The Basics: Five Must-Have Metrics for Evaluating Your Media Presence

Posted on June 17, 2011. Filed under: Measurement | Tags: , , , |

It has been a long day. You’ve spent hours on the phone speaking to a new journalist, explaining what your organization does and its place in the industry, edited a byline for publication in your biggest trade journal, sat in on your CMO’s interview with the Big Local Paper, and circulated the review of your company’s new product to all of the senior executives. You’re just about to leave for the day, happy with your success, when your CEO knocks on the door. Great work, he says, but what does it all mean? Can you quantify it for me?

For those looking to get beyond the clip book, here are five must-have metrics that will get your measurement programs started, whether you’re benchmarking your program or evaluating a single campaign. But beware: they might just get your CEO asking for more.

Leading Journalists Writing about Energy Firms

  1. Media Share of Voice. This metric allows you to benchmark your media relations programs against those of your key competitors and understand how awareness of your brand stacks up. A bedrock of competitive media performance, it is purely quantitative and is determined by the raw number of article mentions for a competitive set of companies. 
  2. Volume Trend. This measures the frequency of your company’s mentions in the media over time, enabling you to identify whether specific campaigns or announcements had an impact on your organization’s awareness. Also a quantitative measure, it is calculated by measuring the number of mentions on each day over a specified time period (e.g. a month or a quarter). 
  3. Issue Volume Analysis. This metric demonstrates which subjects, issues, products, brands or technologies are driving industry debate and provide a key measure of performance. It can help you test current messaging and positioning strategies, and help determine which trends may influence the market in the future. 
  4. Favorability or Sentiment Analysis. This qualitative metric evaluates the frequency of positive, negative and neutral mentions in the media. It can help you assess the level of interest in your brand or campaign and the believability of messaging points.
  5. Leading Journalists. This metric ranks the journalists or bloggers who are writing the most frequently about your brand or topic. With it, you can identify both new contacts and focus on those who give you the most press.

Diane Thieke is Marketing Director at Dow Jones.

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AVE, Still an Inaccurate Yardstick

Posted on February 11, 2010. Filed under: Public Relations, Social Media | Tags: , , , |

Recently I’ve received a few requests from clients to provide Ad Value Equivalency (AVE) metrics. AVE is widely criticized by our industry as inaccurate for numerous reasons, but the influx of social media, Twitter, blogs, message boards, Facebook etc. makes AVE even more inaccurate.

At Dow Jones, we do not recommend using AVE as a best practice or as a mediocre practice for that matter. The metric seeks to illustrate the value of a company’s mentions in the media by using the number of column inches the article uses and matching that to the cost to run an equivalent size ad in the same publication. This derives a dollar value for editorial space such as: if an article mentioning your company/product/brand in The Wall Street Journal is 2″ x 6″ and an equivalent advertisement in the WSJ costs $40K (made up number), then the article is worth $40K in AVE.

AVE is inaccurate in many ways, but mainly it fails because it seeks to show ROI on PR efforts by using an advertising yardstick.

Getting into the details, not all articles in the media are positive, and rarely are they as positive about a company as an advertisement would be. Would a company pay top dollar for a neutral or mildly favorable advertisement? Additionally, calculating column inches does not take factors such as placement, design elements such as font, page layout, photos etc. into account. Further, and perhaps most importantly it is difficult to predict how readers will react when they see an ad vs. when they see an article about a company or product.

Social media and non-advertising Web media add yet another reason against using AVE. If your company is seeking to gain exposure in a specific blog that does not advertise, or in product message boards or other non-advertising spaces online, mentions in those outlets would not count in the AVE model.  Add Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites to the equation and the AVE metric falls further off of the wagon.

As a metric, AVE doesn’t hold water and it cannot effectively measure value of social media. Advertising costs are different from PR spend. I’ll post some alternative PR ROI methods for those seeking to assign dollar values to PR performance in my next post. Additionally, I’ll add a review of a recent paper “A New Paradigm for Media Analysis: Weighted Media Cost” by Angela Jeffrey, APR Vice President Editorial Research, VMS; Bruce Jeffries-Fox President, Jeffries-Fox Associates and Brad L. Rawlins, Ph.D. Chairman, Department of Communications Brigham Young University.

Matt Donahue is a media consultant based in Washington, D.C.

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