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Measurement Standardization

Moving Toward Industry Agreement

The public relations industry, by its own admission, has been slow to adopt standard measurement techniques, something that advertising, direct mail and other marketing and communications disciplines have been using to their advantage for years.

Measurement and evaluation techniques that are widely understood, accepted and implemented are critical to the acceptance and growth of public relations. For that reason, PRSA has embarked on an effort to identify standard approaches for measuring the impact of public relations, convening a Measurement Task Force comprised of the current and past chairs of the Institute for Public Relations' Commission on Public Relations Measurement and Evaluation.

As part of the Business Case for Public Relations, the Measurement Task Force recently issued a broad set of recommended measurement standards for a variety of public relations tactics and outcomes. 

Coalition for Public Relations Research Interim Standards

The Coalition for Public Relations Research Standards has developed the first round of interim standards to be used by General Electric, McDonald’s USA, General Motors and Southwest Airlines. The four companies are major buyers of public relations research and measurement services.

This first set of interim standards covers traditional media measurement, digital and social media measurement, return on investment and the communications lifecycle. A breakdown of the interim standards can be found in the links below.

Traditional Media Measurement

Digital & Social Media Measurement

Return on Investment

Communications Lifecycle


Documenting the Business Outcomes of Public Relations

The recommendations include suggested metrics and approaches for evaluating public relations’ influence on four main business outcomes: Financial, Reputation / Brand Equity, Employees and other Internal Publics and Public Policy. After allowing sufficient time to solicit and incorporate industry comment, the Measurement Task Force will publish its recommendations, in what hopefully will be the initial step in a cumulative and ongoing effort to make it easier for practitioners to embrace measurement as part of their customary approach to the practice of public relations.