I have been offering promotional and advertising services to an online publisher of industrial and scientific news stories since 2000.
Basically, companies from around the world register and send their PR stories to an editor of each website. The Editor would then sales statistics have the job of uploading the stories into a relevant category and everyone was happy - the customer gets a story published and the publisher has provided great, searchable content on their website, which the search engines credit them for.
This online publisher is now the largest industrial and scientific publisher of PR in the world and I am convinced that good reporting went a long way in securing their long-term success.
From day one, the company set up an automated reports system, which sent out a series of statistics and figures to each contributing company on a monthly basis.
These reports gave a list of facts, which included:
How many people had read their PR last month and to date
How many people had clicked on their website link
How many people had requested information from them (via a sales inquiry contact form)
How many people had viewed and clicked on their banner (if they were already an advertiser)
This system was of vital importance to the people sending in the PR stories, as well as being a valuable sales tool for the online publisher. Basically, the contributors could see how effective it was to keep sending in their PR stories and this information was also of prime importance to the publisher. They could see any increases and dips in customer response and it also enabled them to look at the ratios between visitor numbers and response rates at certain times of the year.