In bygone days of advertising, measuring the success of a media campaign often relied on the client to confirm increased sales or in-store traffic.  Industry advancements and digital technology now give agencies and clients new options to set meaningful goals and measure campaign success.

However, more measurement tools mean more variables and metrics to sort through at campaign’s end. It can be very frustrating to review a campaign and suddenly discover everyone is looking at different variables to determine success. Strategic planning at the beginning of any campaign should always include a conversation on metrics for success. Determining these key performance indicators (KPIs) is a critical step. It requires collaboration and consensus between agency and client.    

Success metrics are derived from the broader campaign objectives and should be specific, measurable outcomes. For example, if one objective is to generate new customer leads and build a customer database, a metric for success may be to capture 200 form fills during a six-month campaign. In this example, form fills can be expressed by a specific number and connected directly to a campaign’s call-to-action.

Success metrics should also be realistic. This point can create some debate between client and agency. Trust the expertise each party brings to the table. It will lead to a unified decision.  The agency should be knowledgeable about the client’s business and share case studies and industry best practices. Clients will benefit by sharing insights from past campaigns and being transparent about current business outlook, as well as challenges and successes.

It may be tempting to create a laundry list of KPIs, but it is best practice to apply one key success metric per campaign. Attempting to fulfill too many KPIs with one campaign makes it difficult to attribute which tactics are truly impacting results. 

While digital tactics make it easier to declare specific success metrics, there are ways to measure success for traditional media tactics:  television post analysis to determine actual ratings delivery; brand lift studies to verify improved brand perception or increased brand awareness; call-tracking numbers to track phone inquiries.  Google Analytics can help evaluate success for digital campaigns, but it can also be used to measure increases in web activity as it correlates to traditional media activity.

Campaign success metrics should be part of every strategic planning discussion. You can’t measure success if you haven’t established what it looks like!