You probably know what we think of advertising value equivalent (AVEs) metrics at Clarity PR, following our UK MD, Sara Collinge’s piece in February on the topic.
However, the industry debate just continues to rumble on.
Following on from Sara’s piece, The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is now going to publish a new professional standard on public relations measurement in the autumn which, it says, “will identify the use of AVEs in public relations as unprofessional and set out an expectation of members that their use will cease.” Guidance on these new rules will be presented to the CIPR council in September 2017.
However, more worryingly, the CIPR is reportedly planning to make its members “liable to disciplinary action” if they still use AVEs after a one year period of one year to “transition to valid metrics.”
It seems the stick, not the carrot, will be used moving forward to get rid of AVEs once and for all.
Any professional worth their salts in the PR game knows that the AVE metric is a busted flush, that holds little to no credibility. We can all reminisce about those days of fiddling around with calculators and rulers to generate some unfathomable amount, that in reality, had no actual meaning.
But will the CIPR’s approach to, in effect, outlawing the practice actually work? Probably not.
While at Clarity PR, we have and never would use this metric, some agencies, for a variety of reasons, such as economic pressures or even just to keep a client happy, will undoubtedly still keep using the metric. Instead, following the education route, which up to this point the CIPR has done, will be more fruitful in my opinion. Remember the first AVE dating back as far as 1968, the industry has been slowly but surely weaning itself off them for decades but to finally eradicate them will probably take another generation.
Reliable metrics are no easy thing to solve and this not only applies to PR, as long established concepts like gross domestic product (GDP) are still being hotly debated for their validity. However, it is a testament to how credible the industry wants to be taken that its governing bodies, such as the CIPR, are seeking to constantly evaluate measurement. However, education, no enforcement will deliver better results.read more