Let’s Talk About Communications Measurement

I’ve noticed a wide range of confidence with measurement among the communications community.

Most of us know it’s important, but not everyone is comfortable and for some it’s a downright scary thing that’s always giving you the evil eye from your ‘to do’ lists. I’d like to help. I have a media degree and post grad qualification; I’m definitely not a mathematician.

In my view, measurement is less scary if you start to count outcomes and think about what the numbers are telling you, before someone challenges you. You may not have the time or the calmness of mind under such pressure if it’s a bit of a pet hate (you may also not have any of the numbers you need).

I recently joined the UK and Ireland Board of IABC to help me connect with others interested in the topic and general corporate communications.  Later this year, I’ll be taking part in an IABC networking event where we can share views about measuring communications. I hope to see you there.

  1. Look beyond vanity statistics

My point here is that we need to do more than just count clicks. Know what business outcome you’re looking for and what you’ll be saying to who. Plan beyond the number of impressions and engagements you hope to achieve. After all, we’re in businesses to help them achieve their objectives, not just to encourage likes of our posts. We need to measure in context.

To illustrate my point rather painfully, here is an example (it’s unlikely to be to everyone’s taste). Take a quick look at this short video and think about what they were trying to achieve:

 

This video achieved a reach of over 1.6 million views and 21,000 likes – hurrah you might think. However, they achieved eight pledges and no donations. The purpose of the campaign was to achieve donations from managers of sports centres and teams.

  1. Quantify outcomes to prove Return on Investment

Let me ask you a question: do you have plenty of budget and resources to deliver for the business?

If you’re feeling a bit squeezed, don’t despair! You can use measurement to not only justify return on investment in communications but also to consider what you may improve or even switch off.

For example, a cascade pack that takes 20 days’ effort across a team each month to create, which is opened by 15% of managers and clicked on by 10% of them. Even if all those 1.5% of your total manager population then onward cascade the pack, it’s clearly not worth the effort.

Save that time to focus on things that do have impact, like great story telling.

  1. Look at the bigger picture

What do the numbers actually mean and how do they correlate to campaign business outcomes? Where I work now, we’re a B2B business, so our focus is on how we want to be positioned in our markets rather than direct advertising and eCommerce with the public.

In my previous company, we were B2C, so the focus was really different. We had large marketing and media functions, with adverts across all platforms and a high street presence.

Tip: know your business type and its strategy and build your content strategy around that.

Examples:

  • Media monitoring – measure share of voice, message reach, sentiment and key spokespeople.
  • Website and PR monitoring – what do people read, engage with, turn up to?
  • Social media – people trust ‘real’ people and subject matter experts more than they trust your company or top directors (search for Edelman Trust Index to find out more).
  • Internal digital – measure audience, engagement. What content do people like? Can you do more (if it’s of value)?

For a longer version of this article with many more tips and examples, click here.

Thank you.

Rachel Tolhurst

Head of Corporate Communications at Amey Plc

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