IMG_2625 (2)They call me Buffy. I’m one of the new Buff Orpingtons that just joined the flock here at Shankhassick Farm. That’s a picture of me posing with my favorite sword. Katie enlisted me in her quest to slay all AVEs, and frankly, other than that nasty fox, there’s nothing I hate more than AVEs1. I may have been born yesterday (okay…not quite) but a chick like me knows evil when she sees it.

What has my feathers ruffled is the number of people who continue to use it, despite strong evidence that moving to a better, more meaningful measurement system yields better results and bigger budgets. (See our series of case studies on companies who have moved away from AVEs to metrics that really matter.)

But I get it. It’s embedded in your processes. The VP of Media Relations & Cause Marketing at Macy’s admitted to a roomful of Ragan conference attendees that she reported the “value” of her work in terms of AVEs.  Another attendee admitted that his bonus was connected to AVEs.

And to that I can go back into my genetic memories of a client that was in the same situation.  She worked for a video game company. Not knowing any better, she signed up to deliver $200K worth of AVEs per quarter. And of course she did a bang up job, delivering interviews in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and lots of T.V. shows. The only problem was – the target audience (the people they were hoping would actually BUY the products) was teenage boys. So when we reported results against the real business goal: reach into the targeted communities – her results were terrible and sales suffered.

On the other hand, when Atlantic City Alliance threw out AVEs and replaced them with a customized Optimal Content Score, they saw intent to visit their city increase.

And if you’re feeling inspiring, you can read this piece from the Chair of IPR’s Measurement Commission on the topic.

Even though I’m still waiting on my baby fuzz to turn into an armor of plumage, there’s a lot you can learn from me. I’m already perfecting my chicken scratch for my next blog post. Ta ta!


1 AVE = advertising value equivalency. This technique assigns a value for publicity based on what it might’ve cost to buy the same number of column inches of advertising space. This method of measurement was condemned by the industry in 2010.

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