The CIPR have announced that they plan to make members “liable to disciplinary action”! If they use the advertising value equivalent (AVE) metric to measure the effectiveness of PR campaigns.

I am shocked that so many are expressing concerns about this. Personally, I am over the moon at this news!

Using AVEs in PR is unprofessional and a false metric. Okay, threatening “disciplinary action” is a little harsh and a tad overboard, but anything that stops the PR industry using this unhelpful and damaging evaluation technique is going to get the thumbs up from me.

I am interested to see the guidance from the CIPR on how they will now be driving our industry forward in terms of new measurement advice. It’s fine to outlaw this out-of-touch system but what have they suggested will replace them? Erm, that’s right nothing yet.

For anyone that’s still using AVEs, check out the Barcelona Principles on PR evaluation. They’re pretty clear on AVEs and on how communications evaluation can be done.

The principle of the valid metrics guidelines is that PR evaluation should be about measuring outcome – what happens as a result of PR – rather than output.

We need to use a range of measures depending on the purpose of the PR activity. There’s no single measure that works across all PR activity – the aims of communications activities are too diverse for that.

If a client still requests the dreaded AVE figure, just say ‘no’! It is our job as PR professionals to educate and show them a more meaningful alternative. AVE figures provide a false picture and prove absolutely nothing, especially when it comes to social media and digital measurement.

We need to stand together on this and eradicate AVEs from our profession.