Posted by: Katie Zinn | July 27, 2011

PR Primer: RIP to AVE?


The struggle with media measurement has been raging on for quite some time amongst PR professionals and it seems as though one of the industry’s heavy hitters is taking sides. On Monday, news broke that internationally acclaimed Ogilvy PR will permanently abandon their use of Advertising Equivalent Value (AVE) to measure the effectiveness of media placements. Ogilvy PR chief executive Kieran Moore explained it like this: “We believe the age of spin, after being on life support for several years, is now dead.”

This “age of spin” has been said to be fueled by AVE, which many PR pros now designate as out-of-date and inconclusive measurement. AVE measurements relate a cost-estimated value to editorial coverage based on the price of a paid advertisement. The issue lies in that the content of the coverage is not accounted for. Whether the article is good, bad or indifferent, it is given the same monetary value that is supposed to be representative of its actual value and effectiveness. 

The reaction to Ogilvy’s decision seems, to us, to have been met with open arms as industry pros took to the Tweets to share their support. Notable praise included: 

In September, Ogilvy will move to a new method of measurement based on metric guidelines by the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communications (AMEC). The AMEC board is comprised of 11 elected representatives who oversee an international member base. In 2009, the group published a survey in which 520 PR professionals from across the globe weighed in on this issue and others that face the future of the industry. Key findings included:

• The overwhelming majority of PR professionals, 88%, believe measurement is an integral part of the PR process (70% believe this strongly).

• While 77% of respondents claimed to measure their work, compared with 69% in a similar 2004 survey, the survey results show that PR professionals are still not agreed on the best tools and methodologies.

• Overall, the data indicates there are two camps − the output measurers (clippings and AVEs) and the outcome measurers who tend towards more cerebral − and costly − measures (internal reviews, opinion polls etc.).

So we must ask: PR pros, which camp will you be calling home? (Well, at least for now.)




  1. […] PR Primer: RIP to AVE? Ogilvy PR has announced they will permanently abandon their use of Advertising Equivalent Value (AVE) to measure the effectiveness of earned media. Measurement pros rejoice. […]

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