How to Measure Earned Media Value & Why It’s Important


A potluck with friends is a great opportunity to prepare and share your favorite dish. But the challenge is that beloved foods are pretty subjective. It can be hard to get buy-in.  

You might tell people that your grandma’s pumpkin pie is the best out there, but they may be disinclined to believe you—everyone’s grandma’s pumpkin pie is the best, after all. However, if your best friend—who’s eaten it before—claims it’s also their favorite pumpkin pie, then partygoers will be more likely to take a slice. 

This situation occurs because you’re biased: of course, you think your pumpkin pie is the best because of your cherished memories surrounding it. Your opinion is not as trustworthy as a third party, in this case, your best friend. But when your best friend validates your opinion, that pumpkin pie starts looking like a more valuable commodity.  

The same idea applies when discussing Earned Media Value (EMV). Your organic social content can only achieve so much. At the end of the day, you’re biased about your product because you made it. Of course, you think it’s excellent! That’s why you need third party content that talks about what they love about your product (earned media content). 

However, you don’t know the actual cost of your earned media until you measure the value. Here’s how. 

Earned Media Value, Explained 

Earned media is any time your company is mentioned online—but it doesn’t come from you.  

This includes reviews, social media content, press, and even word-of-mouth recommendations. But you have no idea how this helps your company grow unless you measure it. The measuring of earned media and putting a monetary value on it is called Earned Media Value (EMV). 

EMV is best used to understand how much resources (or other measured KPI) third-party posts bring in for your social media strategy. Any time someone creates content that mentions your brand, the EMV metric helps you track the value of that content.  

Benefits of implementing EMV in your content creation 

The major benefit of earned media value is that a third-party source recommends your brand. These recommendations increases your credibility, and potential customers will start to trust you more. When you work toward implementing and measuring EMV, you reap these benefits. 

  • Expands your brand: People are more likely to engage with a post from a third-party source than with your company directly 
  • Helps you survive algorithm changes: Social media platforms change algorithms all the time, so it’s good to vary content between paid, owned, and earned media to stay relevant 
  • Assigns a dollar amount to engagement: EMV highlights the dollar amounts for engagement on your company’s platforms (which you need when you’re making budget decisions) 

How to measure EMV 

When you want to understand the value of efforts like employee advocacy, you need to measure your earned media value to assess whether the resources you’re allocating are increasing profits. While there isn’t a hard and fast way to measure EMV, here are a few options. 

The EMV formulas 

The most common method of measurement is to take the total number of impressions you’ve acquired from earned media and multiply that by your standard cost per 1000 impressions (CPM). If you do a lot of paid advertising, then this will be straightforward because a CPM is usually acquired in an ad campaign. However, if you only use organic socials, then you need to estimate a dollar amount that equates to your impressions. 

EMV can be a tricky number to pin down, so you can include an adjustment factor in your formula. The adjustment factor is the number that you use to measure the success of your social media campaign. This number will change from project to project. One adjustment factor might be the number of people who actually engaged with the post. If that was 500, then you’d multiply by 500 as well. 

EMV = Impressions x CPM x Adjustment Factor 

This is the most common way to measure EMV, but it’s not the only way. If this doesn’t work for your company, then try out this other method of measurement. 

If your company is focused on sales, then you can change the EMV to better suit your needs. Instead of measuring CPM, take the number of impressions based on third-party socials and compare it to how much a certain product (or group of products) sold in a period. You can start to correlate if your earned media helped you gain a higher ROI in your marketing for certain products.  

This formula will look vastly different depending on your products and strategy but can be a helpful tool for looking at EMV from a different lens. 

When to apply the formula 

You want to apply the formula to measure the success of third-party content. To identify this third-party content, you can implement social listening tools (also called social media monitoring tools) that alert you when your brand is talked about online. This ensures that you secure the correct engagement numbers when applying the formula. 

When applying the EMV, set the time frame of what you’re measuring. If you want to see the value of your engagement over a week of employee advocacy posts, just take the measurements from that time. 

How to understand the results 

The higher your EMV, the more valuable your earned media is. The EMV is an estimated number of how much financially you’ve gained from your earned media efforts. While this can be helpful, it’s hard to know any actions to take after you see your results.  

Trying to understand any metric on your own is complex. You need software tools to best understand actionable changes you can make based on your EMV results. Utilize a metrics dashboard where you can personalize results according to your third-party channels. This will help you understand what worked in your earned media to repeat the success or what you need to improve to do better the next time. 

Risks of relying too much on EMV 

While EMV is a helpful tool, it can also be a vanity metric. That means that sometimes, your engagement won’t correctly correlate with the cost of your advertising. Someone might like your post, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll buy your product.  

Ultimately, the fuzzy math in calculating EMV can give you an incorrect view of the success of your content. That’s why you need to use EMV in tandem with other business intelligence tools to gain a more holistic understanding of what’s working in your marketing strategy. 

Get a jumpstart on EMV with Clearview Social 

If you’re looking to gain more clarity on your EMV, utilize the employee advocacy and social media tools from the experts at Clearview Social. Our employee advocacy software includes a robust, customizable analytics dashboard about your posts and third-party posts, so you can gain actionable insights into what’s working with your marketing strategy and what needs to change. 

Maybe you’re not ready to start measuring earned media value because you don’t have any earned media yet. One of the best ways to create earned media content is through employee advocacy. Our employee advocacy tools like one-click email sharing and queue builders make it easy for your team to share company content in seconds. Start building your earned media immediately through the biggest tool in your company’s toolbox: your employees. 

If you’re ready to harness the ⚡power⚡ of EMV in your social media strategy, schedule a free demo with Clearview Social today.