Fighting Flawed Metrics in PR Measurement


Stephen Waddington (who members will remember from the 2015 PRII Annual Conference) published a very good blog post last week calling out what he describes as the "festering" use of the flawed measure of AVEs (Advertising Value Equivalent) as a metric of Public Relations activity.

The Association of Media and Evaluation Companies (AMEC) reckons that about 20% of organisations worldwide still use AVEs while the PRCA in the UK recently reported  that it is closer to a third.

AVEs have no relation to a campaign's objectives, messages, or sentiment, or organisational outcomes – as Waddington points out.

Since 2010 the guiding light in PR evaluation and measurement has been the Barcelona Principles, which were subsequently updated in 2015 as the Barcelona Principles 2.0 which set out:

  1. Goal setting and measurement are fundamental to communication and public relations
  2. Measuring communication outcomes is recommended versus only measuring outputs
  3. The effect on organisational performance can and should be measured where possible
  4. Measurement and evaluation require both qualitative and quantitative methods
  5. AVEs are not the value of communications
  6. Social media can and should be measured consistently with other media channels
  7. Measurement and evaluation should be transparent, consistent and valid

This was built upon in a practical way by the development of the Integrated Evaluation Framework. This was developed by AMEC and which provides, through a number of key web resources and an interactive tool, a straightforward process to implement the Barcelona Principles and ultimately show how PR aligns and helps the successful achievement of organisational objectives.

This has now become the standard best practice for the UK Government Communication Service for the evaluation of government communication.

Waddington’s post is well worth a read (here).

If you want to learn more about PR measurement & evaluation, Barcelona Principles or PR metrics take a look at our upcoming Demonstrating PR’s Contribution to the Bottom Line workshop on April 11th - here


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