Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) is a method of estimating the value of PR by comparing it to the cost of equivalent advertising. To calculate the EAV, the amount of PR exposure (e.g. the size of the article or the length of airtime) is multiplied by the unit cost of the advertisement. Multipliers can be applied to reflect the assumed higher credibility of editorial content compared to paid advertising.

Criticism:

  • Many PR and marketing experts question the relevance and accuracy of EAV. Criticisms include that EAV does not take into account the quality or tone of the content, that it does not measure actual impact on the recipient’s perception or behavior, and that it assumes a direct comparability between PR and paid advertising that many consider misleading.
  • EAV fails to reflect the strategic importance of PR placements, which can include positioning within an article, the context in which the brand is mentioned, and the relevance of the publication to the target audience.

The modern approach to measuring PR value:

  • Companies and PR professionals are seeking increasingly sophisticated ways to measure PR effectiveness that better reflect its actual value and impact. These methods include measuring the impact on brand awareness, customer loyalty and buying behavior.
  • PR measurements can also include qualitative analysis such as sentiment analysis, content analysis and assessment of the authority of the media channel. It can also include quantitative data such as web traffic, search engine rankings and social media engagement.
  • AMEC (International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication) has developed a set of guidelines that can be used to evaluate communication. They are summarized in what is called the Barcelona Principles, last updated in summer 2020.

The future of measuring the value of PR:

  • The discussion on the future of PR measurement can focus on how technological advances, such as artificial intelligence and data analytics, can enable more sophisticated and integrated measurement methods.
  • It is also important to stress the need for industry standards for PR measurement. Organizations such as the Institute for Public Relations and AMEC (International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication) work to develop and disseminate good practice in this area.
  • Finally, the discussion can include the perspective that PR measurement should be holistic and integrated with other marketing and communication metrics to provide a complete picture of the overall business impact of the efforts.f