Like so many philosophical questions, this one doesn’t have the perfect answer. CEO’s, CMO’s and boards of directors have been asking themselves this for the past 80 years, and still haven’t figured it out.
However, while there isn’t a perfect method, methods do exist and we’ll give you the bona fide way the top 1% of advertising agencies use to measure advertising effectiveness for their clients.
Use Existing Data as a Baseline
I’ve got to get something off my chest. I HATE people who go for runs/jogs/walks whatever you call it. Solely because they’re healthy and make me feel bad about myself when I’m sitting on my couch eating chips and watching television. But if there’s one thing runners get right, it’s the fact that they track their running times and progress.
Similarly, in order to measure how effective your advertising is, you must start out with your current data as a baseline and compare it to future data (during the duration of the advertising). This data includes:
- Financial data such as sales, costs, net income/profit and return on investment (ROI).
- Website data such as traffic, leads and click-through-rates.
- Consumer data such as target audience, demographics reached and satisfaction levels.
ROI is the best measure and leading factor in how all major corporations track their advertising. ROI is basically the chocolate in a chocolate chip cookie. P.S. if you need a good chocolate chip cookie provider, we’ve got a guy.
Create Measurable Goals
After you determine what data you will use and track, it’s time to set realistic goals that you want to achieve with your advertising. This is how you will truly determine whether or not your advertising is effective. Some examples include:
- Increase in sales by 10%.
- More traffic and visitors on the website.
- Better Brand awareness amongst customer (done through focus groups, surveys, etc.).
- Positive ROI.
Goals that you can realistically reach given the time period are necessary. Like ingredients for a homemade recipe, your goals have to be measured out thoughtfully (and of course checked with your resident chef, AKA Mom)
Wait for the Paint to Dry
Alas, now is the time we get to sit back, grab a cold one and watch the magic happen. Let your campaign run as you’ve planned and be ready for any possible situations that may arise. After certain periods of time (a month, a quarter, etc.) start to gather the bottom-line results and data to begin the post-test process. Enjoy the ride and make sure to use vehicles such as social media, focus groups and even e-mail surveys to see what your audience thinks and how they are responding to the ads.
Get out those balance sheets and bar graphs because it’s time for evaluation. After your advertisement reaches its expiration date, the time to measure its effectiveness begins. You have all the data you need, now you have to compare.
Our Evaluation Checklist:
- Have you reached your goals you aimed for?
- Positive ROI.
- More website traffic and leads.
- Were you able to reach your target audience better and or reach other audiences/demographics?
If you didn’t reach your goals but received a return, it could mean that your campaign was good, but not the right one for your company. There may be another advertising angle that better fits your company and attracts your audience.
There are so many creative ways to engage your audience, sometimes a different angle may be exactly what you, your company and your audience was looking for.
Things to Keep in Mind
Sometimes an ad doesn’t reach its full potential/resonance with the audience because of other factors affecting the audience. When measuring the effectiveness of your ad, keep these factors in mind.
- Industry Health – Is your industry doing poorly as a whole? How’s your competition doing? Your ads may be doing well or performing poorly due to the industry s a whole.
- National News – Has something occurred that is sweeping the nation? Are people focused on something else in the national spotlight and not be paying attention to your ads.
- Current Trends – Are there current trends in society that may be benefiting/negating your ads? Things that are currently trending in society that have proved to be very beneficial to success like hashtagging, tebowing or viral videos.
There you have it. It’s not an exact science but this seems to be the best way to measure the effectiveness of an advertisement, from those who work at a full-service advertising agency.
Do you have a different way to measure advertising effectiveness? Let us know in the comments below.