Johannesburg, South Africa, January 28, 2015 --(PR.com
)-- Tonya Khoury, MD of Media Monitoring
and Intelligence Company, ROi Africa says “The pressing issue at hand is how to measure the real effect the publicity had on the brand image? This is an issue that has been widely contested in global PR circles, but previously, no definite conclusion had been reached. One thing that authoritative bodies like PRISA (Public Relations Institute) agree on is that the traditional measurement using advertising value equivalent (AVE) is not the most effective way in measuring media publicity.”
The recent report by ROi Africa questions the value of Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE), specifically on Social Media. Due to a lack of a definite alternative, the majority of public relations practitioners use the AVE measurement method regardless of its lack of support by the authorities. This measure compares the cost of a paid advertisement with the same amount of space or airtime of an unpaid publicity item. Khoury points out “Ironically, the 'value' of AVE is widely recognised as unreliable and invalid but many people still use it - because they need to attribute a monetary value to media coverage. We have also noted that with diminishing advertising prices and hard earned content, AVE has often resulted in exaggerations in value with the use of multiplier factors based on prominence, image impact, prestige of the media channel and other criteria. This aside though, markets have become increasingly unsure about how to add a rand value to the successful minimisation of negative publicity or bad news."
Within the report, Khoury points out “One cannot say that the fact that a clever PR strategy kept a brand out of the negative media spotlight is worthless in monetary terms.” She also says “My stance on AVE: it is rubbish! It also does not take into consideration the monitoring of social media, which is an issue in itself. Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. are overflowing with new users that interact with and follow brand profiles. Just think what the Oscar Pistorius Trial would have been without Twitter!"
Case studies by ROi Africa present more reasons why AVE is absolutely pointless; an example is the recent #BoycottWoolworths campaign. If Woolworths had managed to alleviate the media activity on the boycott would that PR effort have been worthless? Says Khoury, “AVE as a benchmark for alleviating or minimising negative press shows how this measurement is completely useless.” Even measuring the press on a negative story by AVE certainly does not give the true value of brand damage.
Within the report, Khoury points out that Social Media has been the primary vehicle for #boycottwoolworths, as there is no accurate monetary measurement for Twitter, "Are we, as a market, saying that the hashtag campaign was worth no money at all?" Adding “I believe Woolworths and BDS South Africa would beg to differ.”
ROi Africa believes that each medium needs its own best measure and a host of other metrics that can ascertain the success or failure of your PR.
Khoury adds, “Changing the Public Relations industry’s perception is more than a tough task and for that reason ROi Africa still offers AVE, and actually we offer monetary measurement on all media including social. We do, however, hope that the market will move to global measurement over time. We are using Source Rank, Moz Rank, Target Sections, Circulations, traffic and so much more than AVE to measure, thus giving the brand a more accurate view of what the actual publicity value truly was.”
Oscar Wilde said “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about” and in some instances that is true. There is also positive bottom line value in some negative press. “Julius Malema is one controversial figure in the media space that draws on, often controversial qualities, like fierce temperaments, aggressive statements and much more and it works. At ROi Africa we have often seen our charts and analytics painted 'EFF Red' because of clever and largely negative PR.”