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12 Signs That Your Measurement Program Is Not In Compliance With The Barcelona Principles (And How To Fix Them)

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It’s A Sign That Your Measurement Program Is Not In Compliance if…

Here’s How To Fix It…

#1. Your reports don’t include a transparency table. Download the smmstandards Sources and Methods Transparency Table. Use it as a checklist for any vendors you interview.
#2. You still use AVEs or EMV. (AVE/EMV is prohibited by the Barcelona Principles.) Use an alternative measure. Start by asking your C-Suite what they think the value of PR is. Their answer will probably have something to do with the bottom line, (rather than column inches, which is all that AVE measures). Now read the other Paine Publishing articles on alternatives to AVES and revise your program.
#3. You are measuring activity rather than outcomes. A core concept of the Barcelona Principles—and all standards that are based on them-—is that measures must be based on the goals for the program or campaign. So check with management and make sure your metrics align with and reflect those goals.
#4. Your reports are full of output or “vanity” metrics like Klout scores, likes, and number of followers. (The Barcelona Principles require you to use outcome measures rather than outputs.) Output metrics are called “vanity” metrics because they sound big, and big must be good. But they don’t necessarily do anything for your business. Make sure your metrics reflect real business impact(s). If you are working in a non-profit, your metrics should reflect the impact you are having on the mission.
#5. You are reporting raw numbers instead of percent increase or decrease. Forget the raw numbers; what matters is if you are improving over time. The language of measurement is one of percentages, as in “percent increase over last quarter.” That’s how business news is reported, so start sounding more like that.
#6. You are using multipliers. (Multipliers are specifically prohibited by the new standards.) Social media requires thinking more about dividers than multipliers. In reality, less than 4% of what is posted on Twitter or Facebook is actually read, so whatever impression numbers you are using are probably wrong. Think in terms of percentages of engagement instead. If you are reporting impressions for traditional media ask yourself: Do the numbers sound reasonable? Double check the sources of any circulation figures. If they are very large, then your vendor might be using multipliers.
#7. You can’t replicate the data for the next event. (Barcelona Principle #7 says that the ability to replicate results is key to good measurement.) Whatever measurement system you design should be able to be used across all campaigns and events. If you use a contest and/or a questionnaire, make sure you use the same questions from event to event. If you are defining “positive vs. negative,” make sure the definitions are consistent across measurement programs.
#8. Your objectives don’t align with your results. Most professional awards programs have pledged to uphold the Barcelona Principles, which means that they will reject entries for which results do not line up with objectives. Make sure you are measuring the stated goals.
#9. Your math doesn’t add up or your results don’t make sense. If you have used a transparency table (for instance, the smmstandards Sources and Methods Transparency Table), it should list all the search terms used to collect your data. Make sure that those terms are up to date and reflect current priorities. Check to make sure that spam filters are being used correctly.
#10. You aren’t measuring social media assets. (Barcelona Principle #6 says that social media can and should be measured.) Start measuring your social media. Use the social media measurement standards at
#11. You aren’t measuring messaging, sentiment, or the quality of your work. (Barclona Principle #4 says that you should be measuring quality as well as quantity.) Whether you use survey research or content analysis, you need to make sure that you are assessing the quality of your coverage, not just the quantity. Quality is typically measured by looking at aspects of media coverage that influence people’s preference and likelihood to do business with you. These include, for instance, the presence or absence of messages, positioning statements, USPs, or quotations.
#12. You are measuring awareness by counting impressions. Awareness can only be measured with a survey. Impressions reflect a potential opportunity to see something about your brand, but are no guarantee of actual “awareness.” To fix this, either do a survey or change your goal. ◊


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