Establish Appropriate SMART Indicators

Once SMART communication objectives have been established, it is important to track their progress by identifying related indicators. Specifically, indicators contain succinct measures with numerical value so trends can be identified and comparisons can be made. Commonly, indicators are expressed in percentages, rates or ratios.

A program can use many indicators to assess different types and levels of change that result from the intervention. Generally speaking, indicators are used to measure different areas of program implementation and come in three types:

  • Input indicators: These indicators are related to resources, contributions and investments that go into a program.
  • Output indicators: This term refers to activities, services, events and product that reach the priority and influencing audiences.
  • Outcomes: This term refers to changes in the priority and influencing audiences.

Input and output indicators provide information about the scope and quality of activities being implemented. They belong to the category of process indicators and used to monitor program implementation.

Outcome indicators measure changes towards progress of results. They belong to the category of performance indicators and are used to evaluate the outcome, effects and impact of an intervention. The table below below summarizes the different types and category of indicators.

Program Indicators by Category and Type Including Examples
Indicator Category Indicator Type Examples



 Process Indicators

(Monitoring Indicators)

Input indicators
  • Number of CHWs in the program
  • Funding for activities
  • Equipment
Output Indicators
  • Number of trainings conducted Number of leaflets distributed
  • Percentage of audience segment reached by radio spots
  • Number of individuals counseled

Outcome Indicators

(Evaluation Indicators)

Outcome indicators
  • Percentage of knowledge increase among target audience
  • Percentage of target audience practicing the desired behavior

Like with communication objectives, indicators also need to be SMART. Worksheet 6.2 provides some guidance on how to develop SMART indicators.