LONDON: Profit and penetration were among the most important business metrics in the campaigns shortlisted for the 2016 IPA Effectiveness Awards, according to a new Warc report, while buzz and social media were the dominant soft metrics.

The study, 2016 IPA Effectiveness Awards: Insights from the winning campaigns, finds that while sales have been a consistently well-used metric, the use of profit as a measure has increased 400% since the previous Awards in 2014, and market penetration has increased by 70%.

Among the soft metrics, meanwhile, digital measures dominated. Since the Awards in 2012 there has been a decline in the use of awareness as a measure, and increases in social media metrics, digital measures, such a web traffic and search performance, and PR value.

PR value, in particular, has shown a strong rise in usage as a soft metric by campaigns, increasing 1,500% since the 2012 competition. The strategy of using shareable online video, boosted by PR coverage has become an increasing focus for winners, who are focused on driving fame rather than simply awareness.

Testing and new iterations were also features of several of the winning campaigns. The range of measures available, and the commitment to tracking multiple metrics over a long period enabled brands to improve already impressive campaigns, the report notes.

For example, the Guinness Made of More case study details how people did not initially embrace the creative idea as hoped in the first iteration, but the brand was able to evolve the strategy by acting on the initial lukewarm feedback.

While still using the same 'Made of More' tagline, the agency continued to improve and deepen the brand associations with new and more effective iterations, increasing the ROI each year.

Other findings in the report include the success of television-led campaigns using emotional creative and the rise of purpose-driven marketing.

But while television and big budgets were a major theme, there was no one-size fits-all approach that emerged. Bridget Angear, joint chief strategy officer at AMV BBDO and Convenor of Judges for the 2016 IPA Effectiveness Awards, highlighted no less than seven themes in the report.

In addition to those already mentioned she listed how people can be a powerful medium, how small budgets can inspire big thinking; thinking both short and long term; rethinking customer experience beyond communications "and, rather provocatively, evidence that Bryon Sharp is not always right".

David Tiltman, Warc's head of content, will be discussing the report's findings with a panel of leading client and agency representatives at an IPA-hosted event on the evening of Monday 27 February.  Interested  readers can register here

Data sourced from Warc