Thursday, August 02, 2007

Evaluation online is creeping away from us

Every time I look at numbers that may help the PR evaluation industry, I come up with the same answer. Its getting harder. As Brett Crosby, senior manager for Google Analytics, notes for Mark Glaser we will be hard-pressed to cover the wide variety of websites and their functions. “My personal opinion is that it’s going in the opposite direction [from a unified measurement]”.

Perhaps we should stop trying to emulate the advertising industry and start evaluating public relations.

Its not hard. Some organisations have good public relations and some have bad public relations.

Such judgements are inclusive of the organisation and its performance, its communications, its ethos and so on. That is the role of the PR manager. So why not use a PR measure.

That does not mean the 'worlds most admired company' based on journalist column inches and tone or ROI or profits or, even, growth.

The simple measure is would you be thrilled if your daughter got her first job there.

So I am offering a new evaluation metric - the daughter litmus paper.

For those who really want indigestion, the following is a kick start for measuring:

For information about numbers of people online http://www.internetworldstats.com.

Who owns and runs sites is quite easy to look up using 'Whois' services such as this like these http://www.internetters.co.uk/whois.php, http://www.nominet.org.uk/

How the internet is performing can come from http://news.netcraft.com

Research data can be from www.nielsen-netratings.com and Pew Research http://people-press.org, and the National Statistics office. Among others you can find out about web site statistics from http://www.websiteoptimization.com and Site Report Card http://www.sitereportcard.com/.

More tools are available at http://www.toolurl.com

To find out about links into and out of web sites, how many pages a web site has then http://www.google.com/help/operators.html, is very helpful.

To be able to identify words associated with a person, brand, company or other organisation when people search using search engines (top of mind words about the organisation) then the use of Wordtracker or similar.

Most sites should be monitored for their Google ranking http://www.googlerankings.com/

Google Analytics for a web site or Google Trends to find how many people search for your keywords are helpful. Compare the numbers of visitors to sites with Alexa Trafic Ranking (www.alexa.com) and other web analytic information is available fro a Google search “web site traffic analytics”.

Hitwise (www.hitwise.co.uk) offers a lot of data about online traffic and monitors who is doing what online.

A quick free monitor to try out web site visitor tools is available from http://www.sitemeter.com.

For some exciting views of online activity try http://labs.digg.com.

What users do using a service like Clicktale when they vist web sites is also a metric that is helpful when identifying how a site is used. Eye tracking is used to see how web pages are used too. Research is already well established with heat maps too and available for citation.

Podcast data can come from http://www.radiotail.com/ripple And

Then there are some of the monitors and some interesting new ideas including one that looks at a range of metrics from Edelman PR which was first discussed on David Brian's post http://www.sixtysecondview.com/?p=325.