Communication’s importance has been more and more recognized throughout the years. Organizations see in communication a way to grow and to create and maintain relationships with its stakeholders as clients, employees, partners, among others. However, to communicate is not enough. It is necessary to measure and evaluate communication and the used strategy.
Why measure and evaluate communication?
Communication’s evaluation is important for allowing to understand if the communication actions have the desired impact. We must highlight the many benefits that come out of measuring and evaluating communication:
1 – Measure results – measuring and evaluating allow to guarantee if the used language works, if advertisement arouses interest; if call to actions result in conversions (in digital marketing), if the content is appropriate, if the channels are suitable, etc.
2 – Know the audience – measure and evaluate allow to understand public’s perception and reaction of communication, and even of products and companies. In this process, it is possible to get some insights about the public and to understand what the public’s expectations from organizations are.
3 – Possibility of adaption – if measurement and evaluation are frequent, it is possible to adapt communication so it can be more effective. Metrics help to understand what is working and what is not can be excluded from the plan.
4 – Direct the investment – to measure and evaluate allow to optimize investments. The results from communication’s campaigns allow to know where to invest efforts and to identify the return that might exist.
5 – Evaluation as bottom line – the evaluation of communication’s results works as a starting point to new strategies and new campaigns, that might be created based on positive and negative aspects from previous campaigns, as well as based on data and information obtained through evaluation.
Analyzing KPI (key performance indicators) can be a long process, but those analyzed numbers come out from a person’s behavior towards an organization, reason why it must be analyzed and interpreted.
How to measure and evaluate communication?
In a Newsware study to 500 communicators, 98% of the inquired considered measuring communication important. However, 60% did not measure communication and, from those who did, only 16% were satisfied with the way they did it.
To measure and evaluate communication is necessary to define, from all the available indicators, which can be quantitative or qualitative, those that make sense. With the huge flow of information and communication that exists nowadays, it is necessary to know which indicators make sense to measure and follow, in order to actions, strategies and campaigns to be efficient.
These indicators, also known as KPI, the so-called key performance indicators, change between campaigns and must be defined according to multiple factors: the market’s analysis, the situation in which the organization is at the moment of communication, what the organization wants to communicate and how it wants to communicate it. Therefore, a KPI that makes sense now can no longer make sense later or in other strategies.
After defining indicators, its data must be collected, analysed and interpreted, on a continuous way, in order to verify if communication is being effective.
Some examples of metrics that can be considered when evaluating your organization’s communication are:
1 – Page views – The number of visualizations of a website’s page and the time spent there (if they immediately get out, it can be a sign that something is wrong; if they stay for a long time, it can be a sign that the titles and the design make sense);
2 – New vs. returning users – To know if the page’s users are new or, on the other hand, are frequent (in case you are trying to engage and to build customer loyalty, this is a way of knowing the relation between public and company);
3 – Conversion rate – The number of clients that a communication strategy can take into an action can be verified with this indicator. Some examples are the number of visitors that downloaded an eBook, or the number of visitors who have registered themselves to receive the blog’s newsletter. This rate allows to verify interest in content, if the content is adequate or must be changed, if what they are doing is positive.
4 – Number of newsletter subscribers – The number of subscribers who wants to receive the newsletter lets you know if the intended number is being achieved, it is then mandatory to examine the success and rejection rates so that, if necessary, improve contents.
5 – Social interactions – On social networks, likes, shares and comments are relevant. It is necessary to identify not only the number but also the content, in order to interpret feedback, expectations and needs.
6 – Traffic’s origin – The traffic’s origin can be organic (i.e., traffic that comes from search engines without any payment from the company – here we can also include the direct traffic, which comes from the insertion of the domain address on the address bar) or can be paid (the paid traffic comes from ads which are sponsored on platforms such as Facebook, for example). This metric allows to know if it is necessary to diverse the traffic origins, in order to not being dependent on one channel, to know if the investment in advertisement is working, if the content is being optimized for search engines, etc.
7 – Most read contents – The maintenance and restructuring of contents can happen, based on the most read contents, in order to identify what went right and what went wrong.
8 – Clipping – It is about the selection, registration and compilation in one report of the news referring to the organization that were published in newspapers, magazines, radios, sites, television channels and other media. When doing clipping, it is important to consider not only the number of published news, but also the content that is published and the media in which the news are published. It is also possible to maintain, through clipping, a comparison towards competitor organizations.
9 – AVE (Advertising Value Equivalent) – Associated with the level of exposure of organizations on media, this value is about the equivalent space in advertising that news can have. However, this metric has been called into question, once it does not reflect the real value it had, once it does not take into account the gained (or lost) reputation, the news’ reach, its comparison to other companies, etc.
To measure and evaluate result in multiple benefits to companies. Through metrics, as the ones that were presented, on a constant work, it is possible to ensure that your communication is effective.
Sofia Neves, press officer in Media em Movimento