3 minute read

Could the publisher metrics in your end-of-year report put your 2022 PR budget in danger?

End-of-year reports make December one of the busiest months of the year for PR teams. Coverage and metrics are being collated to share success with stakeholders and secure activity for 2022. 

Budget-holders are also under pressure to review marketing and make decisions on activity for the year ahead. This includes weighing up the success of owned marketing content, advertising and earned PR. How many people saw and engaged with campaigns and what it did for the organisation will be key in decision making.

Although Public Relations measurement has developed in proving outcomes in recent years, it is still often left out of the review and comparison exercise because of the metrics included in PR reports.

If you are currently collating an end-of-year report that includes publisher monthly traffic numbers with no further coverage-level view analysis you are putting next year’s budget at risk. 


  1. How many people visited a publisher site, doesn’t represent the reach of PR coverage  
  2. Publisher site traffic can’t be reviewed and compared to owned and paid content 

Before you say it; yes I know it is a far greater challenge to get views or page impression data for earned in comparison to data available in analytics for owned content or for paid advertising.

But being more realistic about how many people may have seen coverage will give PR a lot more credibility than including inflated reach figures.

The UK BBC site receives around 650 million visits per month from 87 million unique visitors. Those visits are to thousands of pages that make up the whole BBC site. At best, half of that traffic will go through the homepage. Popular stories that make the homepage stay there for a matter of hours, never a full 30 days. 

Let’s be realistic; one story on the BBC site does not have the potential of 650million views. Andrew Smith researched this further here

Until publishers share page visits from analytics (which let’s face it may never happen!) calculating an estimation from total monthly traffic is our next best option. 

Realistic reach 

Here is a rough but more realistic formula: let’s say you achieved homepage coverage on a site that gets 150million monthly visits.

150 million (total month visits). Divide by 50% to get an estimate of the homepage.

Divide by 30 days.

= homepage mention gets your 2.5 million visits.

If this feels too simplistic then check out the new developed formula in CoverageBook 2. It considers the article placement, the size and influence of the site and how many shares the clip has received on social networks.

Get in the comparison game, compete for budget 

In order to allocate budget, marketing chiefs review and compare marketing (paid, owned and earned) activity and costs. 

In paid advertising where the goal is around raising awareness, the metric Cost per 1,000 Impressions (CPM) is one way to see the efficiency of spend. This simple metric is also used in owned content activity. 

Of course engagement factors and organisational outcome metrics are reviewed too but as a simple measurement of awareness effectiveness; cost per 1,000 impressions is key and it’s frequently used in budget allocation decisions.

Estimated coverage views can be used as a proxy for impressions. This instantly puts PR in the comparison game in marketing evaluation. 

“It’s a big gripe of mine seeing PR saying potential reach is X million or even X billion people. As a brand manager and allocator of budget, you can’t take a lot from ‘reach data’. We like using the ‘Estimated Coverage Views’ metric in CoverageBook. It’s more realistic which means it’s easier for me to compare PR against other areas of marketing”

James Alexander, Head of Culture & Entertainment, PR & Influencer Marketing, Diageo.

All CoverageBook 2 reports have an Estimated Coverage Views metric on all media relations and social coverage (an industry first). This metric allows marketing budget holders to compare with impressions of paid and owned content and work out a cost per impression. 

Being more realistic in the reach of PR coverage and estimating the views, not only gives PR more credibility, it instantly puts earned media in a very strong position in marketing budget decisions and ultimately the growth of the industry. 

Further reading:

How to calculate cost per impressions for PR by Gary Preston.

How does CoverageBook calculate estimated views?

How James Alexander evaluates Diageo marketing activity using Coverage Views and impressions and allocate budget for Europe.