Today’s marketers are under more pressure than ever to measure performance and quantify the impact of their efforts on business outcomes. For direct response marketers, this accountability isn’t new – for years, they have been obligated to meet critical success metrics identified at the outset of campaigns, such as conversions, purchases and revenue. With the rise of advanced measurement solutions, the increased use of digital marketing, and the availability of granular, user-level data, it is easier than ever to track direct response marketing results. CEOs expect measurable ROI, and direct response marketers are able to deliver on those expectations.

Brand marketers, on the other hand, have not been held to the same level of accountability as their direct response counterparts. They are challenged with measuring metrics such as “engagement,” which is much more difficult to quantify. In fact, a recent Visual IQ study found that while 77 percent of marketers in the U.S. find measurement very or extremely important to brand marketing efforts, 84 percent are less confident about their branding measurement capabilities when compared to direct response efforts.

As increasingly higher percentages of marketing budgets are devoted to digital channels that are inherently more trackable, CMOs need to adapt, and the pressure is on to gain a better understanding of their brand marketing performance and the key performance indicators (KPIs) upon which success is measured. So what are today’s CMOs to do? Here are four best practices for CMOs to consider in order to bring greater accountability to their brand marketing efforts:

Say goodbye to antiquated, survey-based methods: Today, most brand marketers rely on survey-based methods to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. However, survey recruitment takes time to ramp up to statistical significance, and the results might not be able to tell marketers which specific channels (TV, online display, etc.) and tactics (publisher, placement, keyword, creative, etc.) are driving engagement. Moreover, most surveys exhibit poor repeatability, and are subject to bias based on the types of questions asked and how the questions are worded. Data-driven brand measurement based on a single brand engagement score eliminates these flaws by providing a standardized approach to measurement. Using a currency that is based on actual user interactions, brand marketers have the level of data needed to analyze their efforts holistically, and optimize granularly in order to drive incremental brand lift.

Leverage digitally trackable engagement: To calculate and leverage a single brand engagement score for measurement and optimization, brand marketers can take a page from the direct response playbook by identifying brand engagement activities that are trackable. Examples of trackable activities include: rich media ad interactions, first-time website visits, video views, and visits to key content pages such as product configurators, pricing configurators, and the like. While these types of interactions aren’t transaction-based conversions, they hold significant value as indicators of interest and potential intent, and must be tracked so that media can be optimized to drive these brand engagement activities.

Assign value to interactions: Once trackable brand engagement activities have been identified, a value should be assigned to those different interactions based on the relative importance to the business. For example, a whitepaper download may ultimately drive twice as many conversions as a first-time website visit, and therefore should be given a value that’s double of that assigned to the first-time visits. Once values have been assigned, marketing teams can then optimize their media to drive the higher-value brand engagement activities.

But since many marketers run dozens, sometimes hundreds of branding campaigns simultaneously, each designed to drive multiple types of engagement actions, manually optimizing to every single brand engagement activity can quickly spiral out of control. Successful CMOs arm their branding teams with advanced marketing measurement technologies that automate the process for incorporating multiple brand activities into a single engagement score metric. Such an approach not only streamlines measurement and optimization, but also enables brand marketers to easily see which channels and tactics are driving brand engagement so they can make optimization decisions faster.

Supplement reach metrics: Reach has been, and still is, a critical metric for planning and measuring the success of branding campaigns. Used to measure the total number of people exposed to an ad during a given time period, reach analysis can provide insights to help marketers understand and optimize brand marketing performance. However, reach is simply a proxy for brand engagement – while it enables marketers to track exposure to an ad, it doesn’t reveal the extent to which that ad influences consumers to interact with a brand (if at all.) When reach is supplemented to an engagement score, marketers can confidently allocate their budgets to the channels and tactics proven to stimulate prospects to take a desired brand engagement action.

Whether their efforts are direct response focused, branding focused or both, today’s CMOs are being held to higher standards of accountability. By following the best practices outlined above, CMOs and their teams can infuse the same data-driven virtues across all of their marketing efforts. Moreover, they can provide the CEO and CFO with defensible, quantifiable evidence of the business outcomes those efforts create.