Why one size does not fit all in PR measurement

Different clients and projects require creative approaches to finding ways to gauge success.

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Public Relations is a service. For many industries, services can be measured and return on investment can be easily quantified. This is not the case with PR. PR measurement has become a point of contention even to those within our industry.

The PR landscape is quickly changing, leading many communications professionals to call for the death of “ad value equivalency” (AVE). They say it is no longer relevant or accurate when it comes to actually giving value to media outcomes. What is frustrating is that they stop short of offering a new solution, or they offer intensive measurement processes that completely bypasses that time spent on measurement means time away from pursuing PR opportunities.

In the days of print, TV and radio, when I started my career in the industry, AVE was pretty much the main performance indicator for PR. AVE was about as straightforward as you could get. However, there is still much debate about how much more value should be given to editorial space over advertising space. Some say it’s three times more valuable, and some say it’s up to five times more valuable depending on the outlet. This divide has weakened AVE in the eyes of some professionals as an effective metric because there is no one way to calculate it.

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