How Does Earned Media Value Work?

How Does Earned Media Value Work?

February 6, 2024

Earned media value (EMV) is a metric used to quantify the value generated through unpaid promotional efforts such as publicity, word-of-mouth, social media shares, and press coverage. In the age of digital marketing and social media dominance, understanding how earned media value works is crucial for businesses seeking to measure the impact of their marketing efforts. This comprehensive guide will delve into the intricacies of earned media value, its calculation methods, its significance in marketing strategies, and how businesses can leverage it effectively.

Understanding Earned Media Value

  1. Definition of Earned Media: Earned media refers to the exposure a brand receives through unpaid channels. It encompasses mentions, shares, reviews, and other forms of organic promotion by consumers, influencers, journalists, or other third parties.
  2. Components of Earned Media: Earned media can manifest in various forms, including social media mentions, shares, retweets, media coverage, reviews, blog posts, and user-generated content. Each of these components contributes to the overall earned media value of a brand or campaign.
  3. Differentiating Earned Media from Owned and Paid Media: It’s essential to distinguish earned media from owned and paid media. While owned media consists of channels controlled by the brand (e.g., company website, social media profiles), paid media involves advertising placements that require monetary investment. Earned media, on the other hand, arises spontaneously or as a result of engaging content or brand advocacy.

Calculation Methods for Earned Media Value

  1. Impressions-Based Approach: One common method for calculating earned media value involves estimating the number of impressions generated by earned media placements. This could include the reach of social media shares, the circulation of a press mention, or the viewership of a video featuring the brand.
  2. Advertising Equivalent Value (AEV): AEV assigns a monetary value to earned media placements by comparing them to equivalent paid advertising space. For instance, if a brand receives coverage in a publication, the AEV may calculate the cost of purchasing ad space of similar size and placement.
  3. Engagement Metrics: Another approach involves measuring the level of engagement generated by earned media, such as likes, comments, shares, and website visits resulting from a mention or share. This method focuses on the qualitative impact of earned media rather than assigning a direct monetary value.

Significance of Earned Media Value in Marketing Strategies

  1. Credibility and Trust: Earned media is often perceived as more credible and trustworthy than paid or owned media since it originates from impartial sources or satisfied customers. High EMV indicates a positive reputation and strong brand advocacy within the target audience.
  2. Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to paid media, earned media can provide significant exposure at a fraction of the cost. By leveraging user-generated content and encouraging brand advocacy, businesses can amplify their reach without substantial financial investment.
  3. Audience Engagement and Brand Awareness: Earned media facilitates meaningful interactions with the target audience, fostering brand awareness and loyalty. Positive mentions and recommendations from influencers or satisfied customers can attract new followers, increase brand visibility, and drive conversions.

Leveraging Earned Media Value Effectively

  1. Building Relationships with Influencers and Journalists: Cultivating relationships with relevant influencers, journalists, and industry experts can enhance opportunities for earned media coverage. Providing value through expert insights, exclusive access, or compelling content can incentivize these stakeholders to promote the brand organically.
  2. Encouraging User-Generated Content: Actively encouraging customers to share their experiences, testimonials, or creative content related to the brand can generate valuable earned media. Contests, hashtag campaigns, and community engagement initiatives can stimulate user participation and amplify brand advocacy.
  3. Monitoring and Measuring Results: Implementing robust monitoring and analytics tools is crucial for tracking earned media mentions, evaluating their impact, and calculating EMV accurately. By continuously monitoring brand mentions, sentiment, and engagement metrics, businesses can refine their strategies and capitalize on emerging opportunities.


Earned media value plays a pivotal role in modern marketing strategies, offering unparalleled opportunities for brand exposure, credibility, and audience engagement. By understanding the mechanisms of earned media value, adopting appropriate calculation methods, and leveraging earned media effectively, businesses can amplify their reach, foster brand advocacy, and drive sustainable growth in an increasingly competitive landscape.

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