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12 Simple Online Assessment Criteria


A recent study by Adobe showed that most marketers have adopted a trial and error approach to their online marketing efforts. In other words, they’re investing in activities blind, with no real idea if they’re going to work or not.


Sound familiar?


If so, stay tuned, because today I’ll share twelve simple assessment criteria that’ll help reveal the underlying strengths and weaknesses of your next online campaign strategy while it’s still in the development stages.


Yes, online marketing is a new discipline, but that doesn’t mean that every online marketing campaign needs to be a complete leap into the unknown. We can peer beneath the surface of any online activity and see the likelihood of success, if we know what to look for. So, today, I’d like to share a rating scale that you can use to do just that.


It matters because it helps you manage subjectivity. Whether you’re developing concepts for a new app, an online campaign strategy, or other online projects – it can be hard for those close to the project to judge the work objectively.

That’s a challenge that’s present whenever you’re working with creative concepts. And, the more people involved in the decision, the messier it can get, resulting in poor decisions and under-performing online programs.

Now, on most projects, you’ll have several creative concepts or variations to choose from at the start. Approving any one of them will involve subjective judgment. And, there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as the people making those judgments have the proper knowledge and experience. But, what you don’t want is subjective judgment combined with subjective criteria for judgment. That’s a recipe for disaster.

So, what we need is a way to make the criteria for judgment more objective. And, we can do that by simply defining them. This also makes it a lot easier for the team that’s creating the concepts. Using defined assessment criteria adds a level of quality control early in the process that, over time, will increase the brand’s effectiveness online.


Here are the twelve criteria we use.

Each can be scored on a scale of 1 to 5 for a total score ranging from 12 to 60 points. I’ve found this provides an excellent basis for assessment of most projects. But, of course, you can modify it to suit your own needs.

To be clear, this is a qualitative tool, not an objective measurement. But, if you don’t have the time or resources for more extensive pre-testing of your ideas, then this is a very practical way to manage risk.

I’ll go through it now, using a real case as an example.

Here’s an awareness campaign that was designed to grow the online audience of a premium outdoor clothing brand. The online marketing campaign centered on an online game that was developed for the brand. The premise of the game was that, during the last photo shoot in Iceland, the crew left three bags of clothing behind by mistake.

Players were asked to create a search party with their Facebook friends and use this interactive map to find each of the three bags, based on clues we provided. The person who was first to locate a bag would win the bag itself and its contents. And, one of the winners would also win a trip for four to Iceland.

There were several components to the campaign, which ran for about a month. This “Search Party” idea was first presented to the client along with three other concepts. The rating system helped them choose this one and helped set expectations. Let’s run through it now.  

First, it’s easier to get visibility and traction online with a concept that’s perceived as new, fresh, and innovative. We couldn’t find many similar game concepts, and no one in the category had used this approach before. So, we rated it 4.5 for innovation.

Facilitation has to do with how directly the initiative answers the targets’ needs and helps them. The Search Party concept satisfies a need for diversion, but doesn’t really help our prospects beyond that, so we gave it a lower rating on this metric with a 3.

It’s always a good idea to build a sharing component into your online concepts. Propagation helps predict this. It refers to how likely it is that the concept will be spread by users organically. This concept had lots of incentives for players to invite others to join their search party. For instance, players got one guess per day for free, but could earn up to five more guesses by inviting friends to join their search party. So we rated it 4.5.

Delegation refers to how much of the value in the concept is provided by the users. Of course, it’s best if the users can add most of the value, like on YouTube. YouTube owns the programming, but the site’s value comes from the millions of videos uploaded by users like us. So, in that sense, it’s highly delegated. Now, most of the work with the Search Party game, in terms of inviting new users and filling-in the maps, was done by users. So, we agreed to a score of 4.

Cooperation is when you team up with another brand to tap into their audience. For instance, the Search Party game is ideally suited for cooperation with brands like Iceland Air or Iceland Tourism. However, the development deadlines were really tight, making cooperation pretty unlikely. So, for that reason, we only gave it a score of 2 for cooperation.

Sensation rates the likelihood of getting organic and widespread news coverage of the program. A great example of that was the RedBull Stratos campaign, where a daredevil skydiver jumped from a balloon at the edge of space and filmed his descent. While RedBull promoted this heavily, the project also captured the interest of the news media, who reported on the project for months. Now, in our case, Search Party was a solid campaign concept, but lacked the sensationalism that would attract a lot of media attention. So, it scored just a measly 2.

Obviously, you want to strive for a concept that your target will easily relate to. In this case, the target is into travel, outdoor adventure, and discovering offbeat locations. So, we gave Search Party a 5 for target relevance.

We all would like prospects to spend quality time with our brand, and that’s what the target engagement score assesses. For example, a contest where participants simply press a like button would be considered low engagement, whereas an essay contest might be considered high engagement. Now, this game required a relatively high level of repeated engagement over a period of one month, so we gave it a 4.

Being relevant to the target is essential, but, as you know, your concept should be just as relevant to your brand. In this case, the brand’s core values include outdoor adventure, travel, friendship, and discovery. So, the Search Party concept helped reinforce brand values and got a score of 5 for brand relevance.

A great outcome of any online effort is the acquisition of data, particularly email addresses, from participants. In this game, we gave away an extra bonus clue each week to players who signed up for our mailing list. So, based on that, we rated data capture at 4.5.

Throughout the game and all the activity we had planned around it, we projected strong audience growth during the search party campaign. And, so, we rated it 4.5.

Lastly, the cost of this project was not exceptional and was rated 3.

So, in the end, the project scored 45 out of a possible 60 points for a score of 75% which is very good. We typically reject or rework any concept that comes in under 50%. This project was approved, and the campaign was a success, delivering results that were very much in line with the assessment.


I hope that clarified our 12-point online assessment and how to use it. This should provide you with a quick and simple framework to create, assess, and improve online assets and programs. Using it will free you from the trial and error approach to online marketing. It reduces risk upfront in the development stage and increases the likelihood of success upon execution. Remember, use it or lose it. If you don’t put this to work within 48 hours, it will self-destruct.

Good luck, we hope a guide to campaigning online was helpful!

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