Counting Basics for Communicators

The Sumerians started it 6000 years ago –  counting.  The Egyptians transformed counting into measuring – they needed a standard unit of measure to build things and the cubit was born.  Egyptians were the first to use symbols that represented different quantities to note how many things existed.Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 8.09.59 AM

When we measure traditional and social media coverage, we also use standards.  We start by counting the size of the audience that was exposed to our story or social media post.  Communicators who are new to traditional and social media measurement can follow some standard practices to avoid common counting mistakes.  Our objective is to  produce credible and valuable media measurements.

Daily unique Impressions are the standard units on which we build measurements.  Different media channels measure how many people consume the stories they publish in different ways.   We simply want to count the number of unique people who were exposed to our content on a certain date in a certain place.  The standard for accurately representing that in any channel is to count daily unique impressions for each story or post published.  Often, this means that our weekly TV viewers, monthly online visitors, and weekly radio listeners must be converted to daily unique audiences.  A little basic math gets us to a credible number.

A cubit is a cubit. An impression is an impression.  Just like the cubit was the Egypt’s standard block with which to build pyramids, our impressions count is the standard unit to build media measurements.  An impression should represent one person who had the opportunity to consume your content.  Inflation with multiples, rounding up and “dummy” numbers for unknown values only discredits our measurements in our customers’ eyes.  Puffing up our counting doesn’t tell a truthful story and could lead to expensive strategic mistakes when new decisions are made based on exaggerations.

Counting well depends on understanding the media channel.  Media measurement only becomes valuable when we count impressions accurately across all media channels.  Download our Counting Basics guide to avoid common mistakes in counting.  Use these standards to produce credible measurement.  We want to learn realistically and discover actionable strategies for future communication efforts.

A brief history of numbers and counting, Part 1: Mathematics advanced with civilization | Deseret News