The issue of earned media measurability has generated considerable debate amongst professionals, researchers and scholars for over a decade. Today, we take a look at the challenges posed by measurement and the future of the media measurability debate.
Traditional measurement standards of editorial publicity such as AVE and ASR have been subject to a substantial amount of scrutiny. According to the US Institute for Public Relations, “most reputable researchers contend that ‘advertising equivalency’ computations are of questionable validity”. As far back as 1999, the Public Relations Institute of Australia distanced itself from the AVE as a form of earned media measurement, stating “PRIA does not recognise Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs) of editorial media coverage as a reliable or valid evaluation methodology”.
The Measurability Challenge
According to distinguished communications academic Professor Jim Macnamara, “measurement remains a key issue of contention among practitioners and their employers and clients”.
In 2015 the world’s largest trade body representing communications research, measurement and insights, AMEC released the Barcelona 2.0 Principles, an overarching framework for effective public relations and communication measurement. Principle #1 affirmed that Goal Setting and Measurement are Fundamental to Communication and Public Relations. Measurement, evaluation and goal-setting are becoming increasingly critical as media professionals integrate marketing and communication into overarching business strategy.
But professionals looking for an overarching solution to the measurability issue have found their efforts frustrated by a lack of consensus on alternatives to the existing system. Although Principle #5 acknowledged that “AVEs do not measure the value of PR or communication, media content or earned media”, a legitimate alternative failed to materialise, leaving media professionals struggling to measure and inform their media strategy.
The Advent of Audience Data
The 21st century has reinvented the global media landscape on a monumental scale, and amongst the more substantial of the technological advances is the ability to track the engagement of online readers. This means no more reliance on traditional metrics such as circulation figures, readership estimates, polls, surveys and panels. Rather than relying on outdated measurement metrics such as ASR and AVE, journalists, marketers and media teams have the opportunity to access deep, granular data-based insights to inform their monitoring.
Streem is the first Australian news intelligence provider to deliver comprehensive data on the engagement, geography and profile of news consumers across Australia, making it a leader in audience insights. Unique, industry-first data sourced directly from Australia’s largest publishers is built from the realtime online behaviour of over 14 million Australians each day, providing media advisors, comms teams and PR professionals with an elite level of visibility across live media issues.
From small stories to major news issues, Streem delivers highly accurate and realtime audience data that helps media stakeholders measure earned media engagement. From crisis communications, measuring brand and issue engagement or understanding the public’s participation in news issues, Streem’s Audience Data guides how an organisation engages with the public, including data which measures, actual audience engagement down to the individual reader, sentiment, competitor benchmarking, journalist, publisher and broadcaster segmentation and key message pull through
Streem’s media analysis is driven by actual audience data (not panels or ‘guessed’ data) which provides a much richer understanding of what is being said and allows professionals to integrate audience data into business strategy.