Any discussion about communications measurement has necessarily been heated affairs because AVEs and PR Value have been adopted as the default global measurement standard for years.

This was a curious phenomenon because it’s a metric that doesn’t even make sense in the first place. AVEs arose because PR professionals wanted to be able to demonstrate success of their work and the only way they knew how was to quantify the output of what they do – media clips.

And then, to make it sound more valuable they used a multiplier for the amount of money you’d spend if you had to pay for that space. The reasoning is that editorial mentions are more valuable than advertising since it’s someone else saying good things about you. They called the base value Advertising Value Equivalent and the figure with the multiplier PR Value. But where did the multiplier come from? It was guesswork. (Read more about why PR Value is the wrong matric here.)

Many organizations and business practitioners, I believe, already realize this nonsense but most of them, unfortunately, have no choice but to continue using AVEs and PR Values to justify their spending in communications.

While it is understandable, even desirable for organizations to try to get a grip on whether their spending in communications is yielding results, counting media clips is just not the right measure to yield this result.

This is why AMEC’s measurement framework makes much sense, especially now when a lot of news coverage has moved online or through social media accounts. What AMEC does is to introduce the 3Os (Outputs, Outtakes, Outcome) to replace the AVEs and PR Values.

This framework allows you to measure both quantitative and qualitative sides of the communications activities, so organizations can even measure whether the communications activities are bringing a certain impact to the business.

ComponentDefinitionExamplesHow to Measure
OutputsSimply, what is put out that is received by your target audience as a result of communications effortQuantitative:
● number of attendance
● total news articles
● share of voice
● number of impressions or reach among target audiences
● number of social media posts
● inclusion of company spokespeople in articles/conversation
●  Cross-channel monitoring and analytics tools
OuttakesResponse and reactions of target audiences to the contents that are being put out, including what was their recall, how well understood is the topic, etc. Quantitative:
●  unique visitors
●  engagement with earned/owned/paid content across channels
●  sharing of earned/owned/paid content across channels
●  key messages penetration 

●  type of sentiment and/or emotional response from target audiences
●  tonality of third-party endorsements 
●  Cross-channel monitoring and analytics tools
●  Paid and web analytics tools
●  Human-led content analysis
●  Audience-survey based research/interview
OutcomeEffects that your communications have on target audiences such as changes in beliefs, attitudes and/or behaviors. It is the only metric that measures against the objectives. Quantitative:
● awareness / perception / attitude change
●  expected behavior change 

●  tonality of the changes
●  Audience-survey based research/interview
●  Human-led content analysis

The 3Os are more complex than AVE or PR Value, especially when you first start off, but it is able to comprehensively measure the result of your communications activities.

Think about this: At the end of the day, what exactly do you want from communications activities? Is it the number of media attending your event or the coverage you receive (outputs)? If you do this then you will be able to know how busy you are at pushing out information. Beyond this, however, output measures cannot tell you whether anyone read it, how they reacted to it and whether they responded to the information.

In communications, what’s important is measuring whether the communications activities have reached and engaged the target audiences (outtakes) and what the target audiences took away as a result (outcome). To put it simply, when we are talking about communications activities, there are only three types of objectives, which are changes in:

  • Awareness – Attention, comprehension, retention
  • Attitude – Interest, acceptance
  • Behavior – Opinion, action

The above objectives are parts of outcome, and measuring outputs and outtakes are parts of measuring the outcome. Adopting the 3Os is thus necessary. See the AMEC 3Os interactive framework here for your further reference.

As a strategic communications consultancy that is committed to create a difference for our clients, Maverick has adopted the AMEC 3Os since 2018. We have our own analyst team who are ready to help you measure the success of your communications activities, thus you can also justify whether our deliverables are able to create an impact for you.

Leave the measurement details with us, but to kick-off, prepare your organizations with four things here.

Written by Karen Kusnadi, Manager.