Standards for Measurement – Necessary or Not?

15 Mar Standards for Measurement – Necessary or Not?

Ah, PR Measurement – the subject pretty much everyone hates talking about. While at face value it doesn’t seem all that pain-inducing, the lack of a widely accepted standard leaves PR pros on all ends of the spectrum flummoxed when it comes to determining the best way to show value.

And while there is confusion over what industry standards should look like – there is just as much confusion over whether or not those standards should exist at all. In fact, a recent survey by Ragan/NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions found that 62% of respondents do not believe there should be one widely accepted standard because “PR programs vary and have unique goals.” Yet, at the same time 66% of survey responders cited that the lack of standards is the biggest problem with PR measurement – making it easy to see why there is so much confusion and disagreement around anything and everything that has to do with measurement.

It seems as though nothing will be figured out anytime soon either. While the Barcelona Principles were developed a few years back and accepted as the industry’s first real attempt to standardize PR measurement, the Ragan survey showed that 66% of respondents had never even heard of those principles. So chances are, even if other standards were put in place, it’s doubtful they would really catch on—seeing as so many PR pros don’t believe in having standards at all.

The one thing that is clear when it comes to measurement is that Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) is not at all relevant anymore. The Barcelona Principles ruled out AVE as a suitable form of measurement, and the industry seems to have followed suit—with only 35% of Ragan survey respondents stating that they still use this dated way of determining value.

So what do you think – are a common set of standard for measurement necessary? And if so, what should they entail?


Kathryn Kaplan
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