The underlying motivation for the Barcelona Principles – devised in 2010 – was to strengthen the credibility of media analysis to ensure that when astute business managers ask probing questions, the answers are transparent and consistent.
Traditionally, media analysis has reported on a group of metrics – often blurred by statistical theory and convenient manipulation. As long as the same methodology was applied, these metrics could be compared over time but provided little insight into the direct impact of media activity on an organisation’s goals.
The Barcelona Principles have since been revised to encompass the communications industry as a whole and provide a standard that would stand up to boardroom scrutiny. To reflect this, the updated principles include more specific measurement guidelines.
- Goal-setting and measurement are fundamental to communication and public relations
Measurement and evaluation needs to be conducted against defined goals that follow the SMART –specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time restricted – formula.
Whether your evaluation is quantitative or qualitative, aligning who, what, how and when to the original objectives is critical. Where possible, include paid, earned, owned and shared channels.
- Measure communication OUTCOMES, not just OUTPUTS
Your practices should be tailored towards measuring how the outcomes of a communication stack up against the original objectives.
This is straight forward if your activity elicits a quantifiable response such as sales. Media analysis measures a third ‘O’, OUT-TAKES, which aids decision-making in periods between more expensive OUTCOME analysis such as surveys, elections or brand perceptions.
Consider both quantitative and qualitative methods and apply standard-best practice during your research.
- The effect on organisational performance can and should be measured where possible
Where possible, the quality and quantity of communication OUTPUTS should always be aligned with organisation OUT-TAKES and OUTCOMES.
Communication measures, such as a quality score, that provide credible and useful inputs should be integrated into broader marketing and communication models.
- Measurement and evaluation require both qualitative and quantitative methods
You can use qualitative methods to interpret the results from quantitative measurement. Metrics should be standard and repeatable and, where possible, analysts should be independent and unaffected by the evaluation findings.
Media measurement should include metrics such as:
- Credibility and relevance of key message delivery
- Third-party or company spokesperson quotes
- Share of voice
- Reach / impressions
Quality Score Reporting pulls the metrics together and aligns them with the objectives of the activity or organisation.
- AVEs are not the value of communication
Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs) should NEVER be used. That may sound too strong, but it’s the absolute truth. If you must make a comparison between the cost of space or time from earned versus paid media, use:
- Negotiated advertising rates relevant to the client.
- Quality of the coverage, including negative results.
- Physical space or time of the coverage related to the portion of the coverage that is relevant.
- Social media can and should be measured consistently with other media channels
Define clear goals and outcomes for social media. Include measurement methods such as:
- Quantitative and qualitative media content analysis.
- Web and search analytics.
- Sales and CRM data.
- Survey data.
This allows you to better evaluate the quality and quantity of social media. You should also focus measurement on engagement, ‘conversation’ and ‘communities’, not just ‘coverage’ or vanity metrics such as ‘likes’.
- Measurement and evaluation should be transparent, consistent and valid
To be taken seriously and deliver results that stand up in the board room, ensure integrity, honesty, openness and ethical practices are the basis of your analysis. Global best-practice metrics applied by trained independent analysts mitigates bias and reinforces credibility.
Taking a quality score approach allows the application of pre-agreed organisation-relevant criteria, ensuring appropriate stakeholders are on the same page when it comes to the interpretation of reporting and the evaluation of progress against predetermined goals.