Two great articles from last week on marketers’ shift from impressions to engagement as key performance measures:
The first, from our good friends at the Harvard Business Review, authored by Coca-Cola Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer Joe Tripodi, profiles the corporation’s growing interest in harnessing the power of brand advocates in pursuit of doubling worldwide revenues by the year 2020.
“In the near term, ‘consumer impressions’ will remain the backbone of our measurement because it is the metric universally used to compare audiences across nearly all types of media. But impressions only tell advertisers the raw size of the audience. By definition, impressions are passive. They give us no real sense of engagement, and consumer engagement with our brands is ultimately what we’re striving to achieve. Awareness is fine, but advocacy will take your business to the next level.”
Tripodi notes that Coca-Cola-related content generated 146 million views on YouTube, but only 26 million of those views were of content actually created by Coke! Wouldn’t it be great if you had your marketing messages amplified by a factor of five-and-a-half?
The second article, by Weber Shandwick’s Tim Marklein, offers an excellent practical guide for marketers seeking to align impressions with expressions when measuring the impact of traditional and social media messages. His advice:
- Integrate analytics across multiple channels;
- Track engagement and impressions in parallel; and
- “Contextualize,” which is my favorite point of all:
“[I]f you’re targeting consumers, then USA Today (3.3 million daily readers) might be valuable to you because of the audience and media context within which it appears. If you’re targeting business leaders, then WSJ.com (12 million monthly readers) is probably more beneficial in reaching your broad audience. The industry blog (10,000 daily readers) might be a more targeted way to reach specific decision-makers who would buy your company’s product.
Now let’s add engagement into the mix. Generally speaking, people consume daily newspapers in a passive way with limited engagement. While newspapers certainly impact opinions and behaviors, that impact is hard to track and fragmented across a broad audience. With the WSJ.com piece, by contrast, advocates and detractors alike can easily share it via email, blogs and Twitter. The industry blog might only have 10,000 readers, but they might be ‘the right 10,000′ — and if it’s a good blog, then they’re actively sharing, debating and commenting on the post, which extends the reach through trusted peers and leads to even more engagement.”
There is strength in numbers to be sure, but real growth comes from engagement.