Data-driven PR: Where to start

Data provides valuable insights to drive campaigns and measure the impact of activity, but not all businesses know where to start. It is true that you could find yourself lost in a sea of data that doesn’t mean much, so it’s important to know from the start what matters to you and your business.  

White measuring tape on pink background

Start with your business objectives and what you want to achieve, and make sure you have the benchmark data you need to show if you have been successful.  

We could write a very long essay about using data to drive campaigns, but we’ve kept it simple and outlined below are a few areas that are a little easier to implement if you’re struggling to know where to start. 

Audience mapping and motivations 

Gathering data on your audience is key to unlocking trends and determining their behaviours and motivations. Demographic data alone is not enough. Just look at the infamous (at least in marketing circles!) comparison of King Charles and Ozzy Osbourne. They both fit this demographic: 

  • Male 
  • Born in 1948 
  • Raised in the UK 
  • Married twice 
  • Lives in a castle 
  • Wealthy and famous  

Similar on paper, but you can’t imagine they are motivated by the same things and behave in the same ways, can you? 

The best thing you can do is get some deeper insights into your audience. Set the questions you need to ask them, gather the data and spot the trends, and then use this data to inform your campaigns and measure your success. You can use third party platforms to help you gather this, or you can also look at the people you already have access to via newsletters and social media. Often the results can be quite surprising…  

Target audience

Trends and Crisis Management  

Real-time data and analytics can help to identify trends that you can hop onto to generate good awareness for your businesses, but it can also help you to spot potential crises and allow you to respond quickly. Get set up with some real-time social listening and media monitoring so you are on top of your brand mentions and you can act accordingly. This can mean the difference between nipping a grumble in the bud early, or it escalating beyond your control.  


We’re sure everyone is a little tired of hearing about AI… but it can’t be avoided! It is already being used in a multitude of ways in PR and marketing (from social listening and media monitoring to generating reports and content creation) and it will continue to make an impact.  

The integration of AI in PR campaigns has the potential to revolutionise the way data is utilised, offering more advanced analytics and predictive capabilities. You will always need the human eye to make sense of the data and turn it into action, but AI will continue to help inform campaigns and messaging that truly resonates with audiences and be a great tool in the toolbox. 

Keyboard buttons with AI

Measurement metrics 

What to use? It really does depend on what metrics are important to you. Often you can fall into the trap of using the ‘big numbers’ – anything that looks impressive like reach or the ‘metric-that-must-not-be-named’ (AVEs).  

Data (hurrah!) shows that PR professionals track an average of 8 metrics: story placement and reach/impressions, key message pull-through, revenue impact, website impact and share of voice. But also think about sentiment and the audience mapping we talked about earlier – if you have this benchmark data, revisit after your campaign or periodically throughout the year to measure your impact and how you are shifting perceptions and behaviours of your audience. 

Carry on the conversation with Season 7. Episode 6 of the Revitalise & Grow podcast, where we unpack insights from our team’s recent attendance at the PR Week Measurement Conference. From which metrics are actually important, integrating AI into your measurement strategy and looking to the future of measurement, we explore how to harness the power of data to make informed decisions and ultimately drive better results. 

If you’d like to talk to one of our team about how you can use data and analytics to make an impact with your PR campaigns, email us at hello@adpr.co.uk or request a call back 

Jenny Walford

Joint Managing Director

Jenny is ADPR’s Joint Managing Director. From winning new business with innovative, creative proposals, to executing them with exemplary implementation skills, Jenny is a highly seasoned communications professional who plays a vital role in getting to the heart of a brand, their purpose, the project, and its objectives.
Her experience spans a variety of sectors including sport and leisure, technology, FMCG, home interest, consumer finance, film, TV, gaming and education. Having worked on both sides of the fence, in-house and within agency, Jenny is a master of campaign development, interpreting briefs and understanding exactly what clients need, their internal pressures and how to help them reach their business and communication goals. Creative to the core, she is always brimming with ideas on how to devise and deliver strategies and campaigns targeting a wide range of audiences with diverse challenges that stand out from the crowd. Jenny is currently studying the CIPR Specialist Diploma in Internal Communications.

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