Posts filed under ‘Media analysis & monitoring’

Say No to AVEs as a communications measure

A new campaign has been launched by the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication – AMEC to stamp out the use of AVEs – “Ad Value Equivalents” as a measure of communication and PR success. If you don’t know what an AVE is, it is basically where you look at how much coverage you have received in the news media (usually print) and then you estimate how much this coverage would have cost if you paid for it as advertising.

I think it’s a useless measure, as if we look at where “coverage” is happening today, it is a lot more fragmented than in just mainstream print media – and you can’t compare paid advertising with coverage. But still it persists. I recently saw a media monitoring dashboard of a major monitoring company that had AVE as a measure it offers its clients – that’s too bad. In the past 30 years of working in communications and evaluation I’ve never felt the need to use AVEs – there are so many more meaningful measures we can look at.   Read more from the academics and industry as to why we need to say No to AVEs.






July 6, 2017 at 7:24 am Leave a comment

Can media coverage predict a company’s reputation?

The extent of influence of media coverage on public opinion is a hotly debated topic.  For communication professionals, their intepretation of how influential the media is can influence how much effort they put into media relations compared to other activities.  Here is an interesting case study (pdf)  that shows the link between media coverage and company reputation (or more precisely people’s opinion of a company).

The case study (Winner of the 2011 Jack Felton Golden Ruler Award for excellence in research, measurement and evaluation),  is on Toyota and “uses a mathematical model of the impact of persuasive information on opinion formation to show how Toyota’s corporate reputation, as measured by surveys, can be directly predicted by document sentiment (i.e. media coverage)”.

The study also makes comes to some interesting findings that have implications for wider media relations and monitoring:

  • Information favorable to Toyota is about twice as persuasive as unfavorable information.
  • Blogs appear to be a leading indicator of negative issues, yet have limited impact on Toyota’s corporate reputation at the national level.
  • The research suggests that any representative sample of media outlets can be used to gauge opinion, and that automated sentiment scoring is sufficient.

The study concludes with some implications for communication practice in general:

“Quite simply, the model demonstrates that media relations works. Persuasive information in the media drives opinion formation. The model is truly predictive – not just a correlation – in the sense that this week’s media results are used to reliably predict next week’s corporate brand reputation”

Read the full case study here (pdf)>>

December 14, 2011 at 8:33 am 1 comment

how much is publicity worth?

For those interested to learn more about the debate on if – or should – we put a montary value on media coverage – here is an excellent article from Carl Bialik, “the numbers guy” at the WSJ. His blog post on the same subject also provides more insights.

As he points outs, a recent study (pdf) indicates that editorial/media coverage is not necessarily more valuable to the reader than a paid ad – which is the crutch that all media evaluation costing rests upon…

June 29, 2011 at 7:33 am 1 comment

media attention & importance

Which media gets most our attention and is important to us? This was the question asked recently in a study(pdf) undertaken by the UK Ofcom (UK regulator/authority).

The graph above (click on it to see it better), taken from this report shows that the media that gets most of the attention and is important to us (based on UK audiences) is:

  • email
  • mobile calls
  • mobile texting/mobile video/print media

Those that get the least attention and are less important are:

  • radio
  • recorded TV programmes

Interestingly, social media (mobile) sits in the middle and TV gaming  (e.g. Playstation, nintendo, Xbox) gets high attention but is of low importance (witness any teenager “glued” to these games and you know the score…).

So the death of email is still far off it seems…as is print media although we might have our doubts on both of these… and poor radio, it is a survivor!

It also indicates that most of the media that are important and grab our attention are interpersonal media – and not mass media – the only exception being the print media – which is a surprise. Then again, the “print” internet (news websites) is missing from the chart (as is social networking-internet) and I’d guess that would be situated close to print media.

March 30, 2011 at 7:01 am 2 comments

Standardisation of PR Evaluation Metrics?

The  UK government’s  Central Office of Information (yes, I know it’s rather Orwellian sounding…) has produced a set of metrics for measuring PR campaigns: “Standardisation of PR Evaluation Metrics” (pdf).

Frankly, they are disappointing.  The title is deceiving, it should be called “Standardisation of media monitoring metrics”. As that all the document covers – the superficial stuff – “reach”, “Favourability of coverage”, etc. These are  “outputs” of PR activities.

But what about metrics for measuring “outcomes”? These don’t get a mention. Well there is an admission but you have to dig deep, they do say:

“It is worth bearing in mind that these standardised core metrics for media evaluation are only one component of any campaign evaluation. It is crucial to agree specific key performance indicators (KPIs) at the outset of a campaign.”

So they admit it, these are metrics for media coverage only. And no guidance is given on these KPIs (that are typically “outcome” level).  If you are interested in learning more about metrics for “outcomes”, I’d recommend you start with the excellent guide from the Institute of PR: “Guidelines and Standards for Measuring the Effectiveness of PR Programs and Activities” (pdf).

February 17, 2010 at 8:39 pm Leave a comment

AVE to WMC – A wolf in sheep’s clothes?

The Institute for Public Relations has published a new research paper explaining a new media measurement concept called “Weighted Media Cost”.  But is this anything new – or simply the dreaded Ad Value Equivalent (AVE) in disguise – a wolf in sheep’s clothes? PR measurement guru KD Paine certainly thinks so.

I think that any measurement based on media space generated by PR efforts is bound to be flawed and increasingly illrelevant. Why?

  • Generating media space is rapidly loosing importance as a PR objective – particularly with the growth of other ways that people can obtain information. These measurements typically look at print media – which is a media with a declining readership base
  • Measuring how much media space was generated takes the focus away from the more important objectives to measure – what did PR efforts actually change in terms of knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of target audiences. That’s harder to do, but it’s worth the effort…!

January 29, 2010 at 5:06 pm 2 comments

Case study on media measurement and content analysis

Here is an interesting case study from the Institute for Public Relations.

The case study (pdf)  looks how a  financial company used media measurement and content analysis to gauge impact on its brand, reputation and risk.

View the case study (pdf)>>

August 5, 2009 at 11:12 am 2 comments

Mor-on Twittering

Following from my post about AVE’s and twittering in conference sessions earlier this week, it seems that some of the twitterers were not just against AVEs, but also against anyone defending them.

My point is  how can you hear  the argument if you are up to you neck in  negative twitters – not just with other people in the room, but the rest of the world too? Also, be careful.  Libel lawyers also subscribe to Twitter.

Basically, the presentation was:

a) Asked how many people in the room us AVE’s — almost everyone raised their hands

b) Given that it is a wide-spread practice, here are some ideas about how to use and not use them:

– no multipliers unless verified
– adjust for quality of placement
– possible use as a predictor of sales based on some recent experimental modeling work
– don’t call it the value of PR, call it what it is — comparable cost of buying the space as advertising, a cost that may be the perceived minimum value to the advertiser as a contribution to their business. This assumes the market for advertising is one that functions as an effective market with complete information (ie negotiated rates, not ratecard).

The presentation neither endorsed nor deplored the use of AVE’s, but instead recognized that its use is widespread. There may be reasons to use that approach, and if one does use it here are some do’s and don’ts…. (get the presentation by emailing


June 17, 2009 at 9:17 pm Leave a comment

Thoughts from the Berlin Measurement Summit

The 1st European Measurement Summit was a great success.  Delegates are busy doing a survey (organised by Benchpoint), and the feedback is looking very positive.
My Highlights:
Neil Martinson, head of press and PR in the UK Government’s Central Office of Information (COI), spends £25million (€29.3 million) on PR every year, so is fairly interested in knowing which half is wasted. He asked five  media measurement and evaluation specialists to do some test measurements on a recent campaign. The result? Five very different measurements, and no agreement on criteria or methodology.
David Rockland’s sprited defence of AVE’s (Advertising Value Equivalents). Actually, it’s quite a good measure of penetration, reach and performance. The only trouble is the V word. People manipulate the figures to give the impression that editorial is worth more than advertising, which is hardly objective or honest. And no two people seem to do it the same way (see above) But there has to be a way of integrating this figure with other measures to give a true index of success. By the way David is MD of Ketchum’s global research network, and knows a thing or two. Methinks the detractors are a little over the top on this one.
Social Media. Half the conference were struggling to understand what Social Media is and how to use it, while the other half were on line to each other commenting on what each speaker was saying, without the bother of joining in the discussion with other delegates. I was chuffed when the delegate in front of me started reading this blog  during one of the presentations. Should I join Twitter? Or is it just people shouting, and no-one else listening?

I shall be returning to more serious content in future posts. But meanwhile, please comment or contribute to the ongoing debate.


June 15, 2009 at 8:10 pm 1 comment

media evaluation – sentiment analysis

Monitoring of the media often involves assessing the “tone” of a media item – is it positive, negative or neutral on a given subject? This is often done manually and many of the large media monitoring services do this but it is a paid service not readily available to many.

Now there is a tool available to all to assess the “tone” of a media item (written):

Sentiment analyser>>

This is what David Phillips of the LeverWealth blog had to say about it:

“This kind of development is useful for analysing sentiment of news articles, blogs and other content, which is its primary purpose but it also has applications in evaluating style and and bias all of which are very useful to the PR industry, regulators and watchers of political sentinemt on and off line.”

Try it out here>>


June 17, 2008 at 5:51 am 2 comments

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