There was a period in which the measurement of results in communication was summarized in very basic and mostly quantitative criteria. Recently, with the explosion of the use of data analysis in several sectors, the communication started to be impacted as well.
But why is it important to measure the results in communication? H. James Harrington, international quality adviser at Ernst & Young, summarized the relevance of the measurement in general, as: “Measurement is the first step towards control and, eventually, improvement. If you can not measure something, then you can not understand it. If you can not understand it, then you can not control it. And if you can not control it, you can not improve it.” And that’s where we get to the core of question: optimization.
With ever-narrower marketing and communications budgets, companies need to have visibility and control of results to create the most assertive and valuable mix that drives results for their business.
In other words, the main reason for measuring results in communication is not only to justify investments, but to learn how to extract the best result from each action. And that’s why the model of Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) – that was born in the 1940s and did not evolve at the same as communication and online channels – is losing ground.
The AVE consists of translating into values the space conquered in a vehicle of communication through the activity of public relations, taking as a basis of comparison the value that an advertisement of the same size would have. Besides being imprecise in its formula, the AVE is unable to measure the sentiment of the article (negative, neutral or positive), nor its impact, which is how much effect it was able to generate in the audience.
BEST PRACTICES FOR COMMUNICATION RESULTS MEASUREMENT
AMEC, the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, promotes global best practices in measurement from a process that comprises the phases of Preparation, Implementation and Results & Insights, as exemplified in the chart below.
The first step in measuring communication results is to build the foundation, that is, to outline business goals and communication objectives (and these must be fully aligned with business objectives). Every objective must be married to a measure, for example: to increase sales by 10%, to double the number of participations of the company in events of its segment. The target audience and strategy are then defined, including the resources that will be needed to implement the plan and the estimated budget.
The second section, of implementation, is about the activities that will be carried out. It encompasses all actions that are within the PESO (paid, earned, shared and owned) model, such as articles, press releases, guidelines, blog posts, tweets, events, etc.
Following, it presents the Results and Insights phase, consisting of Outputs, Out-takes, Outcomes and Impact. And what does each of these classifications mean? Let’s get to know them:
It measures the quantity and quality of the communication results within the PESO model. Example of metrics:
% share of voice
# of clipping results
# of results in Tier 1 Media
# of clipping that contain back-link
# of blog posts
# of participants in an event
Refers to the response and reaction of the target audience to the activity performed, therefore measures the effectiveness of the action in relation to the communication objectives. Example metrics:
# direct traffic resulting from media coverage
% increase in website traffic
# of report downloads, whitepapers and e-books
% of increase in the number of followers in social media
It measures the effect of communication on the target audience, or, in other words, the effectiveness of the actions in relation to the business objectives. Examples of metrics:
# of leads
$ leads value
% reputation increase
Measures the quantity and quality of business results. Examples:
# of sales resulting from the media / social media activities
$ the value of the sales resulting from the actions carried out
AMEC provides an online framework for measuring results in communication, which provides assistance in each field to be filled- with definitions, explanations and examples. It is free and can be downloaded and saved in pdf format.