The Difference Between PR Measurement and Evaluation

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The Difference Between PR Measurement and Evaluation


In the world of communication the terms “measurement” and “evaluation” are sometimes used interchangeably. In fact, they are different in important ways.

Measurement comprises: (a) identifying variables (also known as metrics or KPIs) that represent outputs, out-takes and outcomes, and (b) observing these variables for any movements. Any movements in these variables over time may potentially be attributed to campaign activity.

Evaluation assesses success against goals and uncovers reasons why success was achieved or not, thereby providing learnings for the future.

Evaluation can take place at the campaign level (transactional) or the brand level (longitudinal). Unlike measurement, which is specific and unambiguous, evaluation is holistic and requires judgement.

Why is it important to draw the distinction between evaluation and measurement?

Measurement provides inputs for the evaluation process, but evaluation requires more than measurement. Measurement can take place in isolation, but evaluation requires a strategy with clear objectives and as such, evaluation starts at the planning stage.

Measurement is to evaluation, what data are to insights.

Measurement and metrics are a means to an end. That end is great PR work that creates the desired impact. We need measurement and metrics but ultimately what is really needed is evaluation. It’s in evaluation where we assess the extent to which we have achieved that end.

In the world of communication the terms “measurement” and “evaluation” are sometimes used interchangeably. In fact, they are different in important ways.