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Creating measurement plans: What they are and why they are important

Wes Flippo
Wes Flippo
4 min read
8 February 2017

Digital marketing can be a swirl of metrics, goals, KPIs, objectives, and other initiatives that end up blurring together and obscuring the best way forward. A proven methodology to bring clarity to this picture is commonly called a “measurement plan.”

What is a measurement plan?

A measurement plan is a document that outlines and ties top-line business objectives to specific goals and metrics in order to measure success. A measurement plan provides a framework to connect business objectives to measurable goals, dimensions, and metrics to not only inform measurement, but to also inform strategy and implementation decisions. In short, a measurement plan outlines processes to verify if decisions made and tactics employed are working for your brand.

Why are measurement plans important?

Measurement planning is the foundation of your media strategy and is only the first step in the overall process. Without a proper measurement plan, there is no way to align processes and focus; measurement planning also holds all parties involved accountable for performance. Measurement planning will improve success by providing a structure to deploy strategies to improve outcomes and efficiencies. Measurement plans become even more imperative when employing a multi-channel approach; while the overall goal remains the same, each channel may play a different role in achieving that goal. Measurement planning allows us to inform, optimize, and deliver media to successfully reach the overarching business objective.

The image below, from, illustrates the importance of defining a measurement plan and how it will be used to inform future decisions and processes.

High-level steps to building a measurement plan

  • 1) Define Business Objectives: The objective should outline the top-line goal the business would like to achieve. For example, a business objective could be to grow sales by 10% year-over-year or to increase awareness by 15% by end of year. The business objective will be used to define underlying goals and objectives. A good rule of thumb when setting objectives is to have them align with the SMART acronym. SMART stands for specific, measureable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
  • 2) Identify Measurement Goals: Measurement goals outline the questions the organization would like to answer and what they wish to learn from the metrics and data being collected.
  • 3) Define KPIs: Key Performance Indicators are the metric(s) that success will be measured against. KPIs directly affect your marketing objectives and demonstrate how effectively business objectives are being achieved. For example, if your business objective is to increase sales by 10%, your KPI would be sales or conversions.
  • 4) Define Secondary and Optimization Metrics: Secondary metrics will be used to give context to success and help to answer why the goal was achieved or why the goal was not met. Optimization metrics are data points that will be analyzed and used to improve performance.
  • 5) Identify Measurement Framework: The measurement framework provides a structure and guide for the KPIs and goals that have been chosen. The measurement framework links the KPIs with other opportunities or tactics that have the ability to influence success.
  • 6) Create a Roadmap: The roadmap can include items such as implementation plans, tracking strategies, measurement/analysis strategies, and optimization strategies.

Chances are you’re doing at least some of these steps and maybe calling the process something different. If you think there’s room to structure things more effectively, consider following the measurement plan outline and seeing how things fall into place.

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Wes Flippo