This piece originally appeared as a free article in the Late August edition of The Measurement Advisor.


#LikeAGirl was epic, but not because their video got 76 million global views.

One of the reasons I love being a member of the IPR Measurement Commission is the free-flow of dialogue and, sometimes, heated discussion that occurs behind the curtain. This is a group of smart and feisty folks, after all.

One such hubbub happened this week when a member read about the #LikeAGirl campaign winning the Best Use of Research, Measurement and Evaluation Award at the Big Apple Awards held by the New York Chapter of PRSA. #LikeAGirl was created by Always, a brand of Procter & Gamble (P&G). Some would say their stats were impressive:

  • The video achieved 76 million global views from 150 countries and more than 1,800 earned media placements.
  • The program achieved 4.5 billion impressions around the globe including 1.7bn in the U.S., 1.6bn in the UK, 418m in France, 302m in China, 148m in Germany, 63m in Brazil, 41m in Mexico, and 32m in Turkey.
  • The program garnered more than 290 million social impressions and 133 thousand social mentions with #LikeAGirl (99% positive/neutral) in the U.S. alone
  • Their Super Bowl XLIX commercial had more than 114 million viewers.

I’m not one of them.

According to the Dictionary of Public Relations Measurement and Research 3rd Edition impressions are “a metric that indicates the number of possible exposures of a media item to a defined set of stakeholders; the number of people who might have had the opportunity to be exposed to a story that has appeared in the media.” We also call them “opportunities to see” (OTS), which uses circulation numbers that may or may not audited. An Examination of the Validity, Reliability and Best Practice Related To Standards for Traditional Media explains impressions in more detail.

While I’m delighted 76 million people around the world had an opportunity to see (meaning they may or may not actually have seen) the video, and the program achieved 4.5 billion impressions that might have been viewed, those are not the metrics that count.

How many of those 4.5 billion or 76 million people were actually in the target audience of millennial women ages 13-34? How many performed some kind of action for #LikeAGirl or Always?

Here’s the impressive part: According to brand research conducted after the campaign, 81% of women 16-24 support Always in creating a movement to reclaim “like a girl” as a positive and inspiring statement.

This campaign did not win best use of research, measurement, and evaluation based on impressions. (Though a little birdie told me the emcee of the evening named not only the winning organizations and campaigns but also the number of impressions received. One campaign had three billion unique impressions. Now that’s a valid metric.)

Gilfeather_likeagirl_winnersAccording to John Gilfeather, a member of the Measurement Commission and a judge of the award, “P&G did a great survey before the campaign to demonstrate that there was an important issue here in terms of putdowns. They used this research to shape the campaign and also to reach out to stakeholders to emphasize why the campaign was important. They then did follow up research to measure the reach of the campaign. In addition, they looked at business metrics. The research and documentation were outstanding.” You can read the case study here. You can see a photo of John and the winners to the right.

I applaud the New York Chapter of PRSA for including research, measurement, and evaluation in the judging process. And I applaud John Gilfeather and Mark Weiner for representing the Measurement Commission on the judging panel. But next year, please, no touting of impressions as important.

Here’s the #likeagirl video, I encourage you to watch it:

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