Measurement Basics

How do we know if our communications are working?

You have gone through the process. Your plan was great, you created award-winning collateral, and it went to exactly the right people. But, now that the work is out there, how do you really know if your communications were really effective? Do you know the answers to the following questions?

  • Did my target audience receive my communication? Was it opened? Was any action taken?
  • How much of my information did they understand? What are the outcomes I need to see to know my communications were effective?
  • How can I improve next time?

Some things to think about for measurable communications

  1. Was my communication received?

What measures or feedback loops can you design into your communications plan to show that your message made it? For example:

    • Bulk email software can be used to provide open rates and link click-through rates.
    • Actions that you ask your audience to take can be counted ( e.g., take a picture of this poster on your wall and be entered for a prize, call our service centre and ask for “Martha” to start the new process, etc.).
    • Surveys or forms that can provide completion rates.

There are many ways to build measurement into your communications plan, so consider what strategies will help you understand if you achieved the engagement you were looking for (or if you didn’t, and you need to take further action).

  1. What parts of my communications were read?
    To know if your communications are effective, it’s usually not enough to simply know if someone received your information. For example, if your goal is to prepare an audience for a new skill, you need to know if they understood the training that was communicated to them, and if they can act on the information they learned. Since our target audiences respond differently to different methods of communication, we package communications in different ways: videos, images, spreadsheet, documents, etc. Ideally, you’ll to be able to measure which pieces of your content were opened, read, or acted upon.
  2. Did my target audience understand?
    The point of communicating is the have people understand what they received. Face to face, you can read people’s body language. In the digital world, surveys and feedback loops are the best forms of measurement. Check your recipients’ understanding by including a quick survey to solicit their feedback or to gauge their reactions and comprehension. It doesn’t have to be long — you can often know by just a few quick multiple choice, true/false, likert scale (i.e. 1-5), or short answer questions where your audience stands!
  3. Can I improve my communications?
    To keep an audience engaged and committed to reading your messages and working with you,  you will want to continuously improve how you share information. Each time you share information to either a new or existing audience, their responses may change. Analyze what worked and what didn’t, then adjust your plan.

How to access

If you’re interested in more information on communications measurement, get in touch with your VPFO communications advisor.