Today, I was asked a question about whether it was possible to assign an AVE value to coverage on the internet, given that if you buy space on a decent site, then you’re paying for space and rotation, so it’s rather more – well – dimensional than ads in print or via broadcast. It’s not to say it can’t be done – in fact I think it can, and I’m sure there are people doing it quite effectively – but the point is that it got me thinking about the whole concept of AVE and that, I’m afraid, made me quite cross.
AVE’s not just unreliable, it actually belittles the effect of actively-generated editorial, communicating brand or corporate messages. Editorial coverage cannot be compared to advertising – they are chalk and cheese, apples and oranges etc etc. But, sadly, somehow clients get all warm and runny inside when they see the magic AVE figure – I blame the communications industry – if the clients actually understood what corporate communications does and delivers, they’d see AVE for the rank nonsense that it is.
Sorry Metrica and all the others making vast amounts of money out of evaluation (and telling me that my last quarter’s coverage was 95% positive – what? On what basis? How? Who?) – it’s horse droppings. No matter how cleverly you use it, it’s still horse droppings. The results of corporate communications activity – in the media at least – have to be measured against business benefit – so that’s an uplift in sales, or a properly measured and surveyed change in audience opinion. And that’s expensive.
But no more expensive than paying an agency to produce some lovely graphs that mean nothing.
As an aside, in four days time I shall present, to a global audience, the results of Corporate Relations activity over the company’s last reported quarter. In terms of positivity of coverage (95%), number of pieces of coverage (vs the quarter before) and AVE.
The sheer grubbiness of it makes me want to have a shower.