The debate around the effectiveness of Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) for public relations (PR) practitioners is nothing new. More recently, concerns around automated analysis have also gained momentum with cynics arguing that neither of these components provide a suitable platform on which to gauge the success of PR activities.

In 2010, PR practitioners from more than 30 countries attended a summit in Barcelona, which resulted in the establishment of the Barcelona Principles – a set of voluntary guidelines to measure the efficacy of PR campaigns. For the uninitiated, the principles are as follows:

• Goal setting and measurement are important;
• Media measurement requires quantity and quality;
• AVE is not the value of public relations;
• Social media can and should be measured;
• Measuring outcomes is preferred to measuring media results (outputs);
• Organisational results and outcomes should be measured whenever possible; and
• Transparency and replicability are paramount to sound measurement.

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