Advancing communications measurement and evaluation

Survey: 100 Executives Reveal the Value of Measuring PR Effectiveness

On behalf of The Measurement Standard, Researchscape included three questions in a recent survey of 100 executives about the effectiveness of the PR agencies they work with. (See below for the exact wording of questions and methodology details.) We found that three quarters of organizations (76%) measure and evaluate the results they receive from PR.

Of those that didn’t, several executives lamented the lack of time or resources to do such an evaluation:

  • “We have not had time to measure results.”
  • “We are a small business and often each of us is doing multiple jobs. Evaluating PR gets pushed aside in the list of things that need accomplished.”

Of those that do measure and evaluate PR, three out of four (75%) regard the findings from this measurement to be very or extremely helpful:

How helpful are the findings you obtain from the measurement and evaluation of your PR results? Sample Size: 75 (75% of Respondents)

Slightly helpful

The eight percent of respondents who found the results only “slightly helpful” criticized the format of their evaluation reports:

  • “Short report, not a lot of detail.”
  • “Their reports are hard to read.”

Or they said it was difficult to determine the impact of their PR work.

Moderately helpful

The 17 percent of executives who found such evaluations to be “moderately helpful” reported a mixed bag:

  • “‘Results are more a matter of perception (albeit positive perceptions), than specifics in terms of accurate rather than indicative measurement.”
  • “I haven’t found a system that truly represents our results in a meaningful way.”
  • “It’s hard to measure everything.”
  • “Nothing spectacular… incremental effectiveness.”
  • “I mean that at times target results are less than expected. Most targets are met; however, there are some segments that need work.”

Very or extremely helpful

Of the 75 percent who found the results “very helpful” or “extremely helpful,” some concentrated on what they learned:

  • “It tells us how much impact our PR company has on advertising our company and products, and speaking on behalf of us.”
  • “It helps me monitor what’s going on.”
  • “Allows us to know what is successful.”
  • “It is very nice to know that the money we spend is worth it.”
  • “So we know what our ROI is.”

Measurement enables improvement

But other executives who found the results “extremely helpful” instead focused on the actions they were able to take as result of the evaluation:

  • “It helps us to determine where we should continue to focus our efforts.”
  • “Evaluate effectiveness of efforts, set objectives, develop strategies.”
  • “We’re able to strategically analyze what we could be doing better.”
  • “It keeps track on what my firm needs to do better.”
  • “Whether or not we’re on the right track and where we need to focus our attention.”

Measurement improves business. Some skipped the whole discussion of the quality of the evaluation to focus on the big-picture benefits they achieved:

  • “It got our business in front of more people and exposed us to a wider target base.”
  • “Our sales have increased 14% since hiring our PR firm.”
  • “We have advanced our brand to be one of the most recognizable to our market.”

And one executive focused on the big picture results for PR agencies: “To determine if we discontinue our relationship with the PR agency or not.”


Here is the wording of the questions we are reporting:

  1. Does your organization measure and evaluate your PR results?
Yes 76%
No 20%
Don’t know 4%


  1. How helpful are the findings you obtain from the measurement and evaluation of your PR results?
Not at all helpful 0%
Slightly helpful 8%
Moderately helpful 17%
Very helpful 45%
Extremely helpful 29%


  1. Why do you say this?


“Measurement” might be as simple as counting press mentions. (Next time we will ask “how?”!)

We surveyed 100 U.S. executives with knowledge of their marketing department’s investments and PR agency. Here are the firmographics of the organizations they work for:

  1. Is your organization primarily B2B, B2C, or B2G?
Business to business 27%
Business to consumer 67%
Business to government 2%
Don’t know 4%


  1. Approximately how many employees work at your organization (all locations)?
Under 100 employees 38%
100-999 employees 34%
1,000-9,999 employees 18%
10,000 or more employees 9%


  1. Which of the following categories best describes your organization’s industry?
Agriculture, Forestry & Mining 1%
Arts & Entertainment 5%
Construction 6%
Education 3%
Finance, Insurance & Real Estate 15%
Government 3%
Healthcare 9%
Hospitality 5%
Internet 2%
Legal 0%
Manufacturing 7%
Nonprofit 3%
Professional Services 26%
Retail 4%
Software 3%
Telecommunications 2%
Transportation & Warehousing 1%
Utilities 1%
Wholesale 3%


Respondents were recruited from a third-party panel. Each has had their identity validated and only one response was permitted per respondent. In exchange for their participation, each respondent was offered points towards a rewards program or an honorarium payable by check or gift card.

For this study, we did not look at non-response bias.


Jeffrey Henning is the president of Researchscape International, a research agency specializing in newsmaker surveys.

Jeffrey Henning

Jeffrey Henning

Founder and President at Researchscape International
Jeffrey Henning is the president of Researchscape International, a research agency specializing in newsmaker surveys.
Jeffrey Henning
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