Please be informed that the IPA offices will be closed Friday 4th August.
We will respond to you as soon as we return on Monday 7th August.

How to evaluate the effectiveness of your communications plans

The IPA has today (1st October 2014) published a best practice guide to help all sectors of the industry understand the multiple challenges of evaluating the effectiveness of their communications plans.


Such challenges, as outlined by the guide, include: the increasing number of different ways to reach target consumers; consumers’ simultaneous and multi-channel consumption across paid, owned and earned media; digital proliferation, inter-channel relationships, the growing number of evaluation techniques and methodologies to measure effectiveness; accountability of their value and ROI to finance directors and procurement teams; as well as increasing client expectation.

Written by leading industry experts*, the guide addresses these issues by outlining:

  • how to build a robust process to evaluate the effectiveness of the communications plan within the marketing mix, in terms of reviewing objectives, designing the evaluation approach and controlling the evaluation plan;
  • the growing number of evaluation approaches, tools and practices – setting out the pros and cons of each. This includes Marketing Mix Modelling (MMM), measuring outputs, and other metrics of success such as brand research, test vs. control group testing, simple data analysis techniques, using online proxies, using Google data for marketing analyses, a note on social media evaluation, and attribution modelling;
  • how to calculate campaign effectiveness and maximise and leverage the learning from these evaluations to feed into and develop future communication plans.

Says Tom George, Chairman, UK, Northern Europe and EMEA, MEC and Chairman, IPA Media Futures Group: “If media is to avoid the risk of being treated as a commodity – something which is not in the best interest of advertisers, agencies or media owners, it is imperative that communications planners provide an irrefutable evaluation of its value and not just its cost. We therefore hope this guide will help equip them with the necessary tools and techniques to carry out more in-depth preparation and analysis of the relevant data to demonstrate the return on the marketing investment, rather than simply outlining its cost, coverage and frequency.”

Says Lynne Robinson, Research Director, IPA: “We hope that by taking a step back and looking to first principles when approaching evaluation, advertisers and agencies will be able to maximise and leverage their effectiveness learnings. In turn, this will allow them to demonstrate where the improvements can be made and the value that communications planning agencies can generate in their discussions with clients.”

Says Sarah Bussey, report editor and strategic planning consultant: “This guide has been put together by practising industry experts who are dealing with the issues surrounding communication effectiveness and evaluation on a daily basis. They have shared their own expertise, evaluation approaches and experience, to produce a guide which we hope will prove invaluable, both as a practical and accessible best practice framework but also as an inspiration for agencies to further develop their evaluation thinking.”

The guide, How to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Communications Plans, is available to download as a free interactive pdf from the IPA website for IPA members and £50 to non-IPA members. The hard copy is available to members free of charge, excluding postage and packaging and is £50 to non-IPA members.

*The guide was written by Sam Dias, Director, BrandScience; Martin Greenbank, Head of Advertising Research and Development, Audience Technologies and Insight, Channel 4; David Fletcher, Chief Data Officer, MEC UK; Dirk Nachbar, Director of Advertising Analytics, Cardlytics; Denise Turner, Managing Partner, Chief Insight Officer, Havas Media Group. It was edited by Sarah Bussey, Strategic Planning Consultant and contains a foreword from Tom George, Chairman, UK, Northern Europe and EMEA, MEC and Chairman, IPA Media Futures Group and from Marie Oldham, Chief Strategy Officer, Havas Media and Convenor of Judges, IPA Effectiveness Awards 2012.

Last updated 01/10/2014

Contact the IPA

ABCe audit Offical Webby Awards Honoree (2011, 2013)

Website, membership and content management software by Senior
Creative design by Igentics

Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA)
© 2018 IPA. All rights reserved. No part of this
site may be reproduced without our permission.