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Multipliers and Advertising Value Equivalency

Jeffries-Fox, Bruce. Advertising Value Equivalency, Institute for Public Relations, 2003.

Many people are attracted to advertising value equivalency (AVE) because it appears able to put a dollar value on media coverage and, by extension, allow media relations people to compare their results with advertising. Yet the measure has a number of problems and it is important for anyone considering its use to consider both its strengths and its weaknesses. Jeffries-Fox provides answers to communications professionals whose bosses or clients demand they use AVE, and suggests other ways to show the value of media relations.

Weiner, Mark, and Don Bartholomew. Dispelling the Myth of PR Multipliers and Other Inflationary Audience Measures, Institute for Public Relations, 2008. 

Generally rationalized by users to take into account pass-along circulation and/or to assign a higher value to editorial impressions than advertising impressions due to a perceived higher level of credibility, multipliers are often used by public relations professionals to factor circulation or audience figures when calculating impressions. Weiner and Bartholomew argue that the facts do not support the use of multipliers, and that their use may actually hurt the credibility of the profession.

Adams, Bill. My Firm Wants to Measure Our Publicity Results, But We Hear Conflicting Reports About the Value of Content vs. the Number of Clips. How Can We Best Give Our Clients Some Kind of Dollar Value Analysis of Placement Success? Public Relations Tactics, May 1998.

In this Ask the Professor column, Adams notes that publicity and clips should be part of a more complete communications strategy. Public relations objectives should link to business objectives, and public relations programs help your organization achieve its goals.

Heffler, Maggi, and G. Blane Withers. Advertising Equivalency (AVE), Public Relations Tactics, May 1997.

Comparing advertising to public relations is like comparing apples to oranges, but evaluations for the return on investment of advertising programs will continue to be applied to public relations as well. Heffler and Wither share others advice on avoiding the advertising equivalency trap.

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