Busting the Myths Around Communication Measurement

This week marks the virtual presentation of the AMEC 2020 Global Summit on Measurement and Evaluation, with the world’s top leaders and practitioners in the field of communications research and analytics gathering for two days of presentations and awards that summarize the state of our discipline. In honor of this year’s theme—Measurement Frameworks, Myths and New Horizons—Ketchum Analytics has asked members of our global team for examples of the measurement myths that are ripe for debunking.

One theme that connects these myths points to the need to integrate your analytics experts into the broader conversation—from planning to development, launching and reporting. They can help answer questions, flag how data can support/ streamline, and support ROI.

MYTH: Impressions, particularly huge numbers of impressions, are a good measure of the impact of PR.
REALITY: Impressions as a standalone number don’t tell us if we’re reaching the right people, if they are “good” impressions (i.e., with quality mentions or key messages included) or if they’re actually resonating at all with our intended audience.
Patrick O’Donnell, Vice President, Analytics (Chicago)

MYTH: We cannot use certain data because of GDPR. Our policies do not allow us to use link tracking, and so we cannot track the success of our efforts.
REALITY: While not all data can be available, there is plenty that is! Working closely with your data/analytics experts will allow you to navigate the GDPR space and still find ways to measure, track and optimize.
Gilles Bouillot: Office Head, Ketchum Düsseldorf and Head of Research & Analytics
   Frederik Tautz: Partner, Executive Director, Digital (Düsseldorf)

MYTH: Data literacy is for specialists only. I do not need to understand data, since we have people who do this full-time.
REALITY: Everyone has the ability to understand data. While experts may be needed for the technical components, storytelling and incorporating data into your day-to-day decisions can and should be done by everyone. Do not be intimidated!
Gilles Bouillot: Office Head, Ketchum Düsseldorf and Head of Research & Analytics
   Frederik Tautz: Partner, Executive Director, Digital (Düsseldorf)

MYTH: Measurement is the final step of the digital planning process.
REALITY: Too often, measurement is a PowerPoint deck at the end of a campaign with charts and KIPs that, unfortunately, most of the audience doesn’t even understand—which usually leads to more questions. Insight data and measurement methods should be incorporated into planning, optimizing steps, and reporting. You need to be able to make real-time updates or changes, which is impossible to do if you only measure at the end.
Rafael Lucas, Digital Solutions Director (São Paulo)

MYTH:  We do magic. A lot of non-analytics people feel that we have special tools that can do any sort of analysis in seconds and don’t understand when we can’t perform our services in the quick timeframe that they specify.
REALITY: Crafting insights take time! Whether it’s figuring out the research questions, doing the right analysis or crafting the finished product, we’re not sorcerers—we work hard to get you the information that you need to push what the client wants forward.
Alisabeth Shine, Director, Analytics (NYC)

MYTH: The core team does not need to include an analytics/ research person. We will just bring them in for a report at the end.
REALITY: Analytics and research need to be integrated into the entire process as a part of the core team. We will help uncover insights about the target audience, the white space the brand/campaign can own, language for messaging and platforms to use. We will help track and optimize performance. We will prove and showcase ROI and make actionable recommendations. But, we need to be integrated in order to understand the goals of the program and  make sure the data is usable.
Nicole Moreo, Senior Vice President, Analytics (NYC)

Anyone interested in learning more about this is welcome to register to the join AMEC Summit and experience the associated content. In addition to this week’s presentations the Summit kicks off a season of AMEC webinars that will continue through the summer, so there will be plenty of opportunity to continue exploring these myths—and the reality behind them. If you’d like to have a conversation about how we can help support the measurement and analytics  programs in your own organization, just let us know.

Mary Elizabeth Germaine is partner and managing director of Ketchum Analytics, one of the largest research groups embedded within a major communications agency and a pioneer in communications research and analytics for over 20 years. Under her leadership, Ketchum Analytics received AMEC’s 2020 Platinum Award for the most effective media intelligence, research & insights company. Since joining the agency in 2001, Mary Elizabeth has been instrumental in growing the Analytics team to number well over 60 in 12 cities globally. Mary Elizabeth counsels clients on how to make the best use of analytics and derives insights to develop strategic communication program, with work that spans the entire communications process — from planning to testing to evaluation. She has also worked alongside Omnicom PR Group’s chief innovation officer in the development of a new precision communications platform, omniearnedID.