Digital evaluation – what does success look like? – 3 March 2015

Nightmare or sweet dreams? What does success in digital PR look like? was the question and the answer was that it can generate valuable corporate-wide insights – as long as you ask the right questions first, attendees at the Marcomms Group seminar were told.

Digital evaluation - what does success look like?
Speakers Tim Zecchin, Anna Salter and Richard Bagnall

The answer is nothing to do with Output, but only measurement of Outtake and Output, said Richard Bagnall, CEO of PRIME Research UK and SVP of PRIME Research Europe. Richard is also chair of the AMEC (the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communications) social media measurement panel.

He described measurement and evaluation of digital media as a nightmare:

There are over 240 measurement devices; none of them agree. Evaluation of digital media should focus on conversations not hits, clicks, or traditional media measures such as OTS or column inches.

Digital measurement must return to answering the fundamental question:

What do we want to achieve from a PR programme and its activities’? Consultancies and clients must be rigorous in insisting that measurement agencies provide simple answers to their questions.

Highly practical approaches and case histories showed how evaluation of digital media can deliver comprehensible results, not masses of barely digestible data.

Tim Zecchin from Media Measurement described five measurement hurdles and said that sometimes most value can be found in free measurement tools such as Twitter or Google Analytics.

“Measure what matters,” he said. ‘You can measure much more than just brand mentions.” Digital conversations can cover key corporate targets too and involve every level of a company from Marcomms reputation issues and insight into trends, he said.

Tim proposed a process that ran from setting objectives and benchmark measures to analysis of results for future action.

Anna Salter of Kantar Media News Intelligence said that social media analysis gave faster results. “Studies which previously would have taken weeks or months can be done in real-time. It is quicker and more cost-effective” she said.

Anna Salter

Social media can also hold the key to answering fundamental questions, such as when to advertise. Anna cited the example of publicity for the Star Trek film.

Should the promoter book a second round of above the line ads after film launch or rely on word of mouth?

The buzz in social media revealed genuine interest in recommending or seeing the film. The recommendation from Kantar was that the promoter did not need to spend millions of pounds more to support the film.