Measuring Earned Media in an Evolving Industry
Marketing communications is an ever-changing landscape of exciting new ways to reach target audiences. In this shifting environment, one of the core pieces of a successful and integrated marketing plan continues to be earned media. While it remains one of the most effective platforms for establishing credibility and awareness, earned placements can be among the most challenging to measure.
The Cornerstones of Better Measurement
When it comes to measuring earned media, there’s no silver bullet or one true way. It requires a customized approach that differs based on an organization’s objectives and needs. However, there are some guiding principles we all can follow to set the stage for our measurement efforts.
Step #1 – Budget for success: Determine a budget up front for how much time and which tools can be dedicated to monitoring and measuring media placements. Without a deliberate budget, accurate and in-depth measuring, monitoring and evaluating cannot be conducted.
Are Earned Media Metrics Becoming More Tangible?
For decades, potential impressions, advertising value equivalent (AVE) and circulation have been the go-to metrics organizations used to measure earned media efforts. Though some of these metrics still provide value, they don’t paint the full picture.
The ability to measure “actuals” — like we do with our owned and paid mediums — instead of “potentials” in earned media is a capability that’s been sought after for years. And, thanks to recent developments that could be changing. New media monitoring technology, like Cision Impact, are touting they can measure for enhanced metrics like article views.
But there may be some hurdles to these new measurement approaches. With companies like Apple and Google cracking down on third-party cookies and individual web tracking data, the ability of services and tools to deliver enhanced insights could be in jeopardy.
Earned Media in an Ever-Changing Marketing Landscape
How and what we measure in earned media is going to continue to evolve as do the touchpoints and the rules of the game, but the guiding principles and need to effectively measure earned media remain essential parts of a well-developed media relations campaign or integrated marketing plan.