Internal evaluation of digital public affairs activities

Evaluation of communications activity tends to centre on external reach and impact, measuring basics like awareness, and ideally outcome related metrics like shifts in opinion of target audiences as well as genuine impact on communications, policy and business objectives.

A further useful form of evaluation which we often neglect is internal, revolving around questions like:

  • What should we actually be evaluating from an internal perspective?
  • What constitutes best practice (and poor practice?)
  • How are we performing?

The (hopefully visible) table below lists five core components of digital public affairs along with a short description of what constitutes basic, good and great for each, which I’ve used as a benchmark to assess activity.

I’ve arguably been conservative: some public affairs and communications professionals will likely think that some items in good or great should be considered basic in 2016. Perhaps, but I’d argue that given the cultures inherent in most public affairs functions – technical/legalistic and government-relations centric, and operated by policy wonks rather than marketing-communications professionals – I think it’s realistic. Happy to hear thoughts, as ever.

Digital PA grid


2 thoughts on “Internal evaluation of digital public affairs activities”

  1. Hi, Steffen. Interesting points. But when you and others write about digital public affairs I am – as a lobbyist – really always missing the perspective on software for lobbyists. It always seems so focused on tactics. Not machine learning and automatization which – I believe – will change the discipline – and the demand is present. In US Quorum is a relevant platform and our platform, Ulobby, will work in all other markets. Check out our platfporm at

    1. Hi Anders, good to hear from you again.

      Maybe we have a different definition of tactics, but I’m not convinced I always focus on tactics. Indeed, this very post focuses on evaluation and seeks to set the bar for good strategy and integration.

      In any case, you’re right in saying that I don’t write much about software, although I do frequently refer to data, most recently here and here. Largely this is because, in the market I know best – Brussels – the use of dedicated software to improve the public affairs function is still in its infancy.

      However, there’s no doubt that better utilisation of technology and data can transform the public affairs function, both by improving efficiencies through further commoditisation of a some of the legwork, but perhaps more interestingly, by providing better intelligence e.g. better understanding of influence within networks and thus where to target, better proof-point identification e.g. specific proof points from a target policy-maker’s constituency, as well as more in-depth understanding of target audiences through content and semantic analyses.

      I gather your platform does a few of these things already, or will do so soon, as well as facilitating the life of the lobbyist by making a lot of the core tasks far more efficient. Looks really impressive – congratulations.

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