Life After Ad Value Equivalency

August 17, 2017

Ad value equivalency, or AVE, is a slightly fictitious metric that has besieged PR pros for decades. AVE is based on the idea that PR and advertising accomplish the same thing and can be compared interchangeably – when as we know, the disciplines are incredibly different.

Recently, the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication announced its plan to fully eradicate the use of AVE and similar measurement tools as acceptable metrics in public relations work. And while this may have sent some PR pros into a tail spin, others know there are far more accurate – and impactful – ways to measure results.

Tie PR results to business successes

Whether onboarding a new client or kicking off a planning session for the quarter, aligning on business goals is crucial to the success and measurability of a PR program. CEOs want to demonstrate to their boards a growth in market share, sales, customer acquisition, or stock price, so we must establish how PR best contributes to this growth. Identify the connection between what PR does and what the business wants to do. Once consensus has been made on the business value of what you’re supposed to deliver, work backwards from those outcomes to develop strategies and tactics.

Look beyond impressions

AVE has largely stuck around because it’s an easy way to quell a quarter’s work of PR efforts into a single number with a dollar sign. Instead, set figures to evaluate the impact of coverage – not just its impressions. Determine what is most valuable for your client and its business goals. What elements will persuade or dissuade a reader from doing business with your client? Some factors to consider include positive sentiment, publishing medium (e.g. print vs. online), inclusion of a positive visual, key message proliferation, addition of a call to action, customer leads, etc. These elements can also help highlight an increase in average media quality over time, as well as the likelihood a reader will consider or prefer your client’s brand.

At Barokas Communications, we work to deliver clients meaningful results that impact not only their reputation in the media, but their bottom line. We also aren’t fans of BS – so we’re happy to see AVE on its way out, and careful, measured evaluation of PR campaigns on its way in.


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