Why Earned Media Values for PR in the Digital Age is Broken

By August 2, 2017Digital PR

Here’s one thing I’ve never understood — how monitoring companies give monetary values to brand exposure on websites, blogs, or influencers. They are grossly underpriced compared to traditional media because of how “media values” are calculated. Right now monitoring companies and PR basically just get the advertising value equivalent of the exposure and multiple it by 3 (why 3? I have no idea). For example: if a half-page print ad costs Php200,000 and your press release gets picked up and gets that amount of space for the write-up, it’s valued at Php600,000 (Php200,000 advertising value equivalent x 3).

This is why one guesting on an TV show, half page article on print, or radio guesting skyrockets the earned media values of press coverage reports. I’m sure that you guys have already seen this in a report already: a bunch of bloggers and influencers add up to hundreds of thousands in peso value but one TV guesting on a cable news channel show gives you millions in earned media values. Something is wrong with this picture.

Traditional Media Outlets Are Going Digital

How can digital be so grossly underpriced when traditional media outlets are scrambling to go digital? Everyone is trying to crack it: TV networks, newspapers, radio stations, and magazines. They’re doing it because they can see the shift of audiences and digital, as a medium, gives rich analytics that don’t need surveys to validate or extended amplifier metrics like “pass-on readership” to justify.

Even mainstream celebrities have caught on. Several have already made the move to digital and started working on their YouTube channels.

It’s weird that the hot ticket item, in this case digital, is the most undervalued in terms of “media values”.

We Need a Different Way to Effectively Measure Digital PR

A totally different medium calls for different measurements

It’s my contention that Earned Media Value shouldn’t be the metric for measurement when it comes to Digital PR not just because it doesn’t capture the correct valuation but because it limits what digital can do for the brand. Treating it just like traditional PR on print, magazines, or TV doesn’t push digital to it’s maximum capabilities. Digital is a medium that cuts across the entire marketing and sales funnel from awareness down to conversion. If that’s the case then shouldn’t we plan and measure it for that purpose?

For Marketing PR, Go Back to Reach and Revenue

If you PR is more to push products, we suggest that you just drop earned media values because they’re more of a vanity metric than anything. Instead measure the metrics that matter to your campaigns — reach, conversion, and revenue. The only hard thing to measure here is reach because it will entail either getting the data from the publishers (but you can build that in the contract) or have them install a third-party tracking codes on their websites.

I would personally recommend tracking conversion. Trade Marketing 2.0 compliments Digital PR very well.You can drive the traffic given by the various digital publications and influencers to your store-in-store in Lazada or your own e-commerce website. That way you can measure real effectiveness and genuine ROI. You can do affiliate links and codes or use special landing pages and track sales delivered to you by the various publications and influencers. You can even opt for a revenue share model so that it’s a win-win scenario.

If You Want Reach, Go with Advertising

If you want to focus more on reach and awareness, there’s no escaping advertising on digital. There’s no reason not to because it’s still grossly underpriced, especially Facebook advertising. Have a publisher or creator work on content for you and then amplify the reach to your desired levels using Facebook Advertising. We wrote more about this topic in this post: How to Maximize Low – Medium Traffic Bloggers.

The power of digital is unlocked when paid, earned, and owned media seamlessly blend together to push your brand message forward. Maximize all the weapons you have at your disposal  and measure the right metrics that matter to your business.

This post is part of a series of articles on “Digital PR in the Philippines”. Here’s the complete set:

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Carlo Ople

Author Carlo Ople

Founder and writer of Unlocked.ph and for full disclosure I'm also the Vice-President for Digital Marketing Strategy of PLDT/Smart, the largest telco in the Philippines. Prior to this I co-founded a digital advertising agency (DM9 Digit) which we sold to Dentsu, the largest single branded agency in the world. I also co-founded one of the biggest tech websites in the country, Unbox (unbox.ph). Views do not represent PLDT/Smart and are purely my own.

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