Banning AVEs Won’t Work Without a Robust Alternative


When we carried out our survey of over 100 professionals’ views on the CIPR’s plan to ban AVEs we were surprised by just how vociferous many of them were.  Comments ranged from anger – “banning members from using AVEs and to threaten disciplinary action is ludicrous” to incredulity – “Don’t be ridiculous… banning AVEs would be precipitous and compromise the integrity of the industry bodies”.

One overriding theme came through, however, which was that if clients demand a way of placing value on PR results then the industry has to provide it.  Two years ago Crescendo took the decision to address this problem and began developing a robust and credible alternative to AVEs, which we’ve tested very successfully over the past 12 months.

The end result is the Public Relations Search Value, or PRSV, which addresses all of the problems associated with AVEs while delivering numerous additional benefits tailored to the 21st century digital age.  For example, as PR and SEO increasingly converge so it is becoming more and more important to track and measure the quality of websites where coverage and backlinks appear.


How Does PRSV Work?

One of the easiest ways to understand PRSV is to use a simple analogy.  As a starting point, think of the results page that appears when you carry out a Google search as an area of a city.  Let’s take Covent Garden, in London, as an example.  There are shops, homes and other types of property in Covent Garden, each of which can be thought of as a search result on the analogous search results ‘page’ (remember, we’re not using Covent Garden as a search term but as an analogy to the results page).

Each of these shops, homes or other types of property has a value, which itself is determined, first, by the value of being in the Covent Garden area; and, second, by how close it is to the centre of the area.  In the case of Covent Garden the Piazza attracts by far the most people in the area and can be thought of as the top-ranking search result on our analogous search results page.

A piece of media coverage is likely to appear in search results along with other relevant sources according to the search being carried out by a consumer.   Very importantly, because of the increased sophistication of search engine algorithms that place a premium on site quality, a piece of media coverage is much more likely to appear at or close to the top of the results page.

In other words, in our analogy the piece of media coverage can be thought of as a highly desirable property – let’s say a high brand shop – typically on or close to the Covent Garden Piazza.  Crucially – and this is a very important point – media coverage that appears in search results does so in its own right and not as an equivalent of anything.

Just as the value of Covent Garden is decided by market forces based on what people are prepared to pay for a property there, so the value of a search results page is determined by what people are prepared to pay to be on it.

As we have already pointed out, media coverage that appears in search results does so in its own right.  In our analogy it is like any other property in Covent Garden and can be valued accordingly, without having to use equivalents, multipliers or any other ‘fudge factor’ associated with AVEs.

Another major benefit of the PRSV is that it can be applied to any search result and not just media coverage.  Indeed, when conducting a PRSV analysis we frequently come across results from social media as well as conferences, seminars and other PR activities.

Find out more about the PRSV by contacting

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