Effective Customer ROI: Open Data from Across the Pond

uk-metrics-communications-campaign

Last week I attended a Digital Gov University webinar entitled: “International Perspective on Measurement and Evaluation of Government Communication.” I was so excited to hear open data return on investment (ROI) from a customer perspective being discussed, especially after my September 28 article. In this article, we’ll take a look at how data was collected and analyzed for program improvement ROI.

The first presenter of the webinar was Elayne Philipps from the UK’s Government Communication Service. She talked about measuring short and long-term customer engagement using specific goals and analytics beyond initial exposure metrics. Her case study was the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affair’s Carrier Bags campaign, which aims to reduce the number of plastic bags people use by implementing a tax every time someone buys a plastic bag from a store.

Effective communication is an important part of transforming open data efforts into action. Without communication to key stakeholders, data can lose its context and fail to convince or inspire. The UK discussion centered around first asking the question “What problem are we solving”, then “What should we measure and why?” and finally linking data with actionable items. This program was able to clearly define the problem and establish metrics to show what a successful campaign would look like.

When the program was introduced in June 2015, the team wanted to solve the problem of excess waste created by single use plastic bags. They decided on specific metrics of public engagement and the number of bags used before and after the program. The ROI was both short and longer-term. The short-term goal was to make people more aware of the campaign. The short term success was that the public had an increased awareness of the campaign by 10% within six months of program introduction. The longer-term success was that the number of plastic bags used in supermarkets decreased by 80%.

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