Now that so much of our media is online, audiences and behaviours are all minutely quantifiable thanks to the myriad of analytics technologies and tracking tools at our disposal. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the things we can measure but, just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.
So, the question becomes, how do we know we are measuring what matters?
That was the topic for discussion at our recent webinar on Measuring What Matters Helps You Tell The Right Story, where I was joined by fellow CARMA colleagues, Alison Williams and Orla Graham.
In this session, we delved into four case studies that show how brands from different industries and with different goals have approached measurement. They all have one thing in common; the measured what matters based on their core business objectives.
And this clarity of focus has a starting place that any business can apply.
With help from the AMEC Integrated Evaluation Framework, any organisation or campaign can bring structure to the process of then determining what are the outputs, outcomes and outtakes of a campaign, and – ultimately – what metrics matter.
As with many things in life, it may be easy in theory – but what about putting it into practice? That was certainly on the minds of our audience when we opened up for questions.
Several of our viewers wanted to know how to steer leadership or client teams away from outdated metrics such as Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE), which is now widely recognised in PR and marketing circles as having little representative value of the quality or impact of coverage. How can we transition away from outdated, but longstanding, measurements and introduce new, more meaningful metrics?
The advice was to be realistic and choose your battles! Can it be one measurement that accompanies – and gradually proves less useful than – other metrics that tell a more meaningful story? Can you bring management with you on a journey to appreciating sources of more valuable and actionable insight?
Often it is a gradual approach to changing mindsets.
Our audience also asked about how to monitor all media, in fear of missing out on coverage or a mention. This question really hit the nail on the head, because we need to plan what to measure in order to tell the right story. As our Co-Managing Partner says, you can’t boil the ocean!
It’s a common concern, we reassured, that can be addressed by identifying the media most important and influential for your audience. By all means, keep an eye on the bigger picture but these are your key media for detail and insight.
But, how do we get that detail? One audience member asked about using free tools, which we think can be a great approach if it delivers the right level of insight for your business and as long as you have the capabilities within your organisation to weed out the information you need from the clutter of data available.
The key, we reinforced, is to be clear and specific about the metrics you need to tell the story you want to tell, and focus energy on measuring things that matter. It’s important to have that clarity, then it doesn’t really matter where the data comes from as long as it is relevant and accurate.
Wrapping up our session, we were asked whether there was an AVE for social media or a better way to quantify investment in this channel. The fact is that AVE is not a valid measurement or return on investment, whatever the medium. It is more important to understand what audience is engaging through channel, how and why…and what is the impact?
Through these questions, and the others we received on the webinar, we can see that we – as an industry – want to do measurement better, we just need to build the right approach. And that starts with planning.
Think about how you can embed at each stage an opportunity to measure metrics that prove whether or not your activity is working.
If you don’t plan out your activities and metrics in advance, you won’t be able to tell a meaningful story about what you and your team have achieved.
Find out more about CARMA’s approach to PR Measurement at carma.com/measurement