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PR Measurement - how can we measure return on investment?

Is Advertising Value Equivalent an effective solution?

May 18, 2009 - PRLog -- A recent article in PR Week (http://www.prweek.com/uk/) tackled the AVE (advertising equivalent value) debate, using Metrica Numbers (http://www.metrica.net/MeasurementMatters/post/2009/04/27/Metrica-Numbers-its-back%21.aspx) data and produced some interesting results. Ultimately it remains clear that the obstacles to effectively measure PR are many, varied and constantly under scrutiny. PR has long struggled to demonstrate its value in pounds and pence.

AVE has served its purpose over the years and is, essentially, an easily understood way of demonstrating the value of PR and the ROI to people within an organisation that may not have a media and marketing background, but who are very significant decision makers.

According to the findings of the latest PR measurement report (http://www.metrica.net/contact/content4c.aspx) from Metrica Numbers: “as advertising budgets have declined over the course of 2008 so advertising rates have fallen and the value of adverts have declined in turn. For the many organizations still forced to use AVEs as a measure of their PR success, this means it has been a very bad year as the targets they were set become unattainable. On the plus side it has provided the perfect case in point for why the PR industry should not employ AVEs to measure its performance.”

Despite the obvious failings of AVE what remains clear is the immense impact PR has on an organisations’ perception, reputation and ultimately its success.

What is evident is that PR is measurable on some level but a universal measurement tool that takes into account every possible element is not within reach. What we do know is that PR needs to measure:

-How many individuals have seen the coverage, more importantly a profile of who has seen the coverage.

-How many times the coverage has been seen.

-How many different mediums has the intended target audience used to engage with the message and or organisation?

-Which medium generates the most response / reaction either positive or negative?

-The relevance of the publications / mediums featuring the communication?

-The importance of the message to both the organisation and the intended target audience?

-The influence the ‘conversation’ has on the consumer

-Volume and favourability of coverage

-Reaction to communicated message – positive / negative/neutral

-Relevance and delivery of key messages

-The number of articles achieved

-Competitor analysis

-Analysis of industry trends and issues

The only real solution is to assemble a collection of ‘measurables’ relevant to the organisations communication objectives. This can be achieved by cohesive collaboration between the organisation and its PR consultancy. Understanding the impact of PR is vital to any business therefore agreed measurements should be in place before an organisation embarks on a communications campaign.

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