Measuring Earned Media Value is a Cop Out. Please Stop it.

Measuring Earned Media Value is a Cop Out. Please Stop it.

Measuring earned media value is a metric that should not be used by public relations professionals for so many important reasons.

By: Michael Brito

Category: Social Data & Analytics

If measuring earned media value is your cup of tea, please read on. Please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel and get access to videos where I discuss PR analytics and audience intelligence.

The funny thing is, I have never been a PR professional in my career. I don’t know the media. I don’t know any journalists. I don’t even like journalists. The ones that I’ve encountered seem to be arrogant and self righteous. Again, this is my personal experience.

I have never written a press release. I have never read a press release and I don’t have any plans to do so either. I don’t really know what they are used for these days yet PR pros spend a lot of hours writing press releases that have no real value.

But this post isn’t about what PR pros do every day. It’s about measuring earned media value.

Earned media value (EMV) is an estimate of what you would have paid for the same amount of impressions using some form of paid media.

For example, let’s assume you receive 10 million earned media impressions from a product launch. In order to calculate an earned media value, you’d have to determine what you would have to pay in paid media to get 10 million impressions.

Let’s say that your media plan tells you that it would cost $200,000 to get 10 million impressions in display advertising. In this case, the earned media value would be $200,000. Some even look at it as a cost savings.

The problem with measuring earned media value is that impressions is a flawed metric.

Most PR professionals calculate impressions using UVMs. UVM stands for unique visitors monthly which is data that you can get from SimilarWeb or other web analytics platforms.

However, this metric measures web traffic at the domain level not the article level. I’m not sure how many PR professionals even know this.

Let’s explore this.

The below screenshot is directly from similarweb.com looking at Fortune web traffic and analytics. The data below represents total visits and not necessarily UVMs. In order to get unique visitors monthly, you’d have to have a paid subscription. Nonetheless, let’s assume that Fortune does receive 6.42 million visitors per month. If and when you were to get coverage in Fortune, there might be a report floating around in someone’s inbox that suggests that your coverage in Fortune generated 6.42 million impressions. Maybe you can understand why this is a flawed metric.

This is one reason why measuring earned media value makes no sense to me. Now, there are media measurement platforms in the market today that give interesting data to brands.

Memo is a relatively new media measurement analytics platform that gives you unique web analytics directly from the publishers. In other words, if you get coverage in Fortune, Memo will tell you how many unique visitors, among other metrics, that you get directly at the article level. This is a huge step in measuring the value of earned media.

But let’s look at this from a different perspective.

Philosophically, an article on the front page of the New York Times probably has more value than purchasing display advertising on the New York Times for a variety of reasons which we won’t get into today.

So if I work on the PR team, why would I compare a placement that is written by a trusted third party source to a media buy. Advertising. It really doesn’t make sense to me because it diminishes the value and credibility of an earned media placement. Also, with the rise of social audio platforms, it’s critical that PR team look into Clubhouse analytics and other data points. This is a new space and there are a lot of conversations in rooms that are discussing products, services, and brands.

Also, with the rise of social audio platforms, it’s critical that PR teams look into clubhouse analytics and other data points. This is a new space and there are a lot of conversations and rooms that are discussing products, services, and brands.Again, this is just my opinion. In any case, if you work in PR, you should really think about media analysis as a way to show value to the executive team.

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