The Long Tail of Online PR

In a recent post we covered a comparison between social media and pay-per-click traffic. We covered the fact that social media was almost as effective as PPC advertising. This post provides an update on the study, with additional data collected since.

The finding: Online PR has a long tail.

Here’s the analysis. At first glance, online PR has a short lifespan. Consider the figure below, which shows the traffic as a result of PR and blog coverage associated with the release. We can see that as expected, the site gets the majority of its traffic immediately after release, with residual traffic afterward.

However, the one thing that you don’t want to do is to stop the analysis shortly after the release. Based on our findings, the long tail of online PR matters. In this specific example, over a 30-day period, the PR traffic during the peak period accounts for 41% of the PR traffic. This means that the long tail accounts for 59% of the PR traffic.

Now let’s take this to the next level and look at the KPIs for the PR campaign. More specifically, we’re interested in cost per lead associated with the online PR campaign. For benchmark purposes, we’re going to compare these numbers with our PPC programs in place. This is shown in the figure below.

In this graph, we also see the impact of the long tail on this KPI. By looking at the data for a short period of time, we see that initially online PR is not as effective as PPC advertising. However, over time, online PR turns out to be a more cost-efficient method for lead generation than PPC advertising.

The conclusion is that online PR has a residual life that when taken into account makes it as cost effective a medium as PPC advertising. So when it comes to PR measurement, make sure that you take the long tail into consideration.

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