Early on in my PR career I discovered that I could very easily “defend” PR as a function when I showed management some numbers. My discovery wasn’t unique but I didn’t understand how unusual it was among PR people until I started hanging out with the crowd at Delahaye. In the mid ’90s I became their first global client, measuring PR results and message communication in every country we did PR in, which was quite a few. More importantly, we used that data to change and tweak our PR programs.
Fast forward to the Beacon Street Girls. Suddenly I am working with real numbers — big numbers — the beauty of a consumer-brand. And I have the ability to do A-B testing (even A-B-C-D and more testing.) I can divide up my email lists, check open and click-thru rates, and experiment like I never could in a B2B environment where a HUGE campaign might net just a few hundred or a few thousands leads. I also have fantastic direct access to numbers — I dive right into Google Analytics, or Constant Contact reports, and navigate the data myself, making discoveries I would have never made if I had been presented with a static report. (OK, some of it was not surprising — our best click-thru rates are connected to anything having to do with those tween/teen heart throbs, the Jonas Brothers.)
Suddenly, years of working with Business Intelligence software companies caught up with me and I felt truly connected to the importance of live access to data.
Meanwhile, I am helping a friend experiment with an online business model and in exchange he has given me access to information I think no other Twitterer has access to. I can see how many people click through to the links I post to sites OTHER than my own. Yes, I can look at Google Analytics and see who has visited my site and what interests them but who else can say they know who is clicking through to other people’s sites based on their tweets, AND other people’s retweets of their initial posting? It is a unique window.
Do you know of any other way to measure this traffic? I don’t. I will preserve my friend’s competitive advantage while he works on the solution but wondering if there is any other way to measure interest among your followers?
And, if you are a marketing or PR manager, what are you doing to stay connected to your data, and measure the success of your programs?