14 Essential KPIs For Measuring Corporate Communications Efforts
Measuring the success of corporate communications efforts can be tricky without first identifying the right key performance indicators. Strategic KPIs such as social media engagement, website traffic, media mentions and number of bylined articles can provide insight into the effectiveness of a company’s corporate communications strategy.
These and other metrics are important because they show how well a company is communicating with its target audience and whether the messaging is resonating with stakeholders. However, it’s important to remember that KPIs should be chosen based on the specific goals of each campaign or initiative. Below, 14 Forbes Communications Council members share the KPIs they consider to be essential in measuring their corporate communications and explain why each one is so key to understanding their reach and impact.
1. Brand Keyword Searches
The number (and percentage) of brand keyword searches within the total organic search volume should be measured. This applies primarily to startups and growing companies rather than established brands that generate the majority of their incoming traffic through name recognition. For brands building portfolios around nonbranded search terms, the growth of their branded keywords is a great KPI to take note of. – Jesse Anthony, Claimocity
2. Share Of Voice
SOV is an essential KPI, as it’s the most efficient way to measure how your ideas are permeating the market compared to your top competitors. Especially when comparing year-over-year progress, SOV is one of the most indicative metrics of how well your brand is expanding, how relevant your communication tactics are and how well customers recognize your brand. – Kristin Russel, symplr
3. Brand Uplift
I don’t think one KPI can tell the full story, but I would say there are KPIs that should be included in everyone’s corporate communications measurement. A key KPI that is harder to do well but very effective for measuring performance is brand uplift. No matter what communications you are trying to do, you want to build a positive image. Hence, this metric is extremely relevant. – Anthony Wong, Attensi
4. Media Mentions
Media mentions reflect the visibility and reach of a company’s messages and provide valuable insights into how the company is perceived by its stakeholders, providing a tangible measure of effectiveness and identifying areas for improvement. Additionally, media mentions can also drive website traffic, boost search engine rankings and increase brand recognition and reputation. – Tony Liau, Object First
5. Website Traffic
High website traffic indicates that the company’s messages are reaching and resonating with its target audience, leading to increased brand awareness and increased sales. Website traffic can provide insights into which content is working and which is not, allowing for data-driven decision making and strategy adjustments. – Ben Chodor, Notified
6. Branded Searches
A key KPI that I look for is branded search—how many visitors are landing on a website by specifically searching for a brand by name versus using generic phrases. This also shows the impact of our corporate communications and brand awareness programs on sales. The people
who know about the brand and come to the site often are ready to engage, learn more about the brand or become a customer. – Parna Sarkar-Basu, Brand and Buzz Marketing, LLC.
7. Engagement Percentage
I prefer to focus on engagement percentage, or the ratio of comments, likes and shares of a post or piece of content to its overall reach. A high engagement rate means the audience identifies and interacts with the content that was posted. This levels the field when comparing different sizes of audiences to understand what’s working best. – Terra Teat, JLab
8. Social Shares
Corporate comms often default to visibility metrics such as impressions, and while that is valuable, it isn’t truly a measure of how well-received a piece of communications is. Instead, look to social shares, as this truly demonstrates how impactful a message is, since people are willing to do the highest form of online activity—sharing. – Patrick Ward, Rootstrap
9. Brand Awareness
For a consultative company such as ours, we try to always ask, “How did you hear of us?” And we tie that first attribution in through the sales pipeline. So we have pipeline and revenue numbers that we can attach to brand awareness initiatives. – Sarah Falcon, Object Edge
10. Return On Effort
The ROE metric weighs financial performance data against the number of person-hours required to achieve those results. Essentially, it combines the best of ROI but also takes time, people and energy into consideration to show a fuller picture rather than solely focusing on the bottom line, providing strategic insights optimized for creative teams and consumers. – Ed Breault, Aprimo
11. Return On Investment
Want to know why marketing is the first thing cut when things get tight? Because we are often seen as an expense versus a revenue driver. ROI is the only KPI that matters if you want to protect your budget and your team. If you use UTM codes to prove the value of organic social media and agree on formulas that translate website visits into sales, you can change the way stakeholders value your efforts. – Theresa Anderson, Agorapulse
12. Message Pull-Through
Message pull-through is a deeper analysis than the number of mentions or media hits—it’s a review of your coverage to understand if key messages are being pulled through your channels. It’s possible to have high-quantity, low-quality coverage, meaning your core messages aren’t making it to your audience. This KPI helps measure the “impact versus activity” of your communications. – Dominic Garcia, StrongDM
13. Backlink Quality
Backlink quality is both a key KPI and an additional priority for our corporate communications program. We want to have mentions and backlinks, but we want them to be of the highest quality, which benefits both our brand and our inbound marketing programs simultaneously. – Jennifer Best, AAE Speakers Bureau
14. Social Media Engagement From Top Clients
One KPI I track that has helped us see how we are performing digitally is how often our top clients share or comment on our posts. As a B2B company, our engagement is typically lower, so when we get good engagement, we want to track which post it was so that we can post more content like that in hopes of getting even more engagement in the future. – Sarah Lero, A.L. Huber.