A measurement manifesto

A measurement manifesto

Route CEO Denise Turner outlines eight principles on how advertisers should measure and use measurement for success.


I really enjoyed watching the recent interview with Ella Sagar from The Media Leader and Henry Daglish from Bicycle, and Ronny Golan from ViewersLogic.

I could not agree more with the title of the piece, that we need to start measuring the person, not the media. However, much time we spend online, and whether we are embracing the metaverse or not, we are human beings living in a physical world. And people buy products.

Measurement is complex. The interview demonstrated that very well as Henry and Ronny debated the merits of both single source and the need for multiple datasets (and also referenced by Ian Dowd’s comments on the piece).

There is no doubt that we need to get to grips with this complexity, otherwise we will drown in data and techniques.

I recently read an excellent blog by Jim Carroll, latterly chairman of ad agency BBH, about the balance between complexity and simplicity: “As simple as possible but not simpler”. It’s well worth a read, as are all his weekly blogs.

There were two quotes in this particular piece which struck me:

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Albert Einstein

“Complexity means distracted effort. Simplicity means focused effort.” Edward de Bono

Our tendency as human beings is to make things simpler, so we don’t have to deal with the complexity, or to find a way to cut through it.

But simpler doesn’t mean less time or effort. Our role as people who work in measurement is to make the complex simple, to help the people we serve find a way through the complexity.

Measurement of success needs to be front and centre

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of taking part in a panel at the Media Research Group annual conference.

Notably it was an all-female line-up with representation from across the industry — Bobi Carley from ISBA, Sarah Gale from Global, Kathryn Saxon from Wavemaker and myself, ably chaired by Chris Felton from JCDecaux (who had the unenviable task of keeping us all in check). We spent a happy half hour discussing all things measurement and effectiveness.

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It was clear to us all in the preparation for the panel discussion that the complexity described can often lead to solutions that are less than ideal, rushed, or not thought though.

After all, brands invest money in marketing and advertising to get a return, so measurement of success needs to be front and centre of our thinking.

So our group of ladies — and Chris — launched a measurement manifesto, with eight principles.

Measurement should:

1. be a forethought, not a mid nor an afterthought — it needs to be planned at the same time as the campaign itself.

2. have clarity on what is being evaluated — content or advertising — or both?

3. not be confused with effectiveness — if people don’t encounter your message how can they possibly respond – the counting of what and who is a precursor to effect, not the effect in itself

4. know that we market to people, not devices or platforms —so if we just collect digital data or one or two channels, what inputs are we missing out on? How does measurement marry the physical and the digital?

5. remember that no medium or channel is an island — they all work together to deliver results.

6. have sight on the sources of data and why they have been collected — don’t expect more of them than they can deliver

7. be all about triangulation — no data source alone is going to provide all the answers, but if several are pointing in a similar direction, then you’re on to something

8. use the past to inform the future — always ensure that you are applying learnings to future activity, not just looking back at the performance of campaigns

I am well aware that none of these are new nor are they ground-breaking, but in today’s busy and fast-moving world, with too often a focus on the easy to measure and/or the short-term, we can forget the obvious.

How we might apply these to different campaigns, plans and categories will vary, but these principles need to be front and centre in guiding those decisions.

Denise Turner is chief executive at Route Research.

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