But I make it 10! 

AThinkBox’s Demand Generation event in London, Matt Chappell from Gain Theory outlined his take on the ‘9 Golden Rules for Measurement’. None of the nine were necessarily new – although this is perhaps the first list of nine that I’ve seen – but he succinctly outlined the most important points when it comes to being able to measure the effectiveness of advertising.  

  1. Ensure that you define what success looks like in advance
  2. Level the playing field and treat every channel alike
  3. Know fundamental information about all your channels e.g. CPMs, viewability
  4. Use the right methodology for the job at hand
  5. Triangulate data and seek consensus from multiple different sources
  6. Be realistic about the timeliness with which you can deliver results
  7. Be choosy about metrics, don’t succumb to death by data
  8. Allocate budget towards testing
  9. Context is important, what worked in the past might not work today 

As someone who spends their days trying to help our clients measure the effectiveness of their campaigns in the most appropriate way possible, I already know the importance of these points. And I don’t disagree with any of them. However, I am starting to wonder whether what might be more useful is a conversation around how, as agencies, we can better persuade our clients that pursuing these measurement rules is ultimately as important as the advertising itself. It’s a running joke in my office that I should have a t-shirt printed with ‘What’s the objective? What’s the KPI?’, and if someone can’t answer those questions then we’re not in a position to begin work on a measurement framework. How can we expect to produce effective work if we don’t even know what we want that work to do?  

In my opinion these golden rules have an implication on more than just the ability to measure effective work, they are the driver behind creating effective work in the first place. 

In my list I would add a tenth rule, and I’d place it first and foremost before anything else. 

  1. Be honest, and have courage in your convictions

Be honest when you know that it isn’t possible to effectively measure that campaign because budget hasn’t been ringfenced for a test or invested into appropriate tracking.  

Have the courage to tell your clients that they won’t achieve the targets they’ve set next year, but with a longer-term investment into effective measurement they might see payback the following year.  

Discuss the opportunity cost of putting the entire available budget in to media without an effective way to measure results. Explain why an understanding of objectives is so necessary when it comes to choosing the right metrics and KPIs. 

We won’t get better as an industry without having some courage, taking some risks and challenging conventions. That applies to us as agencies, as well as our clients. 


Kate Barnham, Data Strategy Director, Hearts & Science UK