Monitoring and Evaluating Online Projects With online communications we can measure and evaluate a lot more than in offline communications. The trick is to understand what stats are relevant/useable, what they tell us and what we can learn from them.
What do we mean by 'impact' in the world of digital communications and how we evaluate it.
Open rates, click-though rates
What can we evaluate online?
-how many people came to the website
-how many times people loaded (viewed) the page
-where they went after they viewed the page
-where they came from, what they searched for to end up on that page
-we can even analyze the behaviour of a specific segment of people ( for example -everyone who visited a page, or came from a specific location)
-how many people successfully took a journey we’ve set through the website
-how many people opened an email (HTML)
-how many people clicked on the links
-how many people who opened the email finished the journey (for example, donated or took a campaigning action)
Based on this data we can get a good idea of how successful a specific content is, what positioning of elements on a web page leads to more conversion rates etc..
In order to be able to measure impact you need to be clear about your communication strategy and how this contributes to impact of you initiative.
So old-school comms planning is the key and I always try to do it in an iterative way with the teams I work with:
1.When you identify objectives (why are you producing a piece of communication) immediately think how you’ll know that you’ve achieved it. Can you measure this – do you have internal systems set up to do it? If not, have a think again.
So for example a typical objective would be “To educate our supporters about XYZ”. How will you measure this? By the number of email sign-ups? Number of packs distributed? Online survey of your supporters before and after? None of these answers is wrong, but they do clearly set out what would reaching a specific objective mean for your organisation.
By asking these questions you identify the RESPONSE you need from your supporters.
2.Who is your audience? What are they like? Are they likely to respond in the way you want them to respond? If yes, great, but if no, maybe you need to rethink your objectives and therefore your response?
How to set your targets?
The best way is learning from the past or from baseline studies.
Or you can just evaluate by monitoring trends – for example, “%increase” or “more of ….”. But then you need a baseline which shows what the current situation is – so you have something to compare to.
If no baseline, compare to same industry benchmarks (e-benchmarks study),
E-benchmarks study - US http://www.e-benchmarksstudy.com/
Performance benchmarks - UK - www.fairsay.com