5 Tips for Smarter Measurement Strategies
My last post talked about the dangers of conflating email performance rates with the overall success of an online program and how industry benchmarks are a dangerous proxy for setting the bar for success.
So if benchmarking rates is a poor yardstick, what’s a digital strategist to do to evaluate overall performance? While every program’s different, here are a few tips:
– Focus on You: industry benchmarks might be interesting, but real performance should be measured based on the history of your house list, not others. Track performance over a year based on different audience and action types and then use month over month and year over year metrics to compare. Set goals based on a theory of what volume and type of actions are needed to achieve your campaign objective.
– Keep your Eye on the Prize: we don’t send emails because we want to brag about how well they perform. Keep overall campaign outcomes as a key driving metric and incorporate email performance metrics as a means to that end. Set metric based goals up front with a strong rationale, keep sight on what you are trying to accomplish and how efficiently you were able to do so.
– Maximize Efficiency: the goal of an online analytics program should be to track how efficiently an online campaign can meet its objective. The question is did you ultimately expend or build resources in reaching your goal? Track a net capacity count (new emails onto the file minus unsubscribes, social media subscribes etc.) from your outreach as key performance indicator in the success of a campaign.
– Optimize: it’s still important to test and optimize! Don’t get me wrong, you should always be testing and striving for higher rates, just remember why you’re doing it. You want to optimize to squeeze as much out of your list as possible, not to measure the worth of your overall campaign.
– Circle Back on Your Goals: I’m always amazed at how often a campaign will blow away engagement metric goals but totally fail to accomplish a policy objective or we’ll come up short on a projected engagement goal but still win the campaign. Learning about the relationship between grassroots activity and the outcome of a campaign is as much an art as science, but you have to make sure to be explicit about going back and evaluating overall impact.