What is the best way to measure the success of your campaign?

What is the best way to measure the success of your campaign?
Opinion: Strategy Leaders

Nina Franck explores how to pick and mix campaign measurement tools to work in the long-run and avoid short-term thinking.

While it seems that marketers seem to like chasing ROIs and short-term goals, I think it is worth reminding ourselves how to set up a measurement plan that works for our overall marketing objectives, serve the brands and ultimately help set up a campaign that serves exactly that.

To measure the success of your campaign you have to start by defining success before you plan the campaign, let alone run the campaign.

Don’t try to retrofit a success story. It doesn’t work and it doesn’t help your business. Be clear about what you want and need from this campaign upfront.

Measuring success of the campaign is done in two ways. One is looking at direct media metrics that will help determine whether your campaign is performing as planned. The other way is external measurement that looks at long-term success and business impacts of your campaign.

Both need to work hand in hand, though!

Direct media measurement

Define what success looks like for your specific campaign. It will help you be very clear about how you choose your platforms, ad formats and ultimately your success metrics that you can optimize against while being live and ultimately measure at the end of the campaign.

Media metrics measurement is linked to your campaign’s individual KPIs (key performance indicators) and depends on what the overall media goal of your campaign is.

If you want to build up awareness, you want to look at maximum reach which is measured through impressions, views or television ratings (TVRs).

Considering attention is a great way to ensure that your ads get the highest chance to be noticed within an environment and platform that allows your ad and message to be noticed, seen or heard fully.

Building maximum reach within your category audience is crucial to remain within the relevant set and create mental availability (see Byron Sharp, How Brands Grow).

For sales campaigns key KPIs are website visits or add to basket of course. But please bear in mind a brand cannot grow by solely focusing on these KPIs. Awareness and reach are so very crucial for a brand to grow.

It is also crucial that you pick the right channel, platform and ad formats that serve the KPI. The KPIs will tell you which metrics to look at during and at the end of the campaign to see if it is delivering as planned, or even exceeding.

It is tempting to look at all the metrics that are available — especially in digital. But don’t fall into this trap. If you need to build up reach, don’t analyse and optimize against clicks or engagements. Be sure to stay focused with the metrics. Analysing too many, and even acting on too many will murk your campaign performance and don’t help you at all in the end.

To help you choose the right platforms and formats, take your own learnings from your last campaigns. And do not just take the positive stuff, but the bad stuff. Dig into what has gone wrong. What has not worked at all. This will give you valuable insights to improve your campaign and ultimately help your brand.

While the campaign is live check the metrics against your KPIs at least weekly. Stay close to the performance so you can jump in and make changes such as amending the targeting or making changes to the creative.

Give it some time to gather data though. Especially digital and social platforms need a few days to start collecting insights from your campaign to make the changes based on their algorithms. But act when something is going wrong.

If you are brave enough, add a new platform to your mix. Start with benchmarks from the industry or from the media owner. Over time you will build your own thresholds.

Each campaign is unique due to the brand, audience and creative you pick. Chasing best cases can be inspiring and sometimes helpful, but look at worst cases. These are the places where you will find the most valuable insights.

Long-term measurement

Now, this is the most important part as this will help you set up a plan and campaign that works for your business in the long run, not chasing some short-term ROIs.

To connect the results of the campaign to business outcomes look at long-term measurement through independent specialist houses who can help you identify the most effective channel mix for your business or help you identify the channels that will allow your ads to get the most attention from the audience.

Attribution modelling has value in avoiding falling into the last-click-counts trap. Be aware though as attribution modelling mainly focusses on digital and is highly flawed with results varying significantly depending on who you go with (Google or Facebook) as obviously they want to sell their products. If you want to go with this measurement be sure to go with an independent player.

Media mix modelling does for example help you get answers about which channel has contributed to your business performance the most. This will help you build your yearly strategies and budget allocation towards channels.

Brand lift studies will look at the channels but also at the creative, analysing how both have contributed to awareness, brand favourability or sales intention for example.

Business outcome measurement requires commitment in terms of time and costs but it will help in driving the brand forward in the long-term and will prevent you from falling into the short-term thinking trap.

There is no one single measurement that will give you all the answers. Pick and mix the options that serve your business situation and budgets the most.

Nina Franck is director, client success, at Adscanner and has been an independent media planning consultant

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