How to measure PR is an ongoing debate and this question was at the centre of a big review by the CAANZ Marcomms Leadership Group last year. And while advertising value equivalent (AVE) has been rejected in many other markets as outdated and insufficient, a survey conducted for Hotwire, the global integrated PR and communications agency, has shown that it's still prevalent in Australia and New Zealand.
The survey was conducted by the Holmes Report, which found that while 91 percent of communication professionals in New Zealand and Australia feel that measurement is an important part of any PR campaign, 50 percent still rely on AVE to measure results. The survey showed communication professionals are typically measuring coverage volume (81 percent), sentiment (78 percent) and message penetration (78 percent), but the majority are not able to quantify the impact that a PR campaign has delivered to the business.
Like many, Hotwire believes the lack of a universally accepted measurement methodology holds back the credibility of what is a $7 billion global industry, so it has tried to address that with its own measurement framework that "puts a greater focus on business objectives throughout the entire campaign so that direct business outcomes are easier to identify, record, and measure".
It is based on the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication’s (AMEC) Valid Metrics Framework, which was created with the intention of moving away from AVE as a defining measurement factor for PR, something the local bods from PRINZ advocate.
"Measurement and delivering solid business outcomes has always been at the heart of Hotwire’s proposition," says Hamish Anderson, general manager at Hotwire New Zealand. "Twelve years on from Hotwire’s launch, the company is still passionate about these topics and continues to innovate. But as the survey shows, we still have a lot of work to do to kill off outmoded forms of measurement such as AVE. Our Measurement Framework is about driving forward the progressive PR measurement agenda so that business objectives are a starting point rather than simply a ‘nice to have’.”
Barry Leggetter, executive director at AMEC, said: “Hotwire’s new Measurement Framework is a real leadership step in the PR industry. It’s a bold way of showing staff and clients that measurement really matters and to actually do something about it. When we began our measurement journey in 2010 with the Barcelona Principles, it signalled a moment when PR programme measurement became a business imperative. A milestone for that journey was the development of the Valid Metrics methodology that Hotwire has incorporated in its Measurement Framework.”
Hotwire also launched a new social media influencer analysis tool, Listening Post.
- A free Hotwire Measurement Framework whitepaper is available to download here.