Most government contracts for public education and outreach contain an important clause: you must provide analysis and reporting. It’s part of your contract… and a big one. No matter how creative your message, compelling your graphics or innovative your approach, you need to show Uncle Sam the numbers (or the state or local government). Whether you are promoting smarter energy consumption, encouraging flu vaccines or touting local tourism, here are the must-dos for government public education campaign analysis.
Not into reading? Check out my webinar on the “Five Must Dos to Take Action from Your Digital Data,” which contains many of these same tips in webinar format.
Must Do #1: Stop Trying to Track Everything
First thing is first. Get get over your data FOMO (aka. fear of missing out). Many contract administrators and/or marketing firms make the mistake of tracking everything when trying to measure outreach effectiveness of a government contract. But just because you have a lot of stats and a large Excel spreadsheet, does not mean that you have true analysis and understanding of what worked and what didn’t.
The following steps will help you get clear about what’s important to track. This will help you start recording data in a way that’s not overwhelming.
Must Do #2: Get Clear on the Goal of Your Campaign
Ask yourself, “What is the point of this campaign?” The end goal isn’t likely to be driving video views, Facebook clicks or blog pageviews. Those are simply techniques. The reason you got the contract in the first place is to help you accomplish the broader goal of changing behavior or promoting public awareness. Start with that big picture and work backwards. We live in a society that’s so excited by tracking for tracking’s sake (Fitbit, anyone?) it’s easy to start recording data and lose sight of the “why.”
Must Do #3: Pick Metrics for Your Government Public Education Campaign Analysis
Picking the right metrics (Or KPIs in business-speak) is important in helping you evaluate whether your techniques — social promotion, blogging etc. — are actually helping reach towards the larger goal. Once you have the big picture in your head, figure out how your communications outreach efforts play into that end goal. For this example, I’m going to use a government education campaign to promote lower energy use.
Here are some important questions to ask yourself:
- Do you have an online action that your digital outreach promotes? In this example: can citizens sign up to receive electricity bulbs? Can they download a printable flyer for their office or school? Can they apply online for a government program? Having a clear conversion online makes tracking your campaign MUCH simpler. Tracking outcomes here becomes a technical matter. Here are some resources to get you started conversions in Google Analytics.
- If you don’t have an action, is “awareness” your main outcome? For government public education campaign analysis where education is the main concern, I recommend tracking awareness. Here are some recommendations for how to track an “awareness” campaign. You can look at metrics such as scrolling to the bottom of a blog post, watching to a certain point in a Facebook video or sharing a post with a friend.
Must Do #4: Figure out Metrics that Work Across Channels
Chances are that you are using many different communication channels – Facebook, email, partner outreach, Twitter etc. — to reach your audience. Unfortunately, measuring all these different channels separately will make your government public education campaign analysis confusing and unwieldily. They all have different metrics (likes, retweets, opens etc.). So many people deal with the discrepancies by sticking every states in a giant spreadsheet. But there is an easier way to measure outreach effectiveness for a government contract. It’s a choose your own adventure!
- Your main goal is on your website. In addition to tracking your online actions with Google Analytics, you can use a related solution called Google UTM codes. This lets you link your traffic sources (clicks from Facebook, email etc.) to that online conversion. This will tell you how effective your various communication channels are.
- Your main goal is a awareness. You are trying to reach people with a message, and you don’t care where is happens, you have a more difficult task. You need to select metrics for all your channels. For example, ask yourself, what does “awareness” mean on Facebook (an engagement? A 10 second video view?). What does it mean on the website? (reading to half way in a blog post? Spending 30 seconds on a page?). These metrics aren’t perfect, but they still provide a framework for evaluating your content. Now, your new struggle will be getting these metrics into one place.
Must Do #5: Get Your Metrics in One (Easy to Use) Place
Dumping all your stats into a spreadsheet, is not the best way to measure outreach effectiveness for a government contract. Neither is asking people to scroll through your Google Analytics account to find the top conversions sources. Google’s new free(!) Data Studio software makes building sharp dashboards much easier. Data Studio can import stats from a variety of sources. So you show can link it to all the metrics you picked in Must Do #5. This may involve using some 3rd party data connectors. Here are some great tips on dashboard design.
(Also, check out the end of this webinar (18:30) for tips on communicate data-heavy takeaways to data-hating audiences.)
Learn more about Government Public Education Campaign Analysis
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