Bringing It All Together
At this point, you should be more familiar with setting proper goals, using potential digital metrics and what they mean, and how you can continue leveraging traditional activities to help better inform digital ones. Assume for a moment that you have built your program, have begun executing your program, know which metrics you are going to use, and have begun collecting data. Now, what should you do? That is the million-dollar question, right? How often should you report? What should the reporting template look like? What should you report to your leadership versus to other internal stakeholders? The answer to all of those questions is, of course, “It depends on the company.” However, communicators can follow some generally accepted practices that. Read on.
The Reporting Timeline
The frequency at which you report depends a lot on your leadership and how thirsty for data you are, as well as the time frame for your stated objectives. The best measurement programs utilize a combination of approaches. Those programs produce a monthly snapshot with a high-level synopsis of how core metrics are tracking. Then every quarter, those same companies produce a deeper dive that shows how the targeted behavior has changed. That said, for front-line managers or contributors focused on optimization at the channel or platform level, more frequent reporting will likely be necessary, whether that be daily, weekly, or monthly reports.
The Reporting Template
A number of templates are available to communicators, and oftentimes a simple email or Word document with key metrics tracked over time and an executive summary would suffice. However, most of the best-practice measurement programs create scorecards and build presentations based on those scorecards. The scorecards are typically integrated (traditional and digital together) and provide a snapshot and deep-dive into how the program performed.
Different Strokes for Different Folks
Not everyone within an organization needs to see a deep-dive report. Your manager probably wants to see it, but higher-lever stakeholders probably want a more condensed, executive-level snapshot. That can be as simple as a bulleted email with key highlights or as complicated as a truncated scorecard matrix. Figure out what your leadership would like to see and how often updates would be beneficial.
You now have a solid foundation for setting measurable goals, understanding what metrics matter and what the individual metrics mean, and knowing how the metrics can be utilized with traditional research techniques and how you bring it all together for either a monthly or quarterly (or both) report. Now, we will dive into each of these areas more deeply!