Earned Media Value | What Is It & Should You Be Using It?

Earned media value (EMV) is a metric used by marketers to measure the value of a channel for which the company is not the owner and how they might assign a dollar amount to activities happening organically on that channel.

This includes third-party sites including blogs and social media-based content that are talking about the brand.

Earned media is an organic form of brand promotion and is one of the most difficult in which marketers can achieve success. Because of its inherent illusiveness, it’s also a challenging measurement to capture. 

Brands cannot control or moderate earned media, which makes it an ideal component of social proof, which states that consumers trust their peers more than they trust brands. It’s also an accurate indicator of how a brand is perceived online, and thus a marker for how well (or how poorly) a brand’s marketing and advertising is performing. 


What Is An Example Of Earned Media?

Think of earned media as a brand’s online reputation, or even word-of-mouth advertising in a digital space. It includes Google or Yelp reviews, someone sharing a brand’s blog posts, or tracking how many mentions your brand gets.  

For an influencer looking to capture their earned media value, the examples are similar. Comments and brand mentions are calculated on social media channels. Online forums can also help content creators gauge their earned media value. 

What Is The Average EMV?

When a dollar value is assigned to a brand or influencer’s earned media, it indicates organic performance. 

Since influencers have a public (and often popular) online presence while functioning as a brand unto themselves, earned media value can be assigned to their performance in order to help brands determine where to allocate their influencer marketing dollars. 

Mega-influencers (someone with more than 1 million followers) and macro-influencers (someone with 100,000-1 million followers) on Instagram are popular options for brands to pursue in their influencer marketing campaigns. According to Statista, Instagram mega- and macro-influencers achieved the following EMV averages in 2020

  • Mega-influencers: $5,133
  • Macro-influencers: $1,155-$4,311


How To Measure Earned Media Value 

Earned media value has several options for calculation. While there’s no standard method, there are other metrics that we can use to determine a holistic sense of EMV. Many of these metrics are listed above as alternatives to calculating EMV

In order to calculate EMV, you can use the following formula: 

EMV: impressions x cost per mille/thousand impressions (CPM) x adjustment variable

  • How to calculate impressions: the number of times viewers see your content can typically be found on the individual social platforms where they were natively posted. You can see this in your influencer marketing platform, like Mavrck. 
  • How to calculate your CPM: 1,000 x (cost / total impressions)
  • How to identify your adjustment variable: this variable has vague requirements, but engagement or share of voice can usually be used for an accurate measurement. 
    • Engagement rate: (total engagement / total views) x 100

Let’s do a practice problem. 

Our mystery content has the following metrics: 

  • Impressions: 12,500
  • Investment in advertising fees: $25
    • CPM: 1,000 x ($25 x 12,500) = $2 per every 1,000 impressions
  • Views: 2,000
  • Engagements: 1,000
    • Engagement rate: (1,000 / 2,000 ) x 100 = 50%
      • For this problem, the engagement rate will serve as the adjustment variable.

If a piece of content has 12,500 impressions, has a $2 CPM, and an adjustment variable of 50, the EMV would be $1,250,000.


Is Earned Media Value Becoming Outdated?

While earned media value is a relatively new metric to calculate content performance, there are other metrics that provide better insight.

Since there is no standard method to calculate EMV, it is difficult to compare EMV across brands and pieces of content. The lack of consistency makes EMV inherently ineffective, as opposed to the methods used to calculate other metrics.

If you still want to incorporate EMV into your reporting, it’s your prerogative as a marketer. But on top of EMV, we also encourage brands to report on the following metrics to gauge accurate content performance: 

  • Interactions: post likes + comments
  • Engagement rate: interactions divided by views
  • Impressions: the number of times viewers see your content
  • Clicks: the number of times a viewer clicks on an ad
  • Click-through rate: the number of impressions divided by clicks
  • Cost per mille/thousand impressions (CPM): how much a brand pays for every 1,000 impressions
  • Conversions: the total number of sales directly attributed to a social media post/ad
  • Conversion rate: the total number of conversions divided by the total number of unique views, all multiplied by 100

In addition, we also recommend measuring the trust coefficient. 


What Is The Trust Coefficient? 

In influencer marketing reporting, the trust coefficient is an element that we recommend incorporating into your CPM benchmarks to measure the effectiveness of sponsored posts and paid social media ads.

The trust level is the percentage of consumers who trust a given marketing channel. The formula to calculate the trust coefficient is: paid CPM / trust level = trusted CPM, as illustrated below. 

What Is The Trust Coefficient?

We find the trust coefficient to be an accurate measurement of content performance because it incorporates a component of social proof, which is the concept that people trust what their peers say online more than brands. 

Social proof is a major component of influencer marketing success, but it proves to be an elusive component unless data is collected via survey. Because of this, we recommend measuring trust levels by sourcing information about your audience from third-party studies or via first-party surveys of your customers. 



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Can You Increase Your Earned Media Value?

The best way to increase your brand’s earned media value is by increasing content production. 

When there is more content that matches your audience’s preferences, there is a greater chance of more views, engagements, clicks, and impressions. 

By increasing these metrics with quality content that provides value to your audience, your EMV increases in return. 


Are There Other Methods To Measure EMV?

We recommend calculating EMV using the following formula: 

EMV: impression x cost per mille/thousand (CPM) x adjustment variable

However, we find EMV to be an outdated mode of reporting due to vague requirements for the adjustment variable and no standardized calculation method overall. In lieu of EMV, we recommend reporting on the following: 

  • Interactions: post likes + comments
  • Engagement rate: interactions divided by views
  • Impressions: the number of times viewers see your content
  • Clicks: the number of times a viewer clicks on an ad
  • Click-through rate: the number of impressions divided by clicks
  • Cost per mille/thousand impressions (CPM): how much a brand pays for every 1,000 impressions
  • Conversion rate: (total number of conversions / total number of unique views) x 100
  • Trust coefficient: paid CPM / trust level = trusted CPM


Key Takeaways on EMV 

Now that you have learned about what earned media value is and how it’s used, you can go forth and determine whether you want to work with EMV or with a number of other KPI metrics. 

When you report on influencer marketing with accurate, up-to-date metrics, you’re able to show how content is performing on your channels. It is a valuable way to show your brand’s leadership and how influencer marketing efforts benefit your brand. 

When you tie dollar amounts to the content by incorporating conversion and sales metrics, you’re able to tell a deeper story. It helps you level up your influencer marketing efforts by empowering you to project future campaign value and therefore help you advocate for greater budget amounts.

Interested in learning more about influencer marketing? Micro-influencers are a major player in the spectrum of influence and can help drive content that produces excellent results. Learn more about micro-influencers, who they are, and how to work with them.