A new standard for the measurement and evaluation of public relations has been launched by Crescendo Consulting . “The Public Relations Search Value” (PRSV) is based on the position of PR-related activity in search results for any given search term. Combining this with freely available search volumes and auction bid prices enables both the audience reach and open market value of PR-related activity to be determined. (The auction bid value is the price businesses bid to appear on pages associated with a search term through a search engine such as Google. Mark Westaby, Director of Crescendo Consulting says "these prices are publicly and freely available for different languages in any country for any search term, so they're global and completely transparent."
Explaining the PRSV, Westaby, says: “Consumer search plays far and away the biggest role in consumer decision-making. Whether looking for a job, choosing a holiday destination or making a purchase, over 90% of people turn to search. Public relations plays a key role in determining content that consumers see in search results and this is what we can capture through the PRSV.
“Consumer search behaviour is universal, which means, first, that the PRSV can be used globally; and, second, that direct comparisons can be made between results regardless of geographical location or language. In addition, because the PRSV is a financial value and not restricted to media coverage – search results can include a range of activities such as events, sponsorships and social media – it allows the ROI from PR activity to be determined transparently and robustly”.
Although Crescendo is offering PRSV analysis to clients, the company is making the methodology open source, with details published on its website. Westaby continues: “For any standard to be effective it has to be open to everybody and that’s exactly what we are doing with the PRSV”.
Crescendo also believes the PRSV will create major new opportunities for the PR industry, with huge potential for additional revenue for PR agencies and increased budgets for in-house departments. Search engine algorithms are now so sophisticated that it is the quality of content that drives results, meaning search is no longer the bastion of SEO (search engine optimisation). This creates significant new opportunities for the PR industry, with potentially more people reading articles through Google search results than directly through the media themselves; and the numbers involved can be very large, with millions of people getting information on brands and corporations through search results on a daily basis.
Crescendo emphasises that while the PRSV is based on monetary value it does not suffer from problems associated with AVEs (advertising value equivalents). Westaby says: “The fundamental problem with AVEs is not that they apply a value but how that value is arrived at.
“PR results are intangible assets and like any other intangible asset they have a value. The beauty of PRSVs is that they enable such assets to be valued. PRSVs are transparent, replicable and based on open market forces; and we can foresee a time when they might even be included on a balance sheet like any other asset”.
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