ROI in Public Relations

The measurement of Public Relations campaigns and tasks is a lot to gage. The various types of measurements that can take place on different aspects of a campaign solely come down to a PR team’s ROI, Return on Investment. ROI is used by various public relations professionals to measure the success they are creating for their clients.

One way that public relations professionals use ROI is through social media. When looking through various social media platforms used by a company, ROI measurements help decipher which posts are receiving the most attention from the public eye. Using the ROI measurements they, “Consider how many mentions are mainstream or first-tier and how many  are less popular, yet highly influential” (Obrien, 2013). Professionals are also able to assess the quality and impacts their campaigns are making on the public.

When PR professionals are measuring their campaigns through an ROI, they tend to focus on media platforms and their quantitative numbers. According to Sandy Sponaugle’s article, she demonstrates that professionals tend to base their measurements off of “…1) how many outlets picked up the story, 2) how many stories were in the media and 3) increased traffic to the company’s website” (Sponaugle, 2013). ROI measurements have turned towards the outcomes social media is presenting about a company after a campaign has been adopted.

According to Max Weiner, the quantitative measurement, “…offers guidance to achieve significant and true business outcomes that can help attract, retain, or avoid spending millions – or billions – of dollars” (Weiner, 2006). In reference to this, Weiner brings up the crucial point that measuring a public relations campaign is essential to a company and their investments. Millions of public relations professionals are hired across the country, but without the proof and measurements of their successes, company’s will not know the amount of money they could be saving. It is important for companies to invest in teams of PR professionals that will make them invests without using a million dollars to do it. The cost of campaigns can be expensive, but using measurements on investments, companies are able to save their investments and gain from their efforts rather than lose money.

Although ROI is focused a lot of the numbers and investments made by a company, it also tends to look at the quality of the data. The data and research collected from media must also show positive correlations about the company to help understand the total ROI. It may be a number that the company is receiving, but without positive media there is no true measurements of the tactic’s success from a campaign. It is important that the feedback being given through media and the public is positive and promoting the brand well. Many social media platforms can grab a lot of attention from negative campaigns and unsuccessful brand promotions. It is crucial that professionals recognize how they are influencing the public eye.

ROI measurements in public relations are compiled of a variety of different aspects of a campaign. The use of these measurements is essential for a company’s success when if comes to their efforts of promoting brand awareness. It is crucial for PR professionals to understand these various aspects of ROI measurements such as social media, news reports, blogs, and various other media platforms. By taking into account all the forms that make up an ROI, public relations professionals are able to provide companies with successful returns on their investments.


Obrien, A. (2013, February 23). 10 Ways to Measure the ROI of Public Relations. Everything-PR. Retrieved November 24, 2015, from

Sponaugle, S. (2013, May 30). Measuring ROI of a PR Campaign. Platinum PR. Retrieved November 25, 2015, from

Weiner, M. (2006, March, 6). Splitting hairs: Value, expectations and ROI in public relations. PR News, 62(10), 1. Retrieved from


Social Media & Public Relations

With the fast development of social media in today’s world, the profession of public relations is facing the challenge of creating a new definition for itself. Public relations professionals now use forms of social media to gain knowledge to create their campaigns, communicate with publics, and enhance their clients target audience. According to the Stuart Elliot’s article in the New York Times, one member of the participants trying to change the definition of public relations, Adam Lavelle, stated “Before the rise of social media, public relations was about trying to manage the message an entity was sharing with its different audiences,” (Elliot, 2011).  The previous definitions of public relations do not encompass, in the slightest bit, the impact that social media has on the organizations and their public relations departments. The impacts social media has made are tremendous when it comes to a company’s image and perception to the public.

As much as the use of social media has been effective, it has also been questioned on how truly effective the use of social media is in public relations. In an article of research conducted by Maureen Taylor and Michael L. Kent, they discovered that the use of social media was beneficial when it came to public relations because it is a unique tool of communication (Taylor, M. and Kent K. L., 2011). They focused their research around the PRSSA and education when it came to students coming in to the profession of public relations. With this in mind, Taylor and Kent discovered that although social media is an advantage in public relation professions, there should be a balance (Taylor, M. and Kent K. L., 2011). Young professionals should also be taught the limits of social media when it comes to forming tactics and strategies of campaigns (Taylor, M. and Kent K. L., 2011). Therefore, the upcoming of social media has advantages when looking at aspects of public relations professions but it should not encompass one’s entire knowledge of how to conduct public relations tasks and campaigns.

Social media has given professionals a new dynamic way to communicate with both internal and external audiences. The various platforms of social media allow public relations professionals to gear their campaign ideas and communication plans to specifically target certain audiences based upon the variety of unique media platforms. These platforms also allow for a variety of different types of communication (pictures, videos, blogs, etc.) that were much more complicated to execute before without social media and other technologies. In an article by Donald K. Wright and Michelle Hinson, they focused their research not on the impact social media is having on practices of public relations, but on the ways social media is being used within public relations (Wright, D. and Hinson, M., 2014). Their research has shown that, “…the development of various new and emerging technologies has significantly empowered a wide variety of strategic publics…” (Wright, D. and Hinson, M., 2014). Their research has proven that many professionals are conducting research based upon social media platforms. Social media is drastically changing the way that public relations is being practiced.

With that all being said, one can see that the impact social media has had on public relations in the past few years is huge. Specifically among young adults, social media has become a large part of their daily routine. Scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds, reading blog posts, and news articles online has become a big part on how people view certain brands and companies. Social media has developed a new form of communication for professionals to reach different audiences in ways that were not considered possible before. With technology constantly increasing, the definition and practices for public relations will continually be changing. For those of us studying public relations it is important to understand the significant changes that are taking place so that we can develop new techniques for assisting our clients. Social media is slowly, but surely changing the way professionals conduct work and it is impacting the world in bigger ways than we ever thought possible.


Elliot, S. (2011, November 20). Redefining Public Relations in the Age of Social Media. The New York Times. Retrieved November 10, 2015, from

Taylor, M., & Kent, K. L. (2011, June 4). Anticipatory Socialization in the Use of Social Media in Public Relations: A Content Analysis of PRSA’s Public Relations Tactics, Public Relations Review, 36 (3), 207-214.

Wright, D. K., & Hinson, M. (2014, July 22). Examining How Social and Other Emerging Media Are Being Used in Public Relations. Institute for Public Relations. Retrieved November 10, 2015, from