Matthew asks, “A client asked me to attach a dollar value to social media posts’ reach. How do you value posts? Is it just the cost of the post if you boosted it with ads?”
An old enemy returns from the grave – ad value equivalence (AVE). This is AVE in different clothing, but fundamentally the same thing. The problem with AVE is that it assumes the value of a piece of media is equal to its cost – the opportunity cost of putting something else in its place. This is patently untrue – the value of a piece of media is the business result it generates. Only attribution analysis, done properly, will yield that answer.
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What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.
In today’s episode, Matthew asks, a client asked me to attach $1 value to social media posts reach How do you value social media posts? Is it just the cost of the post? If you boost it with ads,
and old enemy returns from the grave, long time, PR professionals should be shaking their heads on this one. This is a concept called add value equivalence. Back in the old days when people still read paper newspapers in great numbers
the way that some public relations folks would value the story would be okay if you hear substituted the amount of space on the page that the story about your client took up with what it would cost of purchase that spaces and add that’s the value of the story. This is of course a stupid way evaluating.
Matthew’s question is add value equivalents in different clothing. It is saying, okay, the value of a social posts, the reach it gets, which is a proxy for attention is what it would cost to buy it.
The reason why add value equivalence is a bad measure of any form of media, old media, new media, social media doesn’t matter is that it assumes that the, the value of a piece of media is equivalent to its cost, the opportunity cost for the publication to put something else in that space. Now, in the early days of social media, we would say, of course, your space is infinite. But we know that’s not true. There’s unlimited number of ads slots available on a Facebook feed, or an Instagram feed compared to the number of advertisers. So that’s not it. What what’s wrong with this concept and it is a very old concept that just keeps coming up over and over again, is that it makes the assumption that value equals cost in that’s not true.
The value of a piece of media is the business result that it generates. So if you care about awareness, then yes, the you may want to use views or reach as a measure. If you care about engagement, people actually interacting with a piece of media that you’ve created. That’s a very different number, right? A million people have seen a post, but if no one commented on it,
did it ever have any actual impact? Think about how you use a mobile device, right? You’re sitting there just scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll.
Yes, that counts as a view even if the person can’t recall anything about your your company your brand
things like brand recall matter. A great deal more for measuring the effectiveness of a piece of media. Hey, you read this story or this Facebook post or this ad or this Instagram image about this coffee shop? Name a coffee shop and if the person who just read that story can’t remember the name of a coffee shop other than like y’all met
your story had no impact, your media had no impact. If you measure on things like lead, lead conversion on site traffic, physical brick and mortar, traffic, all of these are things that are business metrics that you want to be able to run attribution analysis to work back into, to say, Okay, this combination of, of channels and this combination of media and these combinations of days and times, and all the attributes that you use to gather information about your marketing program, all that mathematically will lead to a result
and you get to that by running is formally called attribution analysis and the mathematics behind it depending on which system you use
will dictate whether something is actually working or not, but simply swapping in the cost to reach people for the value of reaching people is the completely wrong way to do it.
Not a knock on Matthews question. Matthew is asking a question that his, his client is asking him,
the way to do it is with attribution analysis. Now, some forms of attribution are readily accessible. So if you were to go into Google Analytics, for example, assuming your goals and your goal values are set up correctly and valued properly,
there are attribution models the bottom of the conversions menu on the left hand side, and you can choose from five or six built in models. And you can go to the Google Analytics gallery and select more models. If you want to get even more sophisticated, you can put all of this stuff into a massive database and use machine learning and statistics and data science to extract out what your what your true attribution is. That requires a bit more background on statistics and mathematics of course, but it is a doable thing. It is something that people are able to do today it’s not something theoretical and then of course, for if you want to get really, really
Advanced there are separate products and services and companies, just dedicated attribution analysis. One of them that you’re probably will be most familiar with the Google attribution, which is part of the Google Analytics. The 60 sweet it is sticks, pens, a piece of software. But if you’re spending you’re trying to figure out where you want to spend your $80 million in, in TV, and ad and display and digital advertising and and what resources you want to hire for the cost per month of that software is probably quite reasonable. It’s just a fraction of a percent compared to 10s or hundreds of millions of dollars in media spend. So
can you substitute the value of a post for the cost of the post know what should you do instead, find an attribution method and model that works for your business that’s affordable and that will give you a much close to answer to what’s actually working. Great question Matthew. Difficult question I recommend
That, you know, if you don’t have a whole lot of gray in your in your hair, you may not have seen this particular beast crop up before in your career. But know that this has been something that has been debated for decades upon decades as a way of valuing media. And the general consensus among those folks who specialize in measurement is that it is probably the worst form of measurement.
I will say that if you have absolutely no other measurement
capability, and you have no other way of providing any kind of analytics, then you could use this as a last resort. But that would mean that the company itself has no understanding of its business goals or metrics and you should probably find a different company to work for because they’re doomed if they have no idea what their business goals are. They’re doomed once you know your company’s business goals. add value equivalence goes out the window.
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