Intro to Memo Readership Value (MRV)

We started Memo out of the belief that traditional earned media measurement does not give it the credit it deserves. Everything we do is to help PR and communications professionals demonstrate value, measure real impact, and maximize efficiency through data.

It can be really challenging to prove ROI of PR and comms efforts. The much maligned methodologies behind Ad Value Equivalency (AVE) didn’t help the cause. But newly available, accurate data enables comms teams to rethink how we assign a dollar value to earned media. We created Memo Readership Value (MRV) for a more accurate calculation of real value.

MRV calculates the cost it would take through advertising channels to drive
the same amount of traffic to a piece of content as readers to a specific article.

Ad Value Equivalency (AVE) vs Memo Readership Value (MRV)

In the past, the PR industry relied on AVE to demonstrate ROI. AVE equates earned media coverage with the cost of buying similar media space through advertising. This worked relatively well in the print era where you measured ads in terms of space on a page. As media shifted towards digital, AVE failed to keep up. In the digital age, comparing media coverage to display ad prices creates an inaccurate and often over bloated view of the value of an article. What would it cost to place an ad in that publication? That’s AVE.

Here’s the issue. If someone clicks on an article, it’s likely getting more attention than a rectangular ad in a publication. We’ve been calculating AVE all wrong. The article isn’t the host. The article is like the landing page.

MRV treats each article like a landing page and calculates what it would cost to drive traffic to that page (article) via equivalent pay-per-click rates.

A more realistic approach.

Let’s take a hypothetical article with a glowing review of the latest Macbook. If Apple’s marketing team drove Google Search traffic to a page highlighting the laptop’s specs, they would pay about $3.86 per click on the Google Ads platform. If they drove traffic from Facebook, they’d pay about $1.97 per click. These cost-per-click (CPC) rates are determined by 1) the ad channel, 2) the brand’s industry, and 3) the target audience (it’s more expensive for a financial services company to reach CFOs on LinkedIn than for a mass apparel company to reach 18-54 year olds with website banner ads).

In addition to ad rates, we also know the total number of unique visitors to an article (what Memo reports as readership). And we know how those unique visitors discovered the article, e.g. through Google search, via email, through the publication’s website, etc. We assign each reader a channel-specific CPC rate based on how they found the article. The result: a calculation that translates your earned engagement into paid-media costs to finally demonstrate the tremendous value of PR.

Insights from MRV help fuel more data-driven PR

MRV is more than just a dollar value for your earned media – it can also fuel a more data-driven approach to your comms strategy. Over the course of a campaign, several months, or a year, MRV can tally up to millions of dollars and uncover macro-level insights that could inform your comms strategy long-term. For example, calculating MRV by coverage topics can help uncover the biggest needle-mover for your brand.

MRV doesn’t capture the full value of earned media, because it doesn’t account for time spent, the endorsement of a trusted third party publication, or the halo effect of great press. But it does provide comms pros with an accurate minimum value for earned media coverage and the insights you need to make strategic decisions for your brand.

Accurate data leads to better decisions.

Only Memo reports readership direct from publications.

Measure real impact with readership

Demonstrate the true value of PR

Maximize impact with a data-driven strategy

Don’t wait to get the MRV of your earned media

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