measuring message results

When measuring campaign results, the most important metric is ultimately the business outcome. However, assessing program analytics measuring the relative success of campaign elements can reveal important details about performance. Additionally, savvy communicators can use conclusions from these analyses to improve the results of future campaigns.

Individual message performance, whether we’re talking about press releases, blog posts or even social media updates, can reveal important information about audience preferences and the effectiveness of a specific message.

  • Views: The overall number of views a message generates tells you a lot about the language you used in the headline or social update that immediately garnered attention. Isolate top performing messages and look for patterns. You can even test different approaches (social media is great for this) by benchmarking your average results, using a specific format for a group of messages, and then comparing the results generated against your benchmarks.
  • Interactions: Once you’ve identified the top performing messages, tighten the filter and analyze which generated the most interactions. “Interaction” is a broad term, encompassing everything from social and an e-mail share to numbers of downloads, but it’s an important indicator of the degree to which the audience valued your message. Those social shares equate to message amplification, and more specific interactions inch closer to the ultimate outcome. Content that drives lots of views but few interactions doesn’t deliver a lot of value for the brand. Analyze the content that generated the most interactions, again looking for patterns.
  • Clicks: In analyzing the click-through rate on a per-message basis, we’re tightening the filter once again, and assessing whether or not a message successfully inspired the audience to pursue the desired course of action, such as registering for a webinar, downloading a paper or clicking on a link served in the content. Paying attention to the click through rate will reveal which messages were the most compelling (and most effective.)

Future content can be improved by applying key findings from each of these three areas.

One word of caution: Search engines and audience preferences change with surprising speed. Take the time to run this sort of assessment several times per year. Additionally, if you’re targeting a variety of markets or personas with your content, assessing the message results within specific verticals can also be useful.

In addition to assessing content through the lens of business outcomes, it’s also important to note that views, engagement actions and click-through rate are also important indicators of content quality in the eyes of search engine algorithms. Continually tightening the screws on these factors can contribute positively to the organization’s search rank.

The transaction that happens when someone reads a piece of digital comment, and is interested enough to click on a link the publisher has offered is an important conversion within the decision funnel, and is an important data point PR teams should be reporting and using as a tool to measure campaign ROI, as well.