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CommsCon X Insights: How to measure magic

Digital is not the ‘new media’ anymore, but rather the prime source of storytelling and the arena where all the magic happens. This was one of the key takeaways from the last session of the day, ‘How to measure magic’ at Cision’s CommsCon X Insights event that took place on June 25.

By Dona Bouloud, research analyst, Cision

The day itself looked at the current state of evaluation and the integration of AI within PR, but as Johna Burke, AMEC’s global managing director asked “If the modernisation of communications is inevitable, how can measurement professionals adjust to it?”

The panel of ‘magic measurers’ included William Bonnadio, social media consultant, Jenn Day, search and engagement lead at Colgate-Palmolive, and Chris Talago, VP PR and communications, JAPAC & EMEA, Oracle, and the message was clear ‘research will always be key: sit down and think’.

Some things just never change. All of the speakers agreed that research remains a fundamental step towards the building of an audience, content or a campaign. Chris emphasised the importance of gathering real data around an audience before attempting to engage with it. If you understand where your stakeholders are and what they like, you will know where to look for when assessing the success of your messaging.

The panel also highlighted that post-project research is an effective way of generating feedback about a campaign. Jenn proposed social listening as one of the best ways to do this.

Quality > quantity: find one thing that works, not 10 things that can do the job

Accuracy is more important than volume, so communicators shouldn’t seek the highest figures anymore. William demonstrated this well when discussing the differences between Facebook and Twitter. While the first social channel is most likely to diffuse broadcast content, the second is all about on-the-moment stories. If users don’t use them the same way, we shouldn’t expect the same amount of likes and shares across both platforms.

This analogy also applies to paid and earned media: according to Chris, the content quality of a title read by a specific audience is more significant than its readership across the broader population. The more tailored the formula is, the easier it will be measured.

It has always been about the people

Now that you know your customers and how to reach them, what do you say to them? Jenn provided a clear answer to that question: create personalised and segmented content that shows how much you value their loyalty. Source creativity within your business to make it stand out, and be always keen to interact with them. Our understanding of this point is that having a responsive attitude towards your stakeholders will grow your understanding of their needs and create a safe space for authenticity.

This insight was supported by William, who outlined that two short pieces of content sent on a weekly basis are equally impactful as biannual fame building campaigns. Stories don’t necessarily have to go viral to be effective.

You need magic in order to measure it

In the age of digitalised and fast communications, one must not lose the importance of quality and effectiveness in the creation of a story and the calculation of its impact.

For Jenn, magic is value. You win if you find a resource that adds value to a specific need. For Chris, magic is when you can replicate the use of this resource throughout markets as much as possible. As for William, creating magic is ensuring to push clients’ objectives in a way that resonates with audiences.