Time to wave goodbye to AVEs!

3rd April 2017

We all know it’s important to put a value on the work we do, to prove that what we do makes a difference to business objectives, yet there is some serious debate within the PR industry as to how we go about doing that! 

Nearly everyone in PR (us included) are guilty of using AVEs (Advertising Value Equivalent) to define the work we do, but between you and us, it’s actually a load of rubbish! We understand that you need some sort of measurement from us, something that will help to define ROI and a way of showing the value of PR as part of your marketing strategy, but its time to start thinking a little differently!

First and foremost, why should we not use AVEs?

Probably best to start by explaining why AVEs are dead and buried. AVEs are calculated by multiplying the advertising rate card by three so not exactly very scientific or accurate or consistent. They also don’t work across social and digital channels which are becoming as important as your traditional channels.

Did we also mention they have been denounced by the whole industry and banned by the Charted Institute of Public Relations as a flawed metric?

So what should we do instead?

No one answer will fit each client or industry and has to be done on a case-by-case basis. Now more than ever, it’s important to show how PR can affect and make a positive difference to a business’s bottom line and objectives.

Whether you’ve heard about them or not, the industry has tried to help define how to measure PR using something called the Barcelona Principals. There are seven principals, each of which lays out guidance as to how best to measure. We’ve studied them and come up with a list of what to think about when you next plan a campaign – it’s important to set clearly defined goals before it starts to you know what to look out for.

  • Measure against clearly defined goals – do you want to grow sales? Market share? Raise awareness of the brand or new products?
  • Goals can be qualitative or quantitative so can include a set of KPIs to work towards
  • Outcomes are way more important than outputs. Who cares about how many press releases you send out if you don’t see results. Instead, look to measure shifts in awareness, attitude, behavior and advocacy and how this affects purchases, donations, brand equity, reputation and a whole host of other stakeholder shifts depending on the industry you work in. How you measure these need to be tailored to your overall objectives
  • So we know AVEs are out, but overall clippings and opportunities to see are also pretty meaningless too! Instead, we/you need to think about:
    • Impressions amongst target audience
    • Quality of coverage including:
      • Tone
      • Relevance of clipping to the target audience
      • Message delivery
      • Inclusion of spokesperson (if relevant)
  • Measuring social is just as important and it isn’t just about likes – what does the number of likes even mean?! Instead, focus on engagement, conversations and brand sentiment online as its this that will make a difference to your bottom line

While this is just a starting point, however you measure should be holistic and include traditional, social and digital so that it is integrated and aligned across all channels!

If you’d like to know more about how Juno is changing the way we evaluate and show just how PR makes a difference to your business, then contact Francesca on francesca.robinson@junopublicrelations.co.uk // 07854559786 

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