A friend asked me for my “Elevator Speech” as to why AVEs (Ad Value Equivalency) aka EMV (Earned Media Value) have been discredited and should never ever be used as a measure of anything, particularly not value. Thought it might be worth sharing the list:
1. AVEs are based on the notion that the goals for advertising and the goals for PR are the same – getting more “eyeballs” – most PR programs have different goals and therefore require different metrics. But eyeballs aka impressions are like sperm – there are a gazillion of them, but very few of them do what they are intended to do. ?
2. You become what you measure – so if they use AVEs as a measure they will encourage PR to produce more column inches. Is that really the goal of your program? You could earn huge AVE numbers for being mentioned in passing in a story that runs on The View – but how influential is that with your target audience?
3. AVEs were invented out of no science whatsoever in an era where there was a limited news hole – in the era of the Internet, space isn’t the issue.
4. There are no accurate equivalents between the actual value of a news story on your target audience and the space it takes up.
5. AVEs are based on standard rate card advertising rates which no one pays, and don’t exist for many blogs and social media sites.
6. Take a story in a local paper that your service claims has an AVE of around $5000 then ask them to write you a check for that amount if that’s the value they’d put on it. Try the same thing with a story that is negative or neutral. How much would they pay for that one?
7. All ads contain messages and visuals that you presumably know will influence your target audience. Earned media includes negative and neutral stories that your target audience may or may not be persuaded by. And there is so such thing as a negative AVE – so you are earning AVEs for stories you may not want.
8. AVEs have been rejected by every industry association and most will reject entries for awards that include them.