The Fifth Principle of the Barcelona Principles 3.0 suggests that Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs) are not the value of communication. Surprisingly, AVEs are still prevalent in public relations despite being recognized as obsolete and ineffective. Here are the top 5 reasons why AVEs should not be used as the primary method for evaluation:

AVE is a totally arbitrary and inaccurate figure

It bases the value of a hard-earned public relations campaign’s results on the cost of equivalent ad space. But the costs of advertising fluctuate independently of readership or media impact – often media have to drop their prices due to external factors, without any effect on the success of PR earned media placements.

Advertising and PR are different

Advertising and public relations are distinct practices and thus should be addressed separately. Advertising is a type of “disruptive” marketing practice, whereas PR on the other hand uses “engagement” at its very core. When it comes to PR, the public is looking for editorial content that has greater credibility as it derives from third-party sources; unlike advertising that seeks to both distract and capture our attention. Advertising and PR are frequently complementary, but they function in different ways, are created for different purposes, and therefore should be measured in distinct ways.

Ads cannot be of a negative tone but editorials can. Editorial content differs significantly from paid content. This is due to the fact that advertising is paid for and always has a positive tone. But press coverage and publicity can be either favorable, or neutral, or even negative. AVE does not reflect the sentiment and cannot measure how the content impacts your brand.

AVEs are purely quantitative, while the quality or inferences are not weighed in terms of effectiveness

AVEs are only a quantitative metric and do not offer insight on the qualitative side of the content, messaging, implications, or issues that are important. Were the key messages reflected? Is the brand vision supported? AVEs just disregard these questions. AVEs associate money with value, but the real worth of a public relations effort is more than that.

AVE fails to provide metrics for social media impressions

Even though there is no media kit that can give you the financial value of a popular tweet, does this imply you should avoid social media entirely in favour of tactics that will provide more AVE-friendly results? Obviously not. But AVEs on social media are much more ‘faulty’ than they are in conventional media.

Overall within the communications industry, the use of AVEs has been controversial to say the least.There are much better ways to measure the effectiveness of communication campaigns. At Midas PR, our PR experts are always ready to provide guidance and assistance with the latest solutions at hand to optimise your PR efforts and evaluate the success of your campaigns. Visit our website at today for more information or get in touch with us by email.