Evaluating the work we do in PR is as important to us as it is to our clients, but the traditional system of using AVE (advertising value equivalents) is widely agreed across the industry to be unsatisfactory.

AVE is calculated by looking at the cost of buying the space taken up by a particular article, had the article been an advertisement. Yet the reality is that editorial endorsement is not on a par with paid for advertisement and this ‘crude’ approach didn’t take account of the tone of each piece and content.

Ten years ago we decided to pioneer a new approach and developed a bespoke system called SMI (Wild Card Smart Media Index®). Now our principal media evaluation tool, it provides a numerical system for evaluating editorial coverage across traditional, online and social media, working on the basis of points and moving away from the traditional and often abused circulation/AVE processes. We don’t just look at the size of a piece of coverage – we consider its quality too – how many brand mentions, the presence of an image and whether it’s a key target publication for a brand.

Put simply – media results, across all platforms, are scored according to quality and the potential impact they can create.

Here’s a little more about our Wild Card Smart Media Index®:

  • A numerical system which encourages agency focus on key target media / programmes / key messages delivery / image inclusion / links and calls to action
  • Providing a benchmark for client assessment
  • It can be quickly absorbed and easily updated on a monthly basis
  • Complements qualitative assessment of messages

Agencies have to be fully accountable to KPIs, and SMI(Wild Card Smart Media Index®) is a fully traceable and transparent system that allows us to evaluate our PR campaigns and provide clients with that all important ROI data.

Georgie Upton - Divisional Director at Wild West Comms

Words: Georgie Upton

Director at Wild West Comms