Everything you need to know about earned media value

20 Aug 2021

Industry Insights
With more consumers shifting their purchasing decisions from traditional marketing to word-of-mouth recommendations, EMV has to be a priority. But first, what is it exactly?

Earned media value measures what your brand is worth by looking at all the content that is created about your brand. This includes copy from social media influencers, blogs, as well as the general public and other businesses.

Since this value is ‘earned,’ it means that this content is also not paid for and these conversations, comments and engagements happen organically — outside of the channels that your brand owns. No promoted content, Google Ads, paid partnerships or any content from your own social media accounts is included in EMV.

Why is calculating earned media valuable?

EMV shows marketers and public relations practitioners how successful their earned media is, ultimately aiming to put a monetarily value on these results. Brands want to know what their ROI is, right?

This number is also of particular interest to them and their brands because the higher the earned media value is, the higher lead generation and brand awareness also become. This is all because it has established meaningful connections with its audience.

If EMV is low, it shows marketers and PR pros that they need to improve on their strategies — mainly to improve brand image, voice or marketing decisions.

Brands need to understand what the impact of their choices and their image has on their business in the long term, and calculating media impact will allow them to invest accordingly.

How is EMV calculated?

Calculating your earned media value isn’t as simple as adding figures into an equation. You firstly need to find all the mentions, on all the media channels, and then determine their reach. That’s a mouthful!

But don’t stress, there are professional services that can help you out with this. But for now, let’s look at what a calculation like this would more or less look like:

First up are the variables
There is a collection of variables that need to be looked at to reach the most accurate result. They are the source of the mentions, the channel used and the engagement on those mentions.

The source can either be a person or a brand such as:
  • Social media influencers
  • Key opinion leaders
  • Publications, and
  • Retailers.
The channel used to communicate the mention can include:
  • Social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc)
  • Websites
  • Blogs, and
  • Traditional media (such as a radio personality talking about your product)
The engagement these mentions receive can be in the form of:
  • Comments
  • Reactions
  • Shares, and
  • Video views.
It’s important to know that not all engagements are equal. Watching an entire video for five minutes would have a higher impact than just clicking ‘Like’ on a Tweet.

Factors such as positive or negative sentiment will also influence the final outcome, so the equation needs to be adjusted accordingly.

Next, the equation
There is no “one right formula” to use. There are many different methods to use such as determining the value per comment, reaction, impression, click and share and multiplying that by your brand’s reach.

Another method would be total reach pm × average cost per paid media × average consumer lifetime.

Some people even take it a step further and factor in the conversion rates of leads. But how your brand uses earned media value will ultimately depend on the size and nature of your business, as well as your specific marketing strategy.

Marketers and PR pros know the needs of their brands and clients the best and should use the method that will suit them the best.

Remember, this calculation is a good guiding light, but should not be considered to be the be all and end all of measuring media impact.

There are many other factors that also influence this and, therefore, finding a reliable EMV metric among various other data points will give you the best result.

Now that you know about EMV, why not read about Why you should add Share of Voice to your digital strategy.