This all started with a Linked In discussion http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers&discussionID=13905943&gid=1877517&commentID=12015063&trk=view_disc about the appropriate metric for online and social media. In essence the initial query was a request to know what the new version of AVE and GRP was? Naturally, I argued the point that in an age where companies can measure engagement, interaction, sales leads and outcomes, there was no point in even asking that question.
Someone else answered that:
"A number of the UK monitoring providers use a fixed rate to calculate an AVE for offline and online/blogs" .
After I breathed into a paper bag for a while and got rid of my apoplexy over the use of completely made up numbers, I responded that I spend most of my days talking about "the new metric for social media" and NOT ONCE have AVEs or "impressions" or any other form of eyeball counting come up. In fact, when I ask people if they consider it, most people laugh. I added that today, measuring how many people saw your brand, matters less when you can measure what they did after they saw it. If P&G no long cares about how many eyeballs they reach, but what people DO -- i..e. the outcome -- after they've seen it, we have to rethink our definitions of measurement.
I then received this response:
For many PR agencies and PR representatives, the desired goals are not sale figures or new clients or something like it, but they are potential contacts with readers, share of voice, attention in the media and room they took "for free" with their communication actions (e.g. press release, event, ...). … do not forget PR, where the goal are the articles…
And that's when the lightbulb went off. The PR people who have the proverbial "seat at the table" are the ones who understand and can explain and demonstrate how their program impacts the organizational goals. The ones that sit around whining about why they don't get a seat at the table are the ones who think that getting "a hit" or an article or a blog post IS the goal. Until they bother to answer the question "why is an article important? and what bottom-line benefit does the effort have on the organization" they won't get, and do not deserve a seat at that proverbial table.