Interview: Weighted Media Cost (WMC) als Alternative zum Werbeäquivalenzwert?

By: Simon Plate / 04.06.10

Angela Jeffrey

Noch immer wird das Konzept des Werbeäquivalenzwerts (engl. AVE) kontrovers diskutiert, vor allem in den USA. Im Januar dieses Jahres veröffentlichte die Commission on Public Relations Measurement and Evaluation des Institute for Public Relations hierzu neue Ideen. Ein Diskussionspapier von Angela Jeffrey, Bruce Jeffries-Fox und Brad L. Rawlins fasst die Mängel des alten AVE-Konzepts zusammen und führt die neue Kennzahl „Weighted Media Cost“ (WMC) ein (wir berichteten). Jetzt hat mit Angela Jeffrey über das neue Konzept sowie Reaktionen aus der Praxis und Wissenschaft gesprochen. Lesen Sie hier das Interview (in Englisch). Ms. Jeffrey, could you please explain the main difference between the new concept of Weighted Media Cost (WMC) and the well-known Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE)?

Angela Jeffrey: There's a huge difference between WMC and old-fashioned AVE. The only thing that is similar is we are still translating the space/time occupied by a client in a story to a media cost figure (notice I said "cost," and not "value"). But that's where the similarities stop. In the practice of AVE, the resulting dollar figure was used as a means of equating the story to advertising in terms of value and impact, and as an “outcome” result of a campaign. Neither “paradigm” applies to WMC. Weighted Media Cost views the media cost data as a market proxy for the cost of the medium itself, which is driven by open market forces. Media that are “perceived as delivering a desired outcome” are charged at higher rates than less impactful options. To get an accurate measure of applicable time and space, one has to measure carefully the actual amount of the story owned by the client versus competitors, and only that amount is factored into the calculation. Then, the cost must be refined by tone (at a minimum), complete with negative costs utilized if so warranted. Additional qualitative refinements make the data more accurate. Finally, the resulting figure – which can be used without dollar signs – is used as an index score against which to measure overall coverage against time, objectives or competitors. Extensive research has shown that using Clip Counts or Audience Impressions – even when refined qualitatively – do not compare to the correlation one can get BETWEEN outputs and outcomes when using the WMC formula. Bottom line, WMC is simply a data point in a more complex algorithm that takes into account market demand for the medium itself. There is no better way to simulate the impact of media coverage on outcomes. One goal of the paper was to suggest this paradigm shift to PRSA, IABC, AMEC and other key groups within the industry. Have there been any reactions until now? And how did single practitioners, consultants and academics comment on your paper?

Angela Jeffrey: The paper has been received with mixed reviews, as would be expected of such a controversial topic. Those that hate the very idea of AVE do not seem to have read the full study, but determined from the title itself that the concept was just AVE in sheep’s clothing. Others who have read the study and understand the paradigm shift have received it with applause, and have hoped it might be an answer to the need for using some comparison to currency while not falling into the trap of comparing the disciplines of advertising and public relations directly. The paper certainly kicked-off a firestorm of blog activity, again, mixed in opinion, but definitely high on emotion! Do you already know about research and analysis companies adopting the WMC method as a replacement for the AVE scoring, which is well known by their clients?

Angela Jeffrey: Several major agencies have welcomed this concept, and have helped contribute to a document that will be presented for discussion at the upcoming AMEC meeting in Barcelona mid-June. I believe some of those agencies are indeed adopting the practice – especially with clients who are currently utilizing AVE and need to be shifted into an improved metric. I’ve received letters from others who attended a speech I gave this spring who were fascinated by the concept, and wanted more help understanding how to calculate the data effectively. Many of our own clients use our proprietary VMS Media Prominence Index, which utilizes WMC as a base and adds additional secret sauce to the recipe, and who find the correlations that are possible to business outcomes to meet a much deeper need in reporting to their C-suites. In your opinion, what will be the most important future challenges in the field of public relations evaluation and research in general? Is it still about press and media relations, or will we have to shift our attention to processes and indicators for corporate media, offline and online, and live communication settings?

Angela Jeffrey: I really think the biggest challenge we all face in public relations evaluation and research now needs to focus on how to integrate the measurement of online and word-of-mouth communication with traditional media. There are many solutions out there for the collection and categorization of social media content, but the available metrics don’t appear to improve correlation to outcomes. Thank you for the interview!

Über Angela Jeffrey

Angela Jeffrey ist Vice President Integrated Media Intelligence bei VMS, einer großen Media Intelligence-Agentur in den USA. Bei VMS berät Angela Jeffrey zahlreiche Kundenbei der Entwicklung von Mess- und Evaluationsmöglichkeiten für die Unternehmenskommunikation. Außerdem veröffentlicht sie zum Thema PR-Measurement/Evaluation und gibt Seminare zum Thema.

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