Reporting 2.0: A Recalibration of Digital Measurement

Social and digital media is revelatory, giving us a platform to change the world and engage audiences across the globe. We can inspire, educate and entertain, while also having the unprecedented ability to measure, track, report, slice, dice, pivot and visualize all of the data in real-time.

With this wealth of information at our fingertips, we often get ahead of ourselves and report on everything from followers and bounce rate, to impressions and click through rate. Every program should have some level of measurement, dependent on size and scale. We need to refrain from creating monstrous reports bursting with charts, graphs and appendices; reporting on anything and everything.  We should only measure what matters the most to know what worked, what didn’t and inform what you can do better next time.

While there’s plenty of value in all of that data, in my opinion, it’s time for a recalibration of digital measurement. We’ve got to stop relying solely on vanity metrics like reach and volume and start reporting on metrics to show how our work supports a brand, product, company… how we contribute to business objectives. Sure, you can still build the pretty charts, but we should collectively be focusing our attention on analyzing them, pulling out key insights and mapping these back to business objectives. This optimized approach to measurement starts with setting meaningful goals that are linked to business objectives. Measurement is about continuous improvement of performance, not only a retroactive look at success; goals should be identified and agreed up at the outset of a program Chat with stakeholders, discuss and debate their goals and objectives, and work in partnership with them to achieve these objectives using social and digital methods.

So, what’s in it for you as a communicator?

By building meaningful social benchmarks tied to business objectives, we can now report in a much more meaningful way, and deliver reporting that really demonstrates the impact of social and digital work. The data can then be used and inserted into other business reports. In the past, social and digital reports were often viewed in isolation. The best measurement links communications, marketing and other business functions in an integrated way.

Here are a few tips for creating meaningful reports that showcase strategic objectives:

  1. Focus on the relevancy of metrics. Visual (through charts and graphs) the metrics that best represent how the program supports and is relevant to business objectives – this is what will mean the most to your audience.
  2. Make progress. Once you’ve set some strategic and measurable goals, it’s important to visualize these goals and show progress toward them throughout the program – don’t wait until the end. This will help get teams excited and striving toward each benchmark.
  3. Share recommendations. It’s important at the end of a report to identify what you’ve learned, and how this will be put into action in the coming months. Demonstrate the value of the reports and strategic nature of its findings.
  4. Talk through it. It’s one thing to create a well built out and meaningful report, but often times there are areas that need to be explained, emphasized or clarified. It’s always a good idea to walk your stakeholders through the report, guide them through the information and make sure they understand the key points and takeaways.

Reporting shouldn’t be a chore, but a tool to demonstrate progress, value and mine for insights. Recalibrate your reporting and it will pay off!

If you’d like to learn more about Ketchum’s research and measurement capabilities, feel free to leave a comment below or reach out directly to Mary Elizabeth Germaine, KGRA’s global managing director.