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PRCA says AVE has been ditched – Google suggests otherwise

Is the PRCA / PRWeek‘s 2017 survey on AVEs right – Google search data suggests its worrying results are still highly over optimistic. 

According to survey: in the UK, almost 25% of in-house PR teams and roughly a third of agencies are still using AVE as a method of PR evaluation. AVE has been widely discredited as being outdated and inaccurate way of measuring PR – and in no way justifies the money being spent on PR and the return it gives. 

Official sources say there are 83k people working in PR in the UK (226k in the US). So why are there only c.210 monthly searches (worldwide) for PR evaluation (source Google Adwords); and fewer than c.600 for PR measurement.

And why is the Google Trends data so limited that it can’t break it down at a country level?

Weekly searches for PR evaluation (worldwide) – erratic nature is textbook Google Trends example of low-search volumes. Over the past 12 months Google suggests just c.2500 searches have been made

There could, of course, be several reasons why people aren’t searching for ways to do PR evaluation. The most logical ones are:

  1. everyone understands measurement so well they don’t need to look up on Google? 
  2. they surveyed only large agencies where information is shared and didn’t talk to small / one-man bands?
  3. we in the industry have an incentive to lie on such surveys, even if they are anonymous. 

I know which I suspect, and it’s not the first two.

I’m not sure how many of us are actually using AMEC best practice to treat PR as a social science experiment that can be measured and refined to improve the campaign – but assuming the Google search data is correct (and it usually is) it’s more than a third of agencies who are still using AVE.

If you want to improve your measurement and evaluation and demonstrate real return on investment to your clients (or CEO if you’re an in house team) then drop me a line.