Measurement Beyond Metrics: How We Developed a New Method for Measuring Campaign Success

TJ Cook III Campaign Insights Manager

In developing a proprietary Perception Score, Atlantic Brand Partners accurately encapsulates the efficacy of our campaigns to provide differentiated brand value to our clients.

Early in my career (before my time at The Atlantic), I was told, “Good data is data that proves your point.”

While having the data on your side is always a plus, it’s no way to meaningfully assess the performance of a campaign. Unfortunately, the practice is rampant in our industry—in part because the world of data is constantly changing, and so too are the metrics brands, publishers, and agencies use to measure success.

Instead, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard. Good data should be defined as data that represents performance without bias, articulates the why behind critical campaign choices and recommendations, and demonstrates the real impact and value of a campaign.

It’s why this year, we developed the Higher Perspective Index (HPI).

Atlantic Brand Partners is known for our ability to make audiences see brands in a new light through our signature style of storytelling that broadens perspectives and ultimately shifts perception. So we found ourselves needing an objective, holistic performance metric that could capture the value of this type of uncommon storytelling—beyond simple clicks and pageviews.

Enter the HPI.

How It Works

Our proprietary framework works by compiling a wealth of data and performance metrics to yield a single Perception Score that encapsulates:

  • Who we reached
  • How many we reached
  • How they interacted with a brand’s content
  • What they are saying about a brand’s content
  • How they feel about a brand’s content

We’re able to do this by grouping together like metrics into three subindices:

  • Awareness (i.e., pageviews, unique visitors, target audience composition, etc.)
  • Engagement (i.e., click-through rate, active dwell time, scroll depth, etc.)
  • Advocacy (i.e., brand study lift, social actions, sentiment analysis, etc.)

Each subindex produces its own score, which is calculated by comparing the metrics within that subindex against its respective benchmark or control value. These scores are then weighted against a brand’s KPIs to produce a final Perception Score. By doing this, we achieve three things. We:

  • calculate a metric that zeros in on the things that matter to brands and eliminates stats and data points that have no relevance to a brand’s campaign objective(s);
  • uncover meaningful insight into which areas of a brand’s campaign are most effective and which areas can or need to improve (allowing us to adapt in near real-time); and
  • create clear, actionable optimizations and recommendations for future campaigns.
“While garnering pageviews, impressions, and unique visitors is important, engagement metrics are far more meaningful and informative.”

In Practice

Analyzing campaign performance through this framework has enabled us to work smarter for our brand partners already. Take, for example, a partner that wants to reach and impact C-suite executives and business decision-makers. This audience is notoriously hard to reach and is smaller in scale than most. While garnering pageviews, impressions, and unique visitors is important, engagement metrics are far more meaningful and informative. Using the HPI, we’re able to optimize for metrics, like active time spent and scroll depth, that indicate a true value exchange between brand and audience.

We also apply the HPI formula to optimize targeting, and create placements and distribution strategies throughout a campaign flight, using the Perception Score as our benchmark and pulling the appropriate levers to increase performance and thus generate a higher score.

On a macro level, the HPI has given us a new framework in which to analyze and benchmark brand perception within specific industries. This has been game-changing, allowing us to capture and measure the nuances between, say, the finance sector and consumer tech. Our team uses these insights to inform brainstorming sessions as well as creative concepts and media strategies for our brand partners.

Strong insights are built from substance, not spin zones, and good data should be the foundation of that substance moving forward. We hope the Higher Perspective Index can help us lead the way.

And if you’re still reading this, I appreciate the bump in scroll depth.

More Perspectives—