Are you still counting impressions?

A blanket approach to calculating the success of your campaigns is no longer good enough

The latest Marketing Week talked about the slow movement towards counting “attention minutes” rather than relying on impressions alone when looking at the success of online adverts. The argument being that clients would only pay for the bluehost active views, based on whether a user is scrolling, typing or clicking on the page, rather than total impressions, where in actual fact the advert could be obstructed due to screen size, or the user hasn’t actually visited the newly opened window.

This would mean clients are paying for real impressions, not a potential which in turn leads to better quality measurements on the real performance of adverts and the real value.

So what does it mean for social or even PR using traditional media which rely on impressions and circulation numbers respectively as key metrics for success?

Impressions or even potential impressions remain a big key metric in social, but with the lifespan of a tweet for example, rivalling the time it takes to blink, impressions once again fall short at giving the real data to support your campaign validity.

The good news is that Facebook has already started tracking attention minutes, and has enlisted the help of analytics company Mode “to build up this potential.” With Facebook taking the lead it won’t be long until the others will follow suit.

But outside of attention minutes, who and how can you measure the impact of the advert.

It is important to state here that impressions do have their merit and if the aim of adverts and campaigns is to increase brand awareness and sales, impressions and click rates, leading to sales are still very valid metrics to benchmark success on, but what if your campaigns and adverts serve a different purpose?

For example if your advert is set to change people’s opinions what else can be tracked? The “newly” coined attention minutes will let you know how many people are really seeing your message, but how do you measure change in perception?

We believe it is important to know who is behind the numbers, how your audience is reacting to campaigns, i.e. what are they saying in the FB comments? How are they talking amongst each other? How does your campaign or brand make them feel, what are the pain points, what other products or brands are they evaluating in addition to yours?

With traditional media, again we believe in an amalgamation between quantitative and qualitative data. Yes knowing circulation numbers is important to understand the potential volume, and even media value, but knowing if the articles are positive/negative, reviews, commentaries, interviews, what is the driver/key topic behind the posts is equally as crucial.

It is only when you put the numbers with the meaning behind them together that you are able to formulate or optimise existing campaigns, brand messages or even inform future product or services development.

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