Performance public relations: new AMEC framework, free tools

Digging out data from silos within your organisation is critical to high performance public relations.

There’s a belief in public relations that measuring our work is expensive. Lack of budget is frequently cited as the reason for lousy measurement.

But the bigger cost of not measuring the success of your work is to your organisation’s performance – and your own development.

AMEC launches new integrated framework, free tools

A new measurement framework using digital technology to help the user through a step-by-step process was launched today by AMEC at its International Summit on Measurement in London.


The Framework shows how to implement Barcelona Principles 2.0, linking organisational objectives to communication objectives, to outputs, outtakes, outcomes and organisational impact. The Framework measures across all PESO channels.

AMEC is launching the Framework with a comprehensive website of resource material.

The new AMEC Framework has been developed as an interactive tool to deliver a step-by-step user process with tool tips for information and follow-on resources for the use  r. The digital team at LEWIS created the tool as a pro bono initiative on behalf of AMEC.

Measure organisational performance, not media

The public relations measurement business has been built on traditional media metrics. These are no longer fit for purpose.  At best they represent a poor proxy for business performance.

As practice shifts from traditional media as the primary form of public relations engagement, to a variety of digital and social media, the business is getting smarter at measurement. Paid, earned, owned and share media all leave an audit trail that can be interrogated.

Our opportunity is to define robust objectives, outputs, and outcomes for a campaign, and then to overlay AMEC’s measurement framework and tools.

Dig out data from departmental silos

We now have access, unlike ever before, to data sources and tools to measure outputs, and outcomes.

The challenge is that data is frequently buried in silos within an organisation. Departmental budgets and political demarcation take priority over demonstrating performance.

I would urge you to move around the silos within your organisation, and dig it out the data. Public relations needs to work with customer service, marketing and human resources.

Here are 30 places that you can seek out data within your organisation as the basis of a robust measurement framework.

Intermediary outcomes

1. Article – volume of earned third party branded articles or posts. Link to outcomes, useful for benchmarking against previous campaign.
2. Attendance – consumers or citizens attending an event such as a conference, roundtable, or public meetings.
3. Branded search – increase in search activity around a brand as a result of public relations activity.
4. Conversation – link to an organisational outcome otherwise it’s a vanity metric, like so much of the social media measurement business.
5. Download – a form of lead that results from a call to action. Capture data for ongoing engagement or remarketing.
6. Dwell time – time spent on a web page. Useful to distinguish between raw traffic and whether a visitor has read the content on the page.
7. Email click through – used to determine whether an email recipient has received and acted upon a call to action.
8. Followers – building an audience or public as part of a branded community. Rate of growth is also a useful indicator.
9. Hits or views – an indicator of a visit to a web page but beware of fake or irrelevant traffic. Use in conjunction with dwell time as an indicator of actual engagement.
10. In-bound links – quality and volume of inbound links to a predefined URL. Relate to traffic. Frequently used in search campaigns.
11. Like – this is frequently a vanity metric of social media but useful as an indicator if there’s a correlation to another intermediary or an organisational outcome.
12. Referral traffic – traffic from third-party websites, typically used downstream in conjunction with inbound links.
13. Reviews – a form of third party validation that is finding its way from the hospitality and travel sectors into other industries.
14. Sentiment – good or bad is usually all you need to know unless you working on shifting opinion on an issue over a period of time.
15. Share of voice – volume of conversation in social or traditional media for an organisation vs competitive organisation.
16. Sharing volume – rate of sharing on social media via different channels. Link channels to behaviour and outcomes.
17. Unbranded search – uplift or contribution to search activity around a term as a result of public relations activity.
18. Footfall – how many people have travelled or visited a location, frequently used in travel, tourism and hospitality.

Organisational outcomes

19. Attitudinal change – a variety of pre and post survey techniques are used to test for change in opinion. Popular in political polling.
20. Awareness – engagement of a public that was otherwise unaware of an issue, product or service. Tested via a variety of survey techniques.
21. Behavioural change – social economic improvements such as reductions in antisocial behaviour, tested via longitudinal tracking.
22. Business process – improvement in productivity, typically due to internal communications, and training.
23. Conversions – typically sales, but also applies in other organisational activities, that can be attributed to public relations activity.
24. Financial performance – track the role of public relations in supporting a financial metric such as shareprice or valuation.
25. Internal – a series of metrics including improved recruitment, retention and productivity, and reduced absence and sickness.
26. Recommendation and referral – the basis of Net Promoter, which tests the likelihood of a third party recommendation or referral (see also satisfaction).
27. Retention – applies to customers or staff where public relations is focused on relationship management.
28. Satisfaction– related to recommendation, used to benchmark the strength of a relationship between a citizen or consumer and an organisation.
29. Unique triggers – dedicated coupons, phone numbers, or URLs that test the relationship between activity and outcomes.
30. Votes – the harsh reality of political campaigns where the ultimate test of the success of a campaign is in the voting booth.

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Stephen Waddington

Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum and Visiting Professor in Practice, Newcastle University.


  1. The AMEC tool reminds me a lot of the Business Model Canvas.

    That tool proved to be quite shitty as a web app. Too much stuff to enter. And in reality it’s not done by one person sitting at a desk. It’s a team effort.

    That’s why the physical version of the BMC is so popular. On most startup hackathon events there are huge posters of the model. Teams group around it to discuss and create together.

    That seems like a more useful incarnation of the AMEC framework too.

  2. This practical and engaging new tool will should be welcomed by PR practitioners, from leaders in the profession to those starting out in their career. It translates measurement theory into tangible action and puts valuable measurement within easy reach of all.

  3. Hi Frederick, Thanks for your feedback, you raise some good points.

    It’s important to note that what AMEC launched yesterday was not just an online interactive framework. Instead we launched a comprehensive educational resource centre for the modern communication professional looking to measure their work and prove their value in a meaningful and credible manner. This contains articles by global industry thought leaders (including Wadds), links to resources, data providers, a measurement taxonomy, a consistent definition of different metrics, white papers, case studies etc. Of course it also includes the Integrated Evaluation Framework itself.

    You will be pleased to know that the framework is available both as an interactive tool and as a physical download for exactly the point that you make – we don’t expect teams to have to click through it each and every time they want to use it. It’s a best-practice process to follow, not an online tool that has to be used each and every time a campaign is measured. This was explained at yesterday’s launch which unfortunately I know you were unable to attend.

    The beauty of the interactive tool is the educational support and further information that it enables us to provide at every step of the process. This really brings to life what can sometimes appear to be the turgid and impenetrable subject matter of PR measurement.

    The resource centre, and framework, have received fabulous feedback and endorsement from all of their early reviewers. Those interested in knowing more should please head on over to http://www.amecorg.com/amecframework. We think you will like what you see.

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