Metrics are an essential component of any organization’s PR or digital marketing efforts. They are there to provide an overview and a benchmark for marketers to understand how their campaigns are performing and contributing to reaching certain business goals or boosting brand awareness across the target audience. Social media and influencer marketers are particularly interested in engagement metrics as they provide insights into brand sentiment and the returns on investment.
However, identifying the true value of engagement is a challenge. This is why marketers and PR professionals often rely on a more sophisticated metric – earned media value or EMV.
In this article, we’ll explain in detail what earned media value is, what it’s worth, how to calculate it, and what it should mean for your marketing strategy or PR campaigns in the future. When you’re finished reading, you will have a better understanding of the importance of EMV for your business and how you can use the data it provides to make better marketing and PR decisions.
What is Earned Media Value (EMV)
You can think of earned media as your online word of mouth. It’s content about your brand that is not created by the brand, it’s not paid media, and it doesn’t desire from your own media channels. Instead, it’s what organic micro-influencers or macro-influencers or other users across social media channels have to say about your products and services.
Influencer marketing is a big thing and a lot of companies are actively seeking ways to connect to influencers. Nearly 90% of companies believe that the return on investment from influencer marketing campaigns is either equal to or higher than other marketing channels. Yet 75% of brands share that identifying the right influencers is the toughest challenge for them.
Earned media value or EMV aims to support brands in valuating their social media and influencer marketing efforts. EMV represents the sum of all third-party mentions from social media, websites, press, forums, influencer marketing, referrals, blogs, and reviews. It’s the attention or brand recognition your business enjoys without spending any money on it.
Normally, marketing professionals will measure earned media value considering user-generated content or UGC and no money spent. PR experts and marketing specialists are now more than ever intrigued and encouraged to understand EMV as it allows them to make the right decisions and invest strategically in sponsored ads and influencer marketing.
What is EMV Worth?
The worth of EMV would vary across every business as it’s dependent on your individual brand marketing objectives and goals. It’s advisable to explore every avenue to find an efficient approach to establishing earned media value for your business as it’s extremely helpful in allowing you to make the right choices when it comes to influencer marketing and can dramatically reduce your expenses.
A study from 2018 reveals that brands reached about $12 per $1 of earned media value. However, this can’t be used as a constant as it will be different for every business. For example, Chiquis Rivera earned Fashion Nova $14, 222 in EMV through 16 Instagram posts that were shared with 2 million followers.
There are a lot more examples to look at where billions or millions were earned by brands. Vans is another brand that became popular for making $13 million in EMV ROI by tracking owned accounts, accounts of athletes, media outlets, and fans. As a result, they also enjoyed a 90% growth across their social following.
On the other hand, there are other marketers that believe that EMV is significantly distorted and cannot be relied on for decision-making in marketing. Still, the majority of marketers today put a great emphasis on calculating EMV. Let’s see how you can do that.
How to Calculate Earned Media Value
When it comes to EMV, one of the first questions marketers have is how to calculate it. Before we dive into any explanations, it’s important to note that there isn’t one formula that all marketers agree on for calculating earned media value.
One of the most commonly used formulas for earned media value calculations that you can use is the following:
EMV = (Impressions) * (CPM) * (Adjustment Factor)
However, there are more.
- Based on non-paid impressions – non-paid impressions * CPM
- Based on organic & viral impressions – (organic & viral impressions over last 30 days * average CPM) * average customer lifetime value
- Based on customer touches – (% of customers with at least one touch on social media/average number of touches) * average customer lifetime value
- Based on reach and conversion – reached users * CPM by vertical * conversion factor
Generally speaking, in order to calculate earned media value, you’ll need to rely on the following factors:
- A reach metric like impressions: The reach metric doesn’t have to be related to how many social media users your message has reached. What’s truly important is whether the impression actually contributed and made a difference and how it has impacted the brand.
- A CPM or cost per thousand impressions: A CPM equivalent means that you’re making a comparison between one value and another, as earned media is certainly not the same as advertising and works in a completely different way.
- Another factor, chosen based on the specific case or individual responsible for the conversion: There are doubts on whether the selected factors could lead to putting your pink glasses on and showing results that are more optimistic than the reality.
In the EMV formula we provided above, the one stable metric is the CPM or cost per 1,000, which is popular in PPC advertising. There are speculations that impressions are not a stable metric and that the adjustment factors used can also lead to uncertainties and unreliability although they do offer a level of flexibility. However, it’s important to note that brands that can successfully establish accurate impressions and industry adjustment factors enjoy outstanding accuracy when calculating earned media value.
Keep in mind that there isn’t one single way to look at EMV. For instance, you could use metrics like reach and conversion, non-paid impressions, organic and viral impressions, and customer touches. You can also use additional alternatives in your measurement strategy like engagement, sentiment, share of voice, and more.
To put things into perspective, let’s look at a real-life case study example.
$5 per 1,000 followers * 150,000 followers = $750
Sure, calculating EMV could be quite confusing and daunting. However, in order to establish which formula works best for your brand to provide reliable information and support for making marketing decisions, it’s essential to be fully aware of your goals and objectives.
Taking Action from Earned Media Value
Great, we’ve covered what EMV is and how you can calculate it. But then what?
How can earned media value be used by PR professionals to help make better marketing decisions and guarantee better results for your brand?
For starters, you can use it to determine who your best-performing influencers are. Perhaps it’s worth strengthening your relationship with them and being more active and cut down costs across other marketing channels? You can use influencer accounts and separate posts to calculate EMV and can use the information provided to amend your marketing strategy.
You can also use top influencer posts from a campaign you’ve recently completed for repurposed content in advertising campaigns. After all, you are already aware of the fact that the created copy or image is successful across your target audience. Why not use it to its maximum potential instead of wasting time trying to create a new one?
Use earned media value strategically to benchmark how each post is impacting your target audience, how ambassadors, products, and certain campaigns are contributing to brand awareness and business success. Additionally, EMV can be used to compare yourself against competitors in your space. This could give you an idea of whether or not you are focusing on the right campaigns or the niche you’re in allows for even better results.
Using metrics to inform and compare your PR efforts and marketing campaigns is a vital part of success. EMV is among the most important PR metrics that professionals use to get an understanding of word-of-mouth about their brand or track engagement with social media content that has not been created by the company it refers to. At Covered Press, we’re here to help you get detailed reporting on key PR metrics like earned media value.
Our platform can help you develop an understanding of how your PR efforts are performing in detail and can help you tailor your strategy to improve results. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team, we’re happy to answer your questions and offer professional guidance. With years of experience in the market, we can help you put PR metrics to use and enjoy brilliant achievements for your brand or your clients.