The basis of every successful campaign comes down to measurement. Identifying whether you met your goals and having the ability to course-correct or change your strategy throughout the campaign is key to knowing what campaigns are repeatable and which tactics work best for your organization. In fact, in our strategic process, measuring is an important step before beginning. Knowing what success looks like and how it’s measured are crucial for meeting your goals.
How Often to Measure
First, consider when you’re going to pull your results. It’s easy to pull it all at the end, when the campaigns are complete and the metrics are crystal-clear, but that doesn’t help you pivot and consider your strategy throughout the campaign.
Most of our clients receive monthly reports from us, but we are actually checking in on the data every 1-2 weeks, depending on the tactic. This level of scrutiny helps us understand the fluctuations as they may align to key moments in time, in order to make adjustments as needed. We also pull cumulative key metrics for longer periods of time, such as quarterly or annually, in order to spot variations and trends. Try setting up a schedule to look over your metrics regularly, in addition to a comprehensive report at the conclusion of a campaign to help determine its success.
Now, let’s break down the type of data you will be measuring, and the timeline based on the PESO model.
Measuring Paid Tactics
For paid tactics that are digital, data is provided right from the get-go. Within hours of launching a Facebook or Instagram ad, you will be able to see the number of people your ads reached and some of the early actions taken based on your campaign objectives – like link clicks, likes or shares. Even with these early insights, it can be important to let your ads run as planned without making knee-jerk reactions. These are important to monitor, but especially on Facebook, your ad may still be in the learning stage and improve as time goes on.
If you’re running digital ads, check on them each week and pull a report at the end of the month (or even slightly before) to analyze, in order to create the next month’s plan before seeing final numbers.
For ad placements in traditional media, you’ll typically receive the data available at the end of the run. But you can ask what data is available to you and request a specific data set in your report from a media partner prior to the campaign’s end.
Measuring Earned Tactics
The data for earned tactics comes mostly from media placements. We use the Barcelona Principles for measuring media placement success on a 100-point scoring scale, and to recognize the full impact of earned media outreach campaigns. The Barcelona Principles identify the importance of goal setting, the need for outcomes instead of output-based measurement, the value of social media, and take a holistic approach to measurement and evaluation. As a measurement tool, the Barcelona Principles also help us make note of which earned placements generate the most traffic to a client’s website or social media accounts or encourage readers to complete an action such as buy a specific package or purchase tickets to an event.
Additional Earned Tactic Metrics
In addition to those scores, it can be important to consider what topics were pitched during the month, how many media you’ve reached out or responded to and what publications they represent. Look at the number of media members you’ve invited on a FAM tour, the number of individuals you’ve hosted, and the number of partners you featured on their itineraries. When working with influencers, plan out ahead of time what stats they are willing to provide and within what timeframe. Ephemeral content – such as Snapchats and Instagram stories – disappear after 24 hours, so you will want to make sure your influencers are capturing and sharing stats associated with these posts. Even for those hosted media members that may not be considered influencers, we keep track of their social media posts that mention the client, destination or partners.
While you may not pull numbers and measurement until you’re ready to report, we highly recommend reviewing any earned placements as soon as you see them. This allows you to take immediate action if a link is pointing to the wrong website, a fact needs editing, or a name is spelled wrong.
Measuring Shared Tactics
Social media analytics for shared tactics are always available, and there can be a lot of data to sort through. Consider first what metrics are available and more importantly, which are most relevant to your goals. It might be follower growth if you are looking to broaden your audience in key markets, or engagement numbers if you are looking to inspire your audience to take a specific action.
These numbers can fluctuate from week to week, but like digital ads, we recommend keeping an eye on the data each week and adjusting as needed. Monthly reports then give you a full overview. Look for other available insights – such as the breakdown of your audience by gender, age or location, as well as what type of devices people are using to browse these sites. It may also be important to note what days of the week and time of day the majority of your followers are on the platforms. Facebook will tell you how successful different types of posts – such as videos, links or photos – are with your audience. Using this data, you’ll be able to make informed decisions of what kind of content you share and when you share it.
If you have Twitter, you’ll need to activate your analytics before you can see any data at all, at Analytics.Twitter.com. And you will need an Instagram Business Profile to gain access to Instagram Insights.
Measuring Owned Tactics
Google Analytics tracks owned tactics like your website and blogs. We recommend pulling stats at least every month, although you can review your dashboard to see metrics at any time. While you will want to pull the data that relates to your specific goals, there are general insights that are often useful. For example, the number of new visitors will tell you how many people are finding your site, while the number of pages viewed per session, time spent on the site, and bounce rate will give you an idea on whether your website provides the content these users are looking for. Keep track of these numbers monthly in a chronological chart so you can spot developments and trends.
We also recommend keeping yearly data readily available in order to easily compare annual trends or spot areas to turn your attention to. For example, you may notice that your website traffic always drops during the shoulder season and picks back up a few months later.
Other Owned Tactics
Other owned tactics, such as webinars, podcasts or videos, can be measured by the number of registrants, listeners or downloads you receive in a given period. Observe what topics seem to do better than others, what speakers seem to draw in a bigger crowd, or how far out you need to promote a webinar in order to bring in enough registrations. You may also be able to pull demographic information such as the location and age of your viewers, or upon launch, how many viewers watched the presentation in its entirety or who engaged further by downloading additional resources.
For email newsletters, track the number of subscribers you have, open rates, how these relate to the subject lines, click rates and what call to actions perform the best. You will see some data immediately after the newsletter goes out – but be sure to give your newsletters a few days to settle in people’s inboxes before pulling the metrics. Measure these on a similar basis to your distribution – whether it is weekly or monthly.
Putting it All Together
Whether you are reporting for yourself, a small team or an entire board of directors, it’s important to not only keep track of these measurements but pull them together into a summary on a regular basis. Consider benchmarks or industry standards, and once your report is complete, start to analyze your metrics as they relate to the greater goals you set. Interpretation is where these data points turn into a story – and the more often you analyze these, the better you’ll get at seeing the trends in the data.
Whatever you do, choose a measuring system that makes sense for you, the size of your business, and the scope of the campaign. Results are the best way to meet your goals – but they are also key in setting sustainable goals and determining the future of your organization.