AVE- Love it or Hate it?

Before we get into, the arguments for and against, firstly, what does it mean? AVE or EAV stands for Advertising Value Equivalent and is a widespread metric used within the PR industry for putting an intrinsic value against coverage achieved. It relates to the size of the article within the publication and the cost it would take to buy the space.

…And how’s it different to PRV? PRV stands for PR Value – it’s a figure made up by an imaginative PR/agency who we assume was once struggling to show ROI against their fee so they thought, I’ll times the AVE by three (for a paper) or four (for a magazine because they’re on shelf longer!) and blag to their client/boss that because it’s not an advert it’s worth more than the print space ‘because you know, everyone skips the adverts in the paper so PR must be worth more.’ PRV kind of caught on a little but it’s always raised an eyebrow with most professionals, as there was little science behind it.

So now we’ve cleared that up… why the love and why the hate for AVE within the PR industry and the general business world?

Arguments for love it:

Well, there is science to it and it’s factual. It’s an established measurement and something that has been delivered as a metric by media monitoring tools like Precise and Kantar for decades.

It puts a cash value against coverage and in the business world, money talks so when a board is asking what’s going on with PR, are we getting any value for money out of it, they can clearly see they’ve spent £XXXX and got £XXXXXX back for it.

Arguments for hate it:

There are many, first being sometimes a good PR’s role is to keep its client out of the paper and how’d you put a value against the number of articles not printed?

Second being similar, what about those stories which appear online or via social media? How’d you put a value against these? Well the media monitors do it on impression rates – how many times someone sees a story, but that only really works for the more established publications and less so a twitter feed.

And then there’s a stream of other questions – what about sentiment? Some coverage is good, some coverage is negative, and some coverage is neutral they can’t all have this one value relating to advertising space.

So what’s the solution?

Well – the long and short of it, there isn’t one until a superb new metric is invented, there are a few ways which agencies are challenged to show value for money however these in their own right have some issues to overcome for example:

How can you demonstrate sales/call to action?

For some of our accounts, this is by far easier than others – for our live events, we see large spikes in sales following announcement coverage or a big feature – for example following a BBC Radio 2 interview and a large feature in the Mail on Sunday a theatre we were working with saw a boost in sales for the play we were supporting of £18,000. For our #HookedOnMusic campaign, following our news coverage web visits went from 2,000pcm to 170,000 overnight.

But this is only easy to track when there is little other marketing activity-taking place, so results can be directly attributed to PR. With omni-channel PR and marketing campaigns common place, these results are much harder to specifically track.

And what about consideration phase, some things you don’t just buy there and then – that new car may take five years to buy, you might not even buy it new, but it could all be down to reading a piece of media coverage about the vehicle.

So should all coverage have a call to action?

Absolutely – but PR is coercive, subtle and slightly more understated – PR is more about love and trust my brand/product, it’s a sales tool, not an advert shouting ‘buy me now.’ It’s routed in editorial themes and trends and re-worked by publications to fit their readers so may never include the perfect call to action like an advert does.

So how do we like to evaluate?

We use a number of ways and we tend to agree these on a client-by-client basis – if you love AVE we’ll happily give you AVE. Like marmite, we know it’s got its place in the PR cupboard and is useful.

We can also score our coverage by tier of media, call to action, sentiment, type of article, link to website (news, product placement, listing, feature, TV, print, radio, the list goes on) with greater points given to coverage you feel has the best influence for your business.

So are you a lover or hater of AVE? Join the debate with us on Twitter… https://twitter.com/Carousel_PR

AVE £999, PR Score 99