Mythbuster: The vogue for real-time evaluation

Les Binet and Sarah Carter

Les Binet and Sarah Carter get a little bit angry about some of the nonsense they hear around them… like the vogue for real-time evaluation.

As we write, it's IPA Effectiveness Awards season once again. For the past few months, agencies around the world have been burning the midnight oil writing papers proving the effectiveness of their campaigns in exquisite detail. And now the judges will have their summers ruined by having to wade through 50 or 60 of these 4,000-word tomes.

We have always taken the awards very seriously here at adam&eveDDB, but not everyone is so convinced. "The IPA Awards?" said a planner from a rival agency, recently. "Aren't they a bit out of date? Real-time evaluation is where it's at now."

There does seem to be a growing dissatisfaction with 'traditional' post-campaign evaluation, which critics say is backward-looking and overly intellectual. What we need is evaluation we can act on here and now, they say. Hence the brave new world of real-time planning – all about using 'Big Data' to create 'dashboards' that allow clients and agencies to monitor performance minute by minute, and react accordingly.