Communications Measurement Trends from AMEC Summit 2021

There’s nothing I love more than the latest communications measurement trends. While my favorite month of the year may be Measurement Month (yes, it’s real, and it’s in November!), my favorite week is AMEC Summit week! Hosted by the world’s premiere organization for communications measurement professionals, this year’s virtual event blew me away with the value of the content available and the connections made online (though I can’t wait to reunite in-person next year in Vienna!).

Communications Measurement Trends from the 2021 AMEC Summit - abstract image of data charts

I could not have been happier that the AMEC Board selected this year’s theme of “Communication Accountability: Planning, Purpose and Proof.” Planning is a key element to success that is usually overlooked, and as a Board member I was proud to support the unveiling of the new AMEC Planning Resources and help people rethink how to use data and get started with planning.

I asked some of my fellow Ketchum Analytics colleagues from around the globe to share some of their favorite communications measurement trends and insights from this year’s Summit, and here’s what they had to say.

Stacey Jaffe, director, Analytics (U.S.)

• Meet audiences where they are. You’ll never know how to move the needle with your audiences and stakeholders if you don’t know their starting point, what matters most to them, and what motivates them. Always keep your audience at the core, and build your strategic plans from there.
• Keep it simple. Delivering impact means cutting through the noise to find the most direct and data-led insights. Find the data hook that will serve as your anchor, and use that as your foundation for meaningful insight.

Lauren Hasse, managing consultant, Analytics (U.S.)
One of my favorite sessions was “Changing Behaviour, Protecting the NHS, Saving Lives: Demonstrating the Benefits of the Government’s Covid-19 Communication Activity.” I often utilize the phrase, “It’s PR, not ER,” but this session covered a true life-or-death situation. It showcased not only how communication played a vital role during a public health crisis, but how important effective evaluation is in helping to guide a program throughout the entirety of a program, not just at the end. Identifying what’s working and not working in real time allows us to pivot strategy as needed while it’s still underway, which is something we all need to continue to push for in our work, even when it’s not as dire a situation.

Rafael Lucas, digital solutions director (Brazil)
In Brazil, there has been a lot of discussion about the central role of audience control and attribution models in the measurement process. This was the main topic of the presentation hosted by Ketchum’s own Mary Elizabeth Germaine and Erin Lanuti from Omnicom PR Group, about “BST: New Frontier of Earned Attribution.” Integrated data is the future. We should base the development of platforms and methodologies on understanding the efforts made in each part of the market mix model, which will guarantee the necessary learning for future decisions.

Marni Zapakin, vice president, group manager, Analytics (U.S.)
One learning that particularly stood out for me is being reminded that the most important aspect of analytics is not about finding the right answers, but rather making sure we are asking the right questions.

Nanette Besson, director, Analytics (Germany)
While there were a lot of very exciting and interesting sessions, I really enjoyed Alexander Hinckley Rose’s session, “The Data-Driven Communicator: Getting Insights from Text.” He presented open-source Python tools to analyze social media comments, which is an area more people in the communications space will need to learn about in the future. I am excited for it!

Patrick O’Donnell, Vice President, Analytics (U.S.)
My personal feelings about impressions are not new, so I was interested in how the measurement industry is continuing to talk about this subject, and particularly online impressions. A session titled “Beyond Reach: Estimating Article-level Readership,” led by Maya Koleva, head of Research and Insight, Commetric, and Rune Kleveland, CTO, Opoint Technology, laid out some of the problems with online impressions, particularly when counted as a domain level — i.e., when we count any placement that runs on a single site with the same number of potential views:

• Location — being aware of where an article resides on a website — matters, similar to who we’d look at print media.
• Not all sites are the same — major news outlets or sources may share thousands of articles a month, compared to smaller niche sites that may share one a day.
 Other proxies for measuring impact help, but aren’t perfect. Social shares provide an indication of interest, but are limited to social media users. which isn’t a reflection of the total population. Search is also an interesting measure, but may not be strong enough in real time.

When we start to talk about “real” impressions, we’ll need to prepare for earned program totals to come down. We’ll likely no longer see a campaign drive a billion impressions — and that’s good. We can and should talk about real numbers and what those mean. That’s how we continue to push PR measurement forward.

Personally, I was excited by seeing how much the industry has matured and grown. A couple of years ago I would never have thought we would be discussing communications measurement trends like AI, blockchain, n-grams and attribution… It is exciting to see this growth, and I cannot wait to see what is next.

If you’d like to talk more about what any of these learnings might mean for your organization, just get in touch.