Over the years, the value of PR has often been compared to advertising value equivalent (AVEs) and sadly this is still seen as a convenient crutch to a lot of PR professionals when trying to measure or justify the value of their work when in the boardroom. The reasons behind ‘how' and ‘why' AVEs don’t work are countless; especially as the communication continues to evolve. They offer no insight into the quality of ones content, the use of key messages, whether you reached your target audience or not, whether your audience was engaged, the tonality of your media coverage, not to mention the fact that Public Relations is now responsible for a lot more than just gaining editorial placement.
As the media landscape has evolved from offline to include online channels, PR professionals are more and more required to work across all forms of paid, earned, shared and owned media and as a result need to measure communications in a truly integrated manner that focuses more on content analysis versus AVEs and made-up multipliers.
For example, when it comes to measuring editorial placement 'Best Practice' content analysis looks beyond overall clip counts and general impressions, to considering multiple variables that are tailored specifically to ones communication goals and target markets. This principle is based off the Barcelona Principles 2.0 led by the International Association of Measurement and Evaluation of Communication.
Instead of measuring the column centimetres of coverage and multiplying the publications advertising rate per column centimetre, ask yourself...
- How important is this media to my target audience?
- Was my primary target audience reached?
- How many of my brand Key Messages were utilised in the article?
- Was the tone of the article positive, negative or neutral?
- Were there images used or not?
- Was my brand spokesperson quoted or not?
- Was their a third spokesperson or influencer quoted?
The AVEs measurement encourages an extremely broad and scattered approach to PR activity and this couldn’t be further away from our ethos at Acorn Strategy. At Acorn, we pride ourselves in always being strategy-led, establishing clear marketing objectives and communication goals in collaboration with our clients on the outset. Our measurement tactics are ‘Best in Practise’ and are continuously evolving as the communication industry demands it.