PRCA ‘Beyond Share of Search’ paper is flawed, and will not be taken seriously by the advertising industry, says PR Big Data specialist Metricomm.

The paper recently published by the PRCA’s Innovation Forum, ‘Beyond Share of Search’, will not be taken seriously by the advertising industry it attempts to challenge because it is flawed says PR big data specialist, Metricomm.

The main flaw concerns share of search itself.  The PRCA paper claims “this is the number of times your brand is typed into a search engine, divided by the number of times all brands in your category are typed into a search engine (including yourself)”.  Metricomm points out this is not the case for analysing the impact of advertising, PR or any other form of marketing activity on brand searches, when share of search concerns only the brands included in the analysis and the period over which the analysis is carried out.

A further flaw is the PRCA paper’s claim that “share of search has been shown to be a crude tool for understanding markets”.  The paper takes no account of the statistical law of large numbers, which states that as a sample size grows its mean gets closer to the average of the whole population.  Google search is the first place most audiences go to find information, whether consumer or B2B, which combined with this law makes search one of the best sources for understanding markets through real audience reaction and behaviour.

The paper claims that search is not helpful for smaller or newer brands with little current branded search volume.  Metricomm points out that even the smallest number of branded searches can be used to gain valuable insights when analysed with rigorous statistical techniques suited to low volume data, especially when combined with non-branded or multiple branded content and search terms.

Additional flaws include the PRCA paper’s assertion that PR is “nowhere to be seen in the marketing effectiveness debate”.  Metricomm points out this can hardly be blamed on the advertising industry given that the PR and its measurement industries have failed to provide the means with which its effectiveness can be properly understood.

Metricomm is already able to prove the true effectiveness of PR by determining the real audience numbers reached and influenced by media coverage, which the company integrates with data from other marketing activities, including advertising. Combined with data ranging from Google search to website visitors, viewing audiences to sales or any other available source means Metricomm is already able to answer the fundamental question posed by the PRCA paper.

As a result, Metricomm can confirm that media coverage delivers both short-term and long-term business outcomes, typically averaging between 10% and 15% of overall effectiveness of marketing activity, including advertising.