Measurement Matters: Takeaways from AMEC 2020 (Virtual) Global Summit

Senior Account Manager Chris Piedmont shares his top takeaways from the AMEC 2020 (Virtual) Global Summit.

The International Association for the Measurement, Evaluation of Communications (AMEC) recently held its annual global summit. Rather than the exotic location of Vienna, Austria (where my “Sound of Music” fantasies would have been realized), the conference took place where all good things do in 2020 — on the cloud!

The multi-day conversation was jam-packed with conversations led by communications innovators from the World Health Organization (WHO), OkCupid, Microsoft, Aflac and more — all sharing insights on communication measurement and critical evaluation. With session presentations pre-recorded followed by live chat rooms open for speakers to respond to comments and questions in real-time, the format was a master class in how to foster community and host a virtual conference in this transformed world.

Barcelona Principles 3.0 from AMEC.
Barcelona Principles 3.0 from AMEC.

Here are my top takeaways from the Summit:

  • Introducing Barcelona Principles...3.0: The leading principles guiding measurement in communications got a face lift; fitting in 2020 as every aspect of our businesses shifts on its axis to respond to a new reality. Every communicator and marketer should familiarize themselves with the updated principles which represent a more holistic approach to cross-channel measurement.  
  • Remember your goal: Establish a measurable goal at the beginning of any campaign or initiative. Then, always keep your end goal in mind. Whether its T-swift surprise dropping a new album, or the World Health Organization conducting a campaign to raise awareness on safety best practices to slow the spread of COVID-19, keeping the end goal in mind sharpens your focus amidst the chaos. With an eye on your North Star and proper tracking in place, campaigns can continually be optimized based on the data that shows what’s working, what’s not and where tweaks can improve performance.
  • Vanity metrics begone (but really): Throughout each session, speaker after speaker reinforced that vanity metrics — and the dreaded advertising value equivalency (AVE) — are not an accurate reflection of the value of communication. A point that is so important, it has received its own Barcelona Principle in each version from 2010, 2015 and again with 3.0 unveiled at the Summit. Communicators must strive for measuring impact and performance over general vanity metrics such as the total number of mentions. While vanity metrics can help establish the context of communication, deeper engagement measures can speak to the effectiveness and business impact of campaign results. It’s why we develop custom scorecards and dashboards for our clients when evaluating program performance.
  • Misinformation muddying the landscape: By far the session I enjoyed most was hearing Gabby Stern, director of communications at WHO, speak on her experiences navigating the past six-plus months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gabby shared how much her team has worked across the world to dispel misinformation, ensuring citizens of all countries and member-states have the needed public health information to help slow the spread of coronavirus. Gabby noted the entire organization — not just communications — has been involved in pushing back against inaccuracies. This is a fitting reminder for all communicators, particularly in industries where target audiences must sift through inaccurate information side-by-side with target messages.
  • Learn from activists: At FrazierHeiby, we consider ourselves “advocate communicators,” professionals who encourage systemic change on the social and societal causes we are passionate about. Fred Cook of the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations shared findings from the “2020 Global Communication Report” which outlined findings on activists’ perceptions of public relations professionals and tactics, and vice versa. In the midst of the revived civil right movement and protests for change reignited this summer, the findings of the report were fascinating. From the impacts of social media, protesting and the ultimate act of activism in a democracy — voting — the study examines the effectiveness of various shared tactics and communication efforts. Every communicator can learn from activists, and the report’s findings spur audiences to take action.

As always, the AMEC community delivered. Here’s to future virtual sessions focused on improving measurement and communication effectiveness.