Assigning metrics to campaign objectives is a critical part of campaign planning. When we measure our campaign outcomes, we’re showing the impact of communications on changing employee behaviours, feelings, and knowledge.

Generally speaking, we have three methods of measurement to choose from – quantitative, qualitative, and observational – and each can be carried out in countless ways. Here we’ll highlight the most common ways each method is used along with benefits and concerns of each, to help you select the best methods for your campaigns.

1. Quantitative

The quantitative method uses closed questions to gather numerical data. Surveys, polls, and digital analytics are examples of this. Closed questions have a pre-determined set of responses – like ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and ‘agree’ or ‘disagree.’ Closed questions may also use scales like ‘strongly agree,’ ‘somewhat agree,’ and ‘strongly disagree.’

When we know the metrics we want to track – like employees’ understanding of a key message or their agreement with a value statement – the quantitative method very efficiently answers the question, “How many, by when?” Quantitative is helpful for larger sample groups and is recognised as being objective because it produces hard data and is rarely subjected to bias – extremely useful when presenting your findings to fact-driven business partners! Digital analytics can also be monitored in real time, so you can spot potential blocks and course correct as needed.

When using the quantitative method, the design of surveys and polls should be your main concern. It takes dedicated time to carefully craft a survey, ensuring questions are in the right order, it isn’t too long, and is easy for the user to understand. The quality of the questions asked is critical for delivering quality information. You’ll also want to watch out for survey fatigue. Once you have audiences who are inundated with endless survey requests, participation rates may go down or your respondents may just tick boxes to get it done quickly rather than properly considering their answers.

Check out 6 Ways to Battle Survey Fatigue to help with this.

2. Qualitative

The qualitative method uses open-ended questions with verbatim responses from your audience. It’s used for metrics assigned to objectives that target attitudes, beliefs, and values – to identify what people think and feel, and why. Focus groups, listening sessions, in-depth interviews, and comments on digital channels (blogs, social media, intranet posts, etc.) are common examples of how to gather this type of data.

Gathering qualitative data is good for probing deeper into feelings and can also provide non-verbal information when conducted in person. It’s best used with a smaller sample size, so you’ll be able to have a quicker turn-around time to conduct your measurement than if, for example, you surveyed the entire organisation.

While qualitative may be faster in some ways, it requires a lot of interpretation and therefore time. As you gather and interpret the data, you’ll need to be careful not to express biases in the moderation of focus groups/listening sessions or in analysis of the data. If your participants aren’t chosen at random, results may be questionable unless purposefully targeting specific audiences. Keep in mind, qualitative data can’t usually be generalized to the overall population.

3. Observational

The observational method works well with measuring behaviour change by using direct observations of your target audience to determine whether they’re doing what the campaign is encouraging them to do. This method uses simple tallies to record employee behaviours and (inter)actions. Walkabouts and training sessions are typical ways to gather this type of data.

Observational data is usually easy to gather, especially if it’s used with a smaller sample size. While great for collecting behavioural information, it may be difficult to attribute those behaviours to your comms campaign (as opposed to another influence). So using the observational method together with the qualitative method may be useful, and you’ll also want to try to include an observational baseline for a truer comparison. Finally, keep in mind that observations shouldn’t be a one-time thing – you’ll want to conduct them over time to determine if observed behaviours are constant.


Communication measurement is a perennial challenge that we regular support Kademy members on, including through our new Measurement for Usable Results learning series. Learn more about how Kademy can help you overcome this and many other communication challenges.