Metric Formerly Known as AVE

Debate continues even among / within occasionally non-homogenous IPR Measurement Commission membership (plenty of intelectual depth here…many are mentors-from-afar without even knowing it, thanks).

Earlier this week select IPR measurement commission members (including Ph.D. heavyweight Brad Rawlins) published a controversial (but I think somewhat valuable) paper.

Essentially, it argues, as commission member Angie Jeffreys of VMS has for a decade (I’ve partially supported her perspective in my blog posts) that:

1. AVE as we have come to know it and (mis)use it is, indeed, wrong
2. but, that known as something else, properly explained and cautioned, used differently as a). a relative proxy over time, and not a one-time absolute $, and b). correlated (no causality here) with business outcomes (rather than simple clip counts and impressions) it–now called Weighted Media Cost–along with tone, does appear to correlate more strongly.

The very visible and vocal KD Paine takes much issue with the Weighted Media Cost paper. While she’s not wrong on many points, I think she’s unfairly criticised the Weighted Media Cost approach for trying to be something it hasn’t claimed to be.  Yes, we all get that PR is more than driving sales.   Thank god.  Yes, we get that engagement and influence (I’m almost sick of hearing those terms) are generated by so much more than traditional, static media coverage.  We know.  We get it.   

Bottom line:

1. AVE–bad. Wrong.  No arguement there. 
2. Weighted Media Cost: not all bad / some value in some cases if properly articulated and if understood to be only what it is.    It’s only what KD Paine calls a Zombie metric if it’s positioned / used as something it’s not. 

So, let’s pause, take a deep breath and give this paper a read with an open, nuanced, grey not-so-black and white mind.   We need to get out of our own way, sometimes.


One response to “Metric Formerly Known as AVE

  1. Alan – very nicely written and I thank you. Yes, using Weighted Media Cost as an absolute value, as we did in the ‘old days’ with AVE, WOULD be a zombie metric. No arguement there. But the whole point, as you’ve so nicely written, is that as a comparative metric, it correlates very well with outtakes and outcomes – which are much more than just sales! It correlates with survey scores, with website hits, with leads, with whatever your objective might be for your outcome … at least in comparison to impressions and story counts, which are apparently alright to use. I don’t know about you, but I’m after whatever score helps me relate my client’s work to their goals, no matter how unpopular a data point may be. ;o)

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