How do we judge the success of a media campaign?

Media planning and buying is an extensive process, sometimes starting months before any creative ever sees airtime. There are innumerable factors that will influence the success of any media campaign, and the purpose of the planning process is to address as many of these factors as possible. For example, we use research tools like Roy Morgan and Nielsen to ensure we’re hitting the right target demographic, and to make sure the communication isn’t drowned out by a competitor’s Share of Voice.

With all of this planning out of the way, we go into the implementation phase, buying the media according to the schedule we’ve designed, and dealing with the complications that arise: whether avails have grown tighter, or the budget drops. Finally the campaign goes live! All through the campaign we track the performance, ensuring that the audience we’ve purchased is delivered by the relevant media.

Then, there is the post-campaign data to run through, and the post-campaign reports to generate for the client. How did this campaign perform? Did we exceed expectations, or did the media fail to deliver on what was promised?

It’s in constructing these reports that the issue of deliverables vs objectives becomes apparent, because despite our media reps being able to deliver a wide array of quantitative and qualitative data in terms of deliverables, this information will always be somewhat incomplete, because what we really want to know is how has the campaign effected the client?

When measured up against the media deliverables the campaign may have been an outstanding success, but especially in relation to a retail-based media campaign, the true test is whether the audience we have reached have gone into the store and made a purchase.

So when we present the post campaign report to the client, there’s understandable wariness before we commit to saying the campaign has been a success. Then there’s the all-important question we have to put to the client: So… how were sales over the period?

And then the true response to how effective the campaign has been is delivered to us.


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