When the boss asks about measurement, try flipping the question

Jason Sumner. Jason is a white man with very short dark hair, a short beard and glasses. He is wearing a light jacket and shirt. Jason Sumner

A new way to think about corporate digital communications metrics

The knock on your door. It could be your boss, it could be your one of your colleagues. Asking you to justify your corporate digital existence with metrics.

They won’t be fobbed off with the same old data. Number of visits, top 10 pages, bounce rates, time on site… These are not meaningful, interesting or useful. You know it and they know it.

So when your colleagues ask, “where are the metrics”, have you thought about asking them a question right back?

The question you should be asking

All of the corporate digital teams that are the best at measurement ask their colleagues a version of the following question:

What are your communications goals for the website audiences that you are interested in?

If you ask this question, and explore the road the answers lead you down; the result will be fewer, more focused and more meaningful metrics – for you, your colleagues and senior leadership. Metrics that go beyond the clichés to a set of numbers that is understandable and valuable.

Avoiding the vacant stare

The first time you ask, you may be met with blank stares, which is why it is good to have some suggestions ready.

Most digital communications goals break down into two categories – task-oriented goals that come from the visitor and message goals that come from the company. Maybe they want their audience to complete a specific task, absorb a message, feel better about the brand. It’s worth probing further – what do your colleagues want people to think, feel and do when they visit the website? Get specific. This brings it down to the human level before you get into the metrics. Then find the pages or content that are doing those jobs, and you pick the metrics that measure the impact of those pages on the goals. Let’s look at an example:

What this could look like for jobseekers

For jobseekers, it might look like this: What are a jobseeker’s main tasks? Find a job, check job descriptions, get a feel for culture and work-life balance, explore the scope for career progression. From the company perspective they want to fulfil all of the above, but specifically talk about diversity and inclusion messages and the commitment to sustainability. You might identify a series of key numbers that tell you the reach of your relevant content with the audience (analytics data combined with data from social channels, or survey data); the engagement (did the audience interact with the content); and advocacy (did the audience share and endorse it).

Answering the big questions from bosses

If you are measuring audience goal achievement and message success across IR, jobseekers, employees, it is easier to answer the big questions senior leaders have. Such as, how do we tell if the website is meeting our business and communications goals? Do we need to invest more to make it more effective? Is it better than the competition?

When you align your metrics to goals, those random analytics and survey numbers no longer seem so random and you can start to react, adjust and invest strategically.

Getting your colleagues thinking in this way will move you and your team out of the reactive supporting role to leading the measurement conversation.

To discuss how Bowen Craggs can help you address this, and other challenges, please get in touch.