How to calculate Earned Media Value (EMV)

There is quite a lot of talk lately about how to calculate the Earned Media Value (EMV) of a campaign, so I thought I would take a stab at it myself as its becoming quite an important area of focus especially when brands embark on any socially lead campaign strategy.

So what is EMV exactly?

Well, EMV refers to the R / $ / £  (or whatever your preferred currency is) for “endorsements” earned across social media channels.

While there is no perfect formula the one I work with is this:


Examples of brand endorsements are things like:

  • Facebook likes (brand page and content)
  • Facebook shares
  • YouTube video views
  • YouTube comments
  • Twitter followers
  • Twitter retweets
  • Twitter @mentions
  • Pinterest pins
  • LinkedIn followers
  • LinkedIn shares
  • Blog posts
  • Email shares
  • And many others

The ones to work with depend on the whether they are important in the context of where the brand or business is playing on social networks. So why are these endorsements or user actions important?

My take on it is that they are indicative of the brand value (equity) that is created as a result of a socially lead engagement strategy.

Now, in order to calculate the value of a brand endorsement, I typically do one of the following two things:

1) Use EMV benchmarking studies

These are typically published by the likes of Digg, Media Bistro, Chomp On, Mashable etc. These benchmarks will look at the average value that is being assigned to endorsement across industry verticals. However, as they are not absolutely indicative of EMV for a specific business, these numbers are best worked with if you need to establish quick metrics in order to calculate the performance of a campaign.

According to the latest set of benchmarks I have available (Q1 2014) a few are listed below:

  • Facebook likes (brand page) = R111
  • Facebook likes / shares posts  = R16
  • YouTube video views = R3,80
  • Twitter followers = R22
  • Twitter retweets = R50
  • LinkedIn followers = R40
  • Blog posts = R8,530
  • Email shares = R20

2) Establish your own brand endorsement values

I must caveat this particular approach because there really isn’t a world wide standard or methodology to follow. What I’m suggesting is a set of guidelines and principles which should help brands improve the way that they calculate EMV in the specific context of a business.

So let me start by saying this – it’s important to remember that social media’s main point of leverage is that it enables the brand to influence the consumer to take a desired action – that action then, needs to be quantified according to its ability to influence a user to meet and or exceed the propensity to achieve a business objective e.g. buy a product.

In other words, in order to calculate EMV, the brand or business needs to establish what it is prepared to pay in order to achieve an objective using social media networks.

It all boils down to one business driver and that is cost… and only the brand can decide this.

Sally’s cakes EMV model

From my experience, marketing objectives set by clients, typically fall into one of the following three categories:

  1. Awareness
  2. Engagement
  3. Advocacy

Now when it comes to EMV, everything has to tie back to an objective that is set by the brand.

To illustrate this we need to look at each social network and in the context of an objective, so assuming Sally’s cakes wants to maximise awareness, let’s now work with Twitter and the following two endorsements: Retweets and followers

Given the fact that we want awareness, retweets are more valuable than a new follower because our message (content) is being distributed to an entirely new audience (a new follower is an individual and not a sub-network within the twitter ecosystem).

However, if our objective was relevant to maximise engagement – the follower would be more valuable because we have the means to communicate with that person in the future.

And so, the value models would change according to the objective set by Sally cake’s.

Cracking Sally’s cakes EMV numbers (twitter)

Working with a communications objective is probably the most common focus given the fact that most marketing managers feel that social media is about relationship building.

In this particular instance, we need to ask the following question:

What would Sally cakes be prepared to pay in order to communicate to a new customer on Twitter? 

If that value is R30 then and our campaign via retweets generates 1,000 new followers then our earned media value = R30,000.

This same approach could be used to work out the EMV across other networks in the context of various business objectives e.g. email.

If email as a marketing channel typically converts best, then what would the brand be prepared to pay in order to acquire a new opt-in email address? If that value is R10 and from a mail shot of 10,000 emails 1,000 get shared then the EMV from the email campaign would be R10,000

How do you calculate EMV for your brand?



One Response to How to calculate Earned Media Value (EMV)

  1. Alf August 20, 2015 at 6:38 am #

    How do you calculate Estimated Media Value on YouTube ? by having Estimated : Views,Impressions,CPM rate on an average

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