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Reuben Yuvaraj

Published on

April 15, 2024


public relations

Key Takeaways:

  • Traditional PR metrics like PR value (AVE) are outdated and fail to capture the true impact of modern PR efforts.
  • Focusing solely on metrics like PR value can mask underlying problems and lead to inflated perceptions of success.
  • Embracing qualitative metrics such as impressions/views, share of voice, engagement, website traffic, and sentiment analysis offers a more accurate measure of PR success in today’s digital landscape.
  • Leveraging sophisticated tools and analytics allows PR professionals to track campaigns effectively and demonstrate tangible results to stakeholders.
  • By adopting modern metrics and ditching outdated approaches, PR professionals can showcase the true value of their efforts and drive meaningful outcomes for their brands.

Okay, let’s talk about a PR measurement method that needs to be retired to the PR museum alongside rotary phones and fax machines: PR value, sometimes interchangeably termed Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE). It’s extremely frustrating to see brands who insist on measuring success using these metrics. It’s like judging a Beyonce concert by the number of lampposts outside the stadium. Completely. Irrelevant.

Here’s the deal: AVE attempts to assign a dollar value to earned media by estimating what it would cost to buy the same amount of advertising space. It is based on the outdated notion that media coverage is the holy grail of PR, and that the more eyeballs on a print ad (remember those?), the better. The problem? The media landscape has done a total 180 since the 1940s, when this metric was invented (so imagine the generational differences in this context). These days, many of us get our news swiping through social media, and not by flipping through broadsheets.

Don’t get me wrong. Traditional media outlets are still formidable, but it’s hard to ignore the massive online audience you’d be missing out on if you only choose to go down that route. Comparing earned media to advertising space is like comparing a sleek electric car to a steam engine – they’re fundamentally different beasts.

And there’s more! Research shows that the sentiment is catching on – a recent report found only 20.6% of PR peeps still consider AVE when measuring success[1]. That’s progress, but there’s still a surprising number clinging to this outdated method.

Here’s the real kicker: focusing on PR value can actually mask problems. PR professionals who insist on this metric might think they’re getting amazing results based on inflated numbers, when in reality, their message might be falling flat. Research by the Institute of Business Analytics (IBA) revealed that a whopping 89% of respondents struggle to measure campaign effectiveness and 88% suspect that much of their PR spending is wasted. That stat is enough to make any data-driven PR pro cry into their artisanal kombucha.

Remember, it’s not just about seeing your brand, it’s about engagement and impact.

So, what are some better ways to measure PR success in the age of the internet? Let’s ditch the quantity game and focus on quality. Here are a few fire metrics to consider:

  • Impressions/Views: This one’s pretty straightforward. How many people actually saw your PR content, whether it was a killer press release, a thought leadership article published online, or a social media post with serious engagement? Numbers are still important, but in the digital age, we’re tracking eyeballs on relevant content.
  • Share of Voice (SOV): This metric is all about how your brand stacks up against the competition in terms of media mentions and online buzz. Are you leading the conversation in your industry, or are your competitors drowning you out? SOV helps you understand your brand’s visibility and influence.
  • Engagement: Likes, comments, shares – these are all gold when it comes to measuring online engagement. Did your PR campaign spark conversations? Did it get people talking about your brand in a positive light? High engagement shows your message is resonating with your target audience.
  • Website Traffic: A successful PR campaign should drive people to your website, where they can learn more about your brand and take action, whether it’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a white paper. Tracking website traffic from PR efforts helps you understand the campaign’s impact on lead generation.
  • Sentiment Analysis: Not all press is good press, but understanding the sentiment surrounding your brand mentions is crucial. Are people saying good things about your new product launch, or are they expressing concerns? Sentiment analysis helps you gauge the public’s perception of your brand and identify areas for improvement.

Ask anyone in the industry and they’ll all tell you that measuring PR success is a tricky business. Fortunately, there are a many sophisticated tools at your disposal to help track your campaigns and glean valuable insights. From social listening platforms to website analytics software, there’s really no excuse to rely on outdated metrics like PR value. Today’s PR is all about harnessing the power of data and using it to tell a compelling story.

Related content: 7 Tips to Maximise Research for Thought Leadership

By focusing on these dynamic, qualitative and dare I say it, modern metrics, you can finally ditch the PR value dinosaur and start measuring the true impact of your campaigns in the ever-evolving digital landscape. This way, you can show your key stakeholders exactly how PR is driving real results, not just imaginary dollar signs based on an antiquated formula.

Remember, PR is an investment, not a cost. By embracing these more holistic metrics and ditching the outdated ways of measuring success, you can ensure your PR efforts are delivering a return that’s nothing short of amazing.

Now, go forth and conquer the new PR frontier!



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