You produced a PSA, hired a distributor and now you login to the reporting system and you see your PSA is airing. Congratulations! That’s farther than most nonprofits get. But, are you seeing results that indicate your PSA is gaining your cause awareness? Or being seen by your target audience? Or earning you engagement?

We work hand-in-hand with all of the major distributors and are experts at navigating their reporting systems to get the real data out. Here are a few tips:

5 PSA Metrics Worth Watching

As you watch the total number of airings of your PSA tick upward, it’s important to gain perspective on where they are airing.

1.    Network Airings (TV only)
It is worth spending some time investigating exactly which networks you’re getting airtime on and when they are running. Most distributors don’t offer this stat unless you do some digging.
Bottom line: You want network airings. They are nationwide airings amongst popular programming and therefore the most valuable PSA airtime you can get. If you’re not on at least 10 major networks, including cable, you’re falling short. And don’t stop there. You should expect better-than-average dayparts for your network airings if you’re going to leverage network PSAs properly.

2.    Market penetration
Sure, it’s nice to be airing in 175 of the 210 nationwide DMAs. But, exactly which ones are your PSAs airing in? And are you in more of the smaller markets than the larger ones?
Bottom line: You want the majority of your airings in the top DMAs, 1-25, preferably but top 50 is still good. Not only will you get the most eyeballs, but exposure to larger pools of bigger donors. If less than 50% of your airings are in the top 50 markets, then it’s clear that your message isn’t making the cut with PSA Directors in the top markets.

3.    Daytime Airings (TV only)
Yeah, yeah, it’s a fact, a good majority of PSAs run during the wee hours of the morning. Truth is, a lot of people watch TV during the twilight hours. But to effectively reach people you need daytime airings. Or better yet, primetime airings (during 8-10pm).
Bottom line: You’d be foolish to ask stations to run your PSA during daytime hours because usually a computer is making the decision. You can monitor your dayparts and restrategize if you’re getting bad dayparts. If you have less than 60% of your PSAs airing during daytime hours, this is a red flag.

The longer your PSA is on the air, the higher the likelihood you’ll start seeing results against your success metrics. Otherwise, you’ve successfully blitzed the media and now you’re long forgotten.

4.    PSA lifecycle
You should expect to see your PSA airings peak somewhere between 3-6 months. But the key metric is to see what happens after 6 months. Do your airings take a nose dive? Do they slowly decrease?
Bottom line: You should see a peak, followed by additional peaks of airings and plateaus in between. Only after 12 months should you see a nose dive.

5.    Call to action
Exactly what are you asking for people to do in your PSA? While you can’t ask directly for donations, you can still ask people to do something. But when you do, make sure you have a way to measure that action.
Bottom line: The only way to sustain a successful PSA program and garner media value, impressions and brand awareness is to get facts and figures on its effectiveness. If you’re driving people to your website, be sure to watch your direct traffic and compare it year-over-year to track results.

As I said, these metrics are often buried in your PSA data and it takes someone to extract it and come up with an action plan. Do you have someone who does that? If not, give us a call! At the very least, let us poke around and give you some helpful feedback.