The most successful businesses use multiple channels to communicate with their target audience to spread the word effectively. Overall, those channels can be categorized into paid, earned, owned, and shared media. As per the PESO model, each of these categories has its importance and can be leveraged in certain situations, thus contributing to a balanced communications strategy. 

In this blog, we’ll cover the ins and outs of having an overview of all your media channels, as well as walk you through the exact steps you need to take to track and measure your paid, earned, and owned media. 

The right way to measure your media channels

To segue our way into the abovementioned PESO model, it’s important to explain a few key terms and concepts.

The AVE metric

If you’re not familiar with the AVE metric, first of all – good for you. For context, the Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE) is defined as the cost of buying the space taken up by a particular article, had the article been an advertisement. For instance, using AVE as a metric, one could say:

“We have secured coverage with an AVE of $5m, on a budget of $5,000.”

And while it is an easy way to show how much value one can get from PR, especially for those not familiar with marketing and media, AVE is not a precise measurement by any means. It is a rough estimate, at best. Hence its somewhat notorious reputation among the PR professionals.

Interestingly, as per the ICO 2020 World PR Report, 2020 was the year that marked the first time that a majority of respondents said they do not ever use AVEs. Furthermore, out of those that still do, 75% explained that it is at the request of their clients. 

The Barcelona principles

As a response to the continued use of the infamous AVE metric despite its questionable effectiveness, the PR industry came together and established the Barcelona principles. It is a set of seven voluntary guidelines for measuring the efficiency of PR campaigns. 

  1. Setting goals is an absolute prerequisite to communications planning, measurement, and evaluation.
  2. Measurement and evaluation should identify outputs, outcomes, and potential impact.
  3. Outcomes and impact should be identified for stakeholders, society, and the organization.
  4. Communication measurement and evaluation should include both qualitative and quantitative analysis.
  5. AVEs are not the value of communication.
  6. Holistic communication measurement and evaluation includes all relevant online and offline channels.
  7. Communication measurement and evaluation are rooted in integrity and transparency to drive learning and insights.

The Integrated Evaluation Framework

To show how to ‘operationalize’ the Barcelona Principles, turn them into action and prove the value of one’s work, the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) created the Integrated Evaluation Framework.

It provides a consistent and credible approach that works for organizations of all sizes but can be tailored to very specific user cases and objectives. Here’s what it looks like:

As you can see, the proposed, client-centric framework is segmented into three stages, each with its elements that cover the most important aspects of a PR campaign. In order not to delve too deeply into this topic, we’ll focus on the Outputs section that covers core measures across the PESO model.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Integrated Evaluation Framework, check out AMEC’s resource center

The PESO model

As mentioned above, PESO stands for Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned media. Developed by Gini Dietrich of Spin Sucks, the PESO model presents a strategy designed to deliver integrated marketing programs, extend reach, and establish brands as leaders within their industry. 

Why Communicators Must (Finally) Embrace the PESO Model Spin Sucks
Source

As Dietrich herself elaborates in a Wadds Inc. article;

“For far too long, PR has been synonymous with media relations when, in fact, that is just one tactic in our wide and ever-evolving toolbox. The PESO model allows communicators to own each of the four media types – and to start properly communicate from a prospective customer’s very first touch.”

Gini Dietrich

The integrated communications approach considers numerous aspects of each media type, as visible from the graphic below. The reason for this is that PESO enhances the strengths and weaknesses of media types. 

As is visible from the table above, each media type can be leveraged according to the level of trust, scale, cost, and predictability. Combining the strengths and weaknesses of each media type allows for a more successful communications strategy.

Stephen Waddington of Wadds Inc. further explained:

“Where one media format leads in its area of strength such as paid for scale, earned for trust or owned for predictability; it can be combined with others to optimize its effectiveness and value.”

Stephen Waddington

So, for the real focus of this blog, how would you track each of these? Let’s see how Mediatoolkit can help.

Tracking Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned Media

As is visible from the PESO model visual above, paid media incorporates the likes of:

  • Social media ads
  • Boosted content
  • Sponsored content
  • Lead generation
  • Paid publishing.

Due to the sheer nature of paid media, it’s hard to track and measure it in a way that would be viable with other types of media. Being triggered by a certain keyword, audience, or goal, makes it difficult for tools aside from the native paid advertising platform’s analytics to detect paid ads or boosted content, for example.

In that case, you should turn to the platform you are advertising on, such as Google Ads, Bing Ads, or various social media to check the performance of your campaigns via integrated analytics. Additionally, Google Analytics is a great tool for tracking traffic driven by your paid campaigns and its implications in terms of lead generation or sales revenue. 

Photo by Stephen Phillips – Hostreviews.co.uk on Unsplash

As for other forms of paid media such as native advertising, sponsorships, or influencer collaborations, the simplest and most effective way to track them is by using a media monitoring tool.

These tools do all the work for you since the tracking and measuring is completely automated, and comes with an abundance of benefits as well. You could track the title of your native article, for instance, to monitor and measure its performance. Depending on what your paid advertising strategy is, you could easily adjust your media monitoring accordingly.

#2 Tracking earned media

Earned media is what you would traditionally refer to as publicity or media relations. As Dietrich puts it, earned media got its name because you garner results from your relationships with influencers, journalists, and bloggers. If your PR efforts are successful, likely, the word-of-mouth mentions of your brand will naturally start to spread across numerous outlets, be it news, publications, blogs, review sites, etc.

To track earned media, it’s important to establish the most relevant keywords. These could include: 

  • your brand in general (and common misspellings), 
  • your products or services, 
  • key people and employees, 
  • hashtags, 
  • campaigns,
  • press releases.

Depending on the scope of your work and your industry, you could fine-tune your keywords so they truly reflect the PR efforts that you wish to track. The key is having the option to filter out those sources that would fall into your owned media category, such as your website, blog, social media channels, and more.

Let’s demonstrate this with an example. At Mediatoolkit, we would track our earned media by monitoring ‘Mediatoolkit’, and then further specifying the sources so they exclude our Facebook Pages, Twitter profile, Instagram profile, YouTube account, as well as our website and blog. That way, we would ensure that we monitor only those mentions created by a third party.

The goal of tracking earned media is to build relationships with industry bloggers, journalists, and other influencers who may share your content. Here is where Mediatoolkit’s influencer dashboard comes into play. With any query you track, you’ll get an insight into top influencers sorted by the number of mentions, reach, sentiment, and source. That way you can easily identify who may want to share your content and help boost your PR efforts. 

#3 Tracking shared media

Situated between owned and earned media, shared media differentiates itself because of the interactive aspect of social media. It is open to both the brand and its audience in the sense that it encompasses any user-generated content or social media posts that are relevant to your brand and are most often the result of your brand communications, but that cannot be controlled as owned media can. 

The said posts have a major impact on your brand reputation. They usually come in the form of comments under your brand’s posts, online discussions, and other relevant social media posts. And while earned media focuses on journalists, bloggers, and news outlets, shared media is more oriented towards your current and future followers.

In terms of tracking shared media, you could focus on monitoring your brand name, campaigns, or any other relevant terms across social media. As much as 96% of untagged brand mentions get ignored by the brand itself, and the majority of online conversations relevant to a brand happen outside its official social media. Hence the importance of staying on top of the vast social media landscape. 

The aforementioned influencer dashboard has a major role in the performance of your shared media as well. It also features users that can be turned into brand ambassadors, so keep an eye out for those that are the most engaged with your brand. 

#4 Tracking owned media

As opposed to tracking earned media by excluding your social media and website, the latter are the only channels you’ll want to include when it comes to owned media. 

In practice, this means that you would need to monitor specific Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other owned social media channels, as well as your website. Continuing with our example of Mediatoolkit, you can see what such a query setup would look like in the image below. 

You could once again combine media intelligence with data analytics from a platform such as Google Analytics to delve deeper into the source of online buzz and connect the dots when dealing with data spikes. 

Most often you’ll find a connection between the two. If there’s an unexplainable increase in traffic to your website, check your media reports to see if your brand has been more talked about than usual. In cases where this increase is significant, Mediatoolkit will automatically send a Spike alert to notify you of a potential virality, either positive or negative. 

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How to track and measure data spikes across marketing channels

Benchmarking media channels

Another great thing about tracking all of your media types is that, other than having an insight into their performance, you can also benchmark them to get the full picture. 

To do so, check out Mediatoolkit’s Competitive analysis dashboard. Here is where you can compare two or more queries to see how they stand against each other. You can download an example of our Competitive analysis report below to see all the data it contains.  

Knowing how various media channels perform in comparison to each other will help you learn which channels you need to focus on more. Or, if your strategy is to strengthen your presence on specific channels, you’ll know if you’re on the right path.

We highly suggest tracking all of your competitors’ media channels. You could set up tracking your competitor’s media channels following the principles discussed in tracking earned and owned media to compare how you stand against them

As a result, you will start learning the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and come up with ideas to optimize your strategy. That way, the ideas for optimizing your strategy will be at your fingertips, ready for implementation. 

To summarize

Branching out and using various media outlets has numerous advantages. Not only can you thus reach a wider audience, but you can also do it more effectively, leveraging the pros and cons of each media outlet.

In doing so, keeping track of the performance of paid, earned, shared, and owned media is crucial to the success of your strategy. That’s why it’s so important to monitor and measure each outlet, as well as your competitors. As Peter Drucker said, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”. 

Should you ever need help with measuring and improving your media channels, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’ll be more than happy to help you get the most out of media monitoring by setting up your account for maximum results and continuously supporting you on your business journey. Our Customer Success team is merely one click away from you and the best possible solution for you, your clients, and your business, so don’t be a stranger, drop us a line anytime! 

And if you’re not a Mediatoolkit user yet, what are you waiting for?


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