as blog posts, guest articles, and social media interactions through the process of site engagement, becoming leads, and converting.

Industry credibility

You need to be seen as somewhat of an industry expert so that consumers of your startup believe that you are reliable and trustworthy. Trying to win some earned media because this will build social proof and attract new business.

Increasingly positive reputation

Increasing your positive reputation relies on you creating positive customer experiences as well as how your customers communicate this to the world. Getting good feedback from existing customers matters.

In terms of PR ROI, we can also look at the social media shares/likes on positive customer experience stories and audience engagement in press release announcements regarding customer milestones.


It is important to review the ROI of your startup frequently so that you know where your company stands. Whether you are using the 2 strategies listed above or using social media and earned media, monitoring your business not only gives you an idea how you’re doing at the moment but also gives you insight into what the future holds for your business.

Do you need help building a PR strategy that will generate an impressive ROI? With Pressfarm‘s affordable PR packages, you can get a winning press release, engaging guest posts and a creative media kit for your brand, all of which will help you stand out in your industry.

What’s more, beyond creating quality content for you, the experts at Pressfarm are skilled at distributing this content to share it with the right target audiences. By submitting your content to respected media outlets as well as startup directories, Pressfarm can boost your brand’s online presence. With curated media lists from an account executive combined with access to a comprehensive database of over 1 million contacts, you can connect with the best journalists in your niche.

Pressfarm’s professional PR services could be just what you need to give your brand a boost.