Media Manager Online: Open Edition
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PR Analysis & Metrics (PRAM) is an evaluation creation tool designed for use by professional PR practitioners.
The PRAM module links into advertising rate and performance data in Media Manager Online to enable Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE) calculations to be done quickly, easliy, consistently and with transparency.
Print and radio mediums are covered.
Evaluations are placed into tables organised by Client/Brand/Campaign Sub-Category. Various summaries are produced which can be exported to PDF. Full data can be exported to Microsoft’s Excel for manipulation and charting.
Further, by concentrating on the non-AVE qualitative fields of the module’s input, PRAM can be used by PR professionals adhering to the 2010 Barcelona Declaration of principles of PR evaluation.
About AVE and PR Evaluation
Many PR professionals undertake post-campaign evaluations of their activities in order to determine whether or not the planned objectives, strategies and tactics have been achieved.
An important element in the PR mix is media relations, for much of the daily work of the average PR consultant consists of liaising with editors and journalists in order to get free or low cost positive editorial coverage and/or to put across their clients’ perspectives so as to influence editorial comment.
At its most simplistic level an evaluation of achievement in media relations can be reduced to hard cash – what would the achieved coverage in a campaign have cost if it had been paid-for? Since most media used in PR campaigns are also advertising vehicles this "paid-for" means calculating the equivalent of space (printed or online media) or time (broadcast media) in advertising cost. This is most usually termed Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE).
Essentially an AVE calculation measures earned media as if it were paid-for media.
The presumption here is that the greater the sum of advertising equivalents the more successful is the media relations achievement.
That said, it should be recognised that a larger AVE result does not necessarily mean the right vehicles were used, or a better communication resulted or indeed that all or any of a campaign’s objectives were fulfilled. These are different issues. All the sum of advertising equivalents indicates is the absolute weight (or “tonnage”) of media exposure as measured by advertising cost.
Therefore PRAM and its AVE output should be constructed and used with sensitivity and due consideration as to its application in decision-making.
About editorial value weighting
Most PR practitioners believe that people read newspapers and magazines for editorial content, not advertising. Thus the belief is held that editorial value is greater than the equivalent advertising cost. In fact many years ago David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency, wrote that if he could buy press coverage he would pay 6 times the advertising rate.
Hence the AVE value of coverage is not just the equivalent cost of the advertising space/time by itself but inversely related to the credibility or otherwise of advertising.
In the USA it is said that the general public are very critical of advertising and hold it in relatively poor esteem compared to editorial comment and news. On the other hand in Japan’s advertising’s credibility is extremely high. Thus, perhaps in the USA editorial space could be valued at 12 times the advertising equivalent (which is the weighting some PR consultants in the USA use) whereas in Japan editorial space value could be deemed to be at parity with advertising cost.
Media Manager has no research to prove or disprove the merits of editorial value versus advertising cost in South Africa. But most local PR practitioners have traditionally believed that editorial's value is 3 times that of advertising and this is the default used n Media Manager.
Users can change the editorial weight value at any stage of analysis, from the default of 3 to any whole number between 1 and 99. Changing the editorial value affects all evaluations in a category.
It would be technically incorrect to apply different editorial weights to different mediums/titles within a category. This is because bigger media and more important media have higher advertising rates, and this has already been factored into the calculation. A further weighting would have the effect of ‘double-weighting’ the result and yielding an unintended outcome.