AJ co-founded TrendKite in 2012 and oversees all aspects of the organization’s sales operations.
There’s a new movement in the NBA that some are calling, “Databall.” With an incredible amount of new statistical information available, the NBA could be on the verge of understanding the value of every single movement on the court. It’s somewhat complex, but what it means in a nut shell is that if you paused any NBA game at any moment, the data is available to scientifically estimate the “expected possession value” (EVP), or the number of expected points for that possession, based on facts about the players, their position on the court, and other factors like how much time is left on the clock. By capturing and analyzing the game’s fundamental acts, coaches can isolate which strategies are more or less effective, and which players are best at executing them. In other words, coaches can determine how well players are preforming vs. the statistically expected result in each and every situation. (This article explains it beautifully.)
If you are wondering exactly that this has to do with PR, it’s this – we can leverage big data to evaluate PR efforts in exactly the same way, uncover which strategies are more or less effective in which situations, and evaluate the quality with which they are executed. We can, in fact, establish something akin to the “expected possession value” for every PR activity we initiate.
Old School PR Measurement
Although the box score still contains important and useful data, it is now only the tip of the iceberg of how NBA players are evaluated. The same is true of traditional ways to evaluate PR efforts, most of which measure the output of PR activities, but not the outcome. Output related metrics include; number of press releases, mentions, advertising value equivalency, by-line placements and so forth. Much like an NBA player’s shooting percentage, these statistics tell only a fraction of the story.
The "Databall" Approach
Like the shift in basketball analytics, the shift in thinking about how we can evaluate PR efforts is driven by technology. With the right media monitoring tools and reporting, PR professionals and agencies are now able to measure the quality of PR outcomes and tie PR activities directly to an ROI. Big data is utilized to understand the impact each mention has on website traffic, conversions, social engagement and revenue.
It is now possible to understand what activities are most impactful to the brand by considering things like readership, publication tier, unique visitors, and where your search topic appears in media. Advanced language processing and complex algorithms can be used to understand the quality of a mention in an article, allowing PR professionals to deliver provable results like never before.
How the NBA game on the court will be changed by this new analysis is yet to be seen, but it has already started to impact how players are valued. A similar shift in analytics in baseball, dubbed “Moneyball,” allowed the Oakland A’s to successfully compete against teams that outspent them by as much as $80 million dollars. PR measurement done with the same rigor has the potential to help brands with budgets of any size get the most possible value out of every play.