Reach: The Most Important Metric Without a Perfect Benchmark


This week, GovDelivery published the first-ever digital benchmark report for the public sector that measured data from 1,800 government organizations and compiled critical metrics from billions of digital messages. In addition to key findings and benchmark metrics like open and click rates, the report identifies reach as the most important metric to watch for public sector communicators.

What do we mean by “reach”? It’s all about building the largest possible audience. In order to maximize citizen engagement, a larger audience is better than a smaller audience.

Seems obvious, right?

While it may seem like building a large audience is always top of mind for public sector organizations, it’s worth recognizing that reach is the most important factor in any communications strategy. If government organizations don’t grow their reach to a relevant level for their organization, many of the other metrics used to measure success in a communications effort won’t make a relevant impact.

Think about it this way: The services delivered by government are only as effective as the number of people who they can impact. It’s great if 25 people are sent a targeted message with information about becoming a foster parent, but it’s likely that there would be a greater impact if 25,000 people were sent that information.

Okay, so you get it. It’s crucial to build your organization’s audience. But where do you start?

GovDelivery Network

The GovDelivery Network allows citizens who subscribe to updates from one organization to be offered signup options from related government organizations as a final step in the signup process.

The U.S. Department of the Interior utilized the GovDelivery Network and a website overlay to
grow their audience from 5,000 subscribers to more than 210,000 in the past 5 years – an increase of 4,200 percent with an average network impact of 450 percent in the past year.

The idea is simple. When an individual signs up to receive emails on a government website, a page displays a checklist of related topics with email subscription lists. Citizens can sign up for multiple lists in seconds by checking a few boxes, without having to visit multiple websites and re-enter contact information.

Here is an example of what that looks like:

Reach Example

When you open a new inbound channel for growing your reach with the GovDelivery Network and cross-promote your content with other government organizations, you’re tapping into a network of over 1,800 governments and over 120 million digitally engaged citizens to grow your own audience.

The GovDelivery Network is a unique way to grow reach, but it is not the only way. GovDelivery allows you to “mine” your organization and upload existing contact lists to a central place. There is also massive impact on reach from prominently calling out opportunities to “receive updates” across all web properties which includes using overlay functionality, something all GovDelivery clients have access to, in order to darken pages so first time visitors are encouraged to join the community of people receiving updates directly from your organization.

Download a copy of the GovDelivery Benchmark Report “Improving Metrics that Matter” and let us know how it’s improving your communications strategy on Twitter at @GovDelivery and use the hashtag #GovD16.

Do you want to learn more about the GovDelivery Network and how to increase your reach? Let us know at

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