Basically, it is any and all research designed to determine the relative effectiveness or value of what is done in public relations. In the short-term, PR measurement and evaluation involves assessing the success or failure of specific PR programs, strategies, activities or tactics by measuring the outputs, outtakes and/or outcomes of those programs against a predetermined set of objectives. In the long-term, PR measurement and evaluation involves assessing the success or failure of much broader PR efforts that have as their aim seeking to improve and enhance the relationships that organizations maintain with key constituents More specifically, PR measurement is a way of giving a result a precise dimension, generally by comparison to some standard or baseline and usually is done in a quantifiable or numerical manner. That is, when we measure outputs, outtakes and outcomes, we usually come up with a precise measure — a number; for example, 1,000 brochures distributed 60,000 hits on a website 50% message recall … an 80% increase in awareness levels, etc. PR evaluation determines the value or importance of a PR program or effort, usually through appraisal or comparison with a predetermined set of organization goals and objectives. PR evaluation is somewhat more subjective in nature, or softer, than PR measurement, involving a greater amount of interpretation and judgment calls. Interest in public relations measurement and evaluation has surged in recent years, as the public relations field has grown in size and sophistication, and as those who practice in the field have found themselves more often than ever being asked to be accountable for what they do. Those who supervise or manage an organization’s total communications activities are increasingly asking themselves, their staff members, their agencies and consulting firms, and their research suppliers questions such as these:
— Will those public relations and/or advertising efforts that we initiate actually have an
— Will the communications activities we implement actually change what people?
Know, what they think and feel, and how they actually act?
— What is the impact?
questions such as these have increased in number in recent years, many public relations
This guidebook, which has been revised and edited under the auspices of the Institute for Public Relations Commission on PR Measurement and Evaluation, seeks to set minimum standards when it comes to measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of specific short-term PR programs, strategies, activities and tactics against per-determined outputs, outtakes and outcomes. Those interested in measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of PR efforts aimed at enhancing the long-term relationships that exist between an organization and its key constituents should consult the companion guidebook, “Guidelines for Measuring Relationships in Public Relations.” (www.instituteforpr.com)