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Earned Media Value & How to Calculate It in 2024

Earned Media Value & How to Calculate It in 2024

Mar 29, 2024



In 2020, Nathan Apodaca, a regular TikTok user, filmed himself skateboarding down a highway, effortlessly sipping Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice to the tune of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams." 

The video went viral, racking up over 60 million views and sparking a wave of recreations across social media.

Ocean Spray saw this golden opportunity and jumped right in. They thanked Nathan by sending him a truck full of cranberry juice and even put him in their ads. This smart move did wonders! It made Ocean Spray popular with younger people, especially Gen Z. 

This is a classic example of earned media. In this blog, we'll talk about what earned media value is, how to calculate it, and the relationship between EMV and influencer marketing. 

Let's dive in!

What Is Earned Media Value? 

Earned Media Value (EMV) is the dollar amount a brand can expect from all the positive online and offline exposure. 

The importance of EMV lies in its ability to measure the impact of earned media activities, such as social media mentions, press coverage, and influencer partnerships. By calculating EMV, brands can understand the value and impact of their PR and marketing efforts.

How Does It Differ From Paid and Owned Media? 

Earned Media Value stands out from both paid and owned media in key ways. In short:

  • Earned Media is like getting a shoutout from others for free. 

  • Paid Media is where you pay to get your message out there. 

  • Owned Media is your personal space to communicate with your audience. 

Here's a deeper analysis of earned media vs. paid media and owned media:

1. Earned Media: 

This is all about the exposure you get for free. It includes things like customers talking about your brand on social media, reviews, word-of-mouth recommendations, and media coverage.

EMV puts a dollar value on this exposure, even though you haven't paid for it directly. It's like getting a bonus for having a good reputation and engaging content.

For example, a popular food blogger visits your restaurant, loves the experience, writes a glowing review on their blog, and shares it on social media. 

Their followers, who trust the blogger's opinions, start talking about your restaurant, leading to increased attention and customers. This publicity, which you didn't pay for, is your earned media. 

2. Paid Media: 

This is straightforward – it's the exposure you pay for. Think ads on TV, Facebook, Google, or billboards. You control the message, where it appears, and how long it runs. It's a direct investment in promoting your brand.

Suppose you launch a new product and create an ad campaign on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. You pay for these ads to be shown to a targeted audience based on their interests and demographics. 

Every click and view of these ads is a direct result of your paid media strategy. 

3. Owned Media: 

This refers to any media channel that you completely control. Your website, blog, social media profiles, and email newsletters are all owned media. Here, you create and share content to engage and inform your audience. It's a space to shape your brand narrative and interact directly with customers.

Following is an example of owned media.  

Your company maintains an active blog on its website, where you regularly post articles related to your industry, share customer success stories, and offer insights about your products or services. 

Your email newsletters that update subscribers on the latest company news and offers are also part of your owned media. 

Understanding these differences helps in strategizing your overall media approach to build your brand and reach your audience effectively.

Why Earned Media Value is Key in Influencer Marketing? 

Influencer marketing often requires you to partner with or hire influencers. This would mean you need to pay them for their services. But such as it may be, there exists a silver lining between EMV and influencer marketing.  

Let's discuss this further.  

Finding Influencers with High ROI

Think of EMV as a tool to spot influencers who really make a difference. It's not just about how many followers they have. EMV looks at how much buzz they create for your brand. 

High EMV influencers often mean more people talking about your product, leading to better sales. And better sales means better ROI. 

Take a look at our experts' take on measuring the ROI of your influencer campaigns

Authentic Engagement and EMV Go Hand in Hand

Real engagement means people aren't just liking a post. They're talking about it, sharing it, and acting on it. 

When an influencer has authentic interactions, their EMV goes up. That's because their recommendations feel more like advice from a friend than an ad. 

EMV serves as a valuable metric in this context, helping to quantify these genuine connections and clearly indicating which influencers are truly resonating with and influencing their audience. 

Why Genuine Connections Matter? 

Influencers with a true bond with their audience are gold. They can get people talking about your brand in a positive way. This kind of word-of-mouth is powerful. It's like having lots of people endorsing your product because they trust the influencer. 

By focusing on influencers with genuine connections, you're likely to see a ripple effect – their audience trusts them, so they'll trust your brand too.

How to Calculate Earned Media Value?

Calculating EMV is not a one-size-fits-all process, and it often varies depending on the brand and the specific campaign. However, there is a commonly used formula that acts as a starting point for many marketers: 

Here’s the EMV calculation formula: 

EMV = (Impressions) × (Cost per 1,000 or CPM) × (Adjustment Factor)

CPM means Cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM). It is a stable metric borrowed from TV and PPC advertising. It gives a baseline value for each thousand views or interactions. 

The adjustment factor is the factor that adds flexibility to the formula. This allows marketers to account for the varying impacts of different types of engagement (likes, shares, comments) and the overall tone of the media mentions. 

On social media, it's essential to look at not just impressions but also engagements and the effect of posts on overall media mentions. 

Understanding public sentiment about the brand is crucial. Social listening tools can track and analyze conversations about the brand, providing insights into audience attitudes. 

Also, investing in robust influencer marketing platforms can help you understand the actual monetary worth of their social media campaigns.

Calculate EMV Based on Sales

The Sales-based method for determining Earned Media Value (EMV) focuses on attributing actual revenue generated from sales.

 This method is beneficial when a direct link between marketing efforts and sales can be established, such as in e-commerce or lead generation campaigns. You can simply replace CPM with sales in the EMV calculation formula to understand EMV in this case. 

This method is employed when the primary goal of the campaign is to drive sales. Brands can track conversions and sales resulting from specific earned media content, often through unique tracking links or promo codes. 

It helps brands to assess the direct financial impact of their earned media efforts. The value obtained through the sales accurately reflects the revenue generated from earned media exposure. 

To simplify the calculation of the value of earned media, use any free earned media value calculator. The earned media value calculator comes with fields where you can add links to your influencers. 

Some EMV calculators also have individual calculators for different social media platforms. The EMV calculator then analyzes your campaign and might also be able to download the report as a PDF.
Here’s an example of an EMV calculator by Calculator Academy:

What is the Average Earned Media Value? 

Understanding the average Earned Media Value can be quite challenging due to the various factors involved in its calculation. Let's break down what influences EMV and why it's hard to pin down an average.

Factors Affecting EMV

  • Media Reach: How far and wide the non-paid publicity goes. The more people it reaches, the higher the potential EMV. 

  • Platform Variations: Different social media platforms and digital channels can yield different EMV values. For instance, a viral tweet might have a different value compared to a popular Instagram post. 

  • Engagement Level: Likes, shares, comments, and overall interaction play a significant role. High engagement usually means a higher EMV. 

  • Market Value of Paid Ads: The cost of similar advertising space in the market also affects EMV. If paid ads in a space are expensive, the EMV for publicity in that space might be higher. 

Due to the factors mentioned, EMV can vary widely. It's influenced by the industry, the campaign's nature, and specific marketing goals. 

Instead of relying on a generic "average" EMV, it's more beneficial to calculate the EMV specific to each campaign or media piece. This tailored approach offers more accurate and meaningful insights for your marketing efforts.

How to Use EMV in Your Influencer Marketing Strategy? 

Using EMV effectively in your influencer marketing strategy can enhance decision-making and optimize campaign outcomes. Here's how to do it: 

  • Identifying Top-Performing Influencers

Use EMV to see which influencers make an impact. Those with high EMV aren't just talking to a lot of people; they're really connecting with them. 

While choosing, pick influencers with high EMV. They're the ones who can truly get your brand's message across and get people excited about it. 

  • Guiding Marketing Decisions and Content Repurposing

Let EMV show you the way. See which influencers or content types get high EMV and use that info to shape your next campaign. 

Also, look at content with high EMV to understand what's hitting the mark. Use these winning ideas again in new ways, making sure your messages always click with your audience. 

  • Boosting Your Paid Social Media with Influencer Content

Got influencer content that's doing great? Boost it with paid social media ads. 

Since it's already popular, it's likely to do even better when more people see it. Blend natural influencer content with your paid ads. This approach feels more real and can help your brand make a bigger, better impression.

Suggested Read: Sponsored Post on Instagram: Everything You Need to Know 

Easy Tips for Crafting an Effective Earned Media Strategy 

1. Connect with Media and Journalists 

Reach out to media professionals and journalists. Share your brand stories with them. It's about getting your brand mentioned in news articles and features. Have something worth talking about. This could be a unique product, a groundbreaking service, or an interesting company story. 

2. Deliver a Great Customer Experience 

Follow the WISE Approach by Dan Gingiss. 

  • Witty: Use clever, memorable language in your communications. 

  • Immersive: Make every part of the customer journey enjoyable. 

  • Shareable: Create moments your customers will want to share online. 

  • Extraordinary: Go beyond the ordinary. Surprise your customers positively. 

3. Make a Difference in the Community

Follow the example of brands like Madewell. Set goals for sustainability and ethical practices. Also, get involved in causes that resonate with your brand values. This can increase your appeal to socially conscious consumers. 

4. Establish Industry Authority

Regularly create and share insightful content related to your industry. Try to offer unique perspectives backed by data and experience. Make your brand a go-to resource for information in your field. 

By following these tips, you can develop an earned media strategy that not only amplifies your brand's presence but also builds a strong, positive reputation in the market.

Drawbacks of Earned Media Value

Earned Media Value (EMV) is gaining popularity as a metric to quantify the value of non-paid media exposure. However, like any metric, it has its limitations and drawbacks:

  • Lack of Standardization: 

There is no standard method for calculating EMV. This lack of standards leads to inconsistencies in how different organizations measure EMV. 

  • Overemphasis on Exposure: 

EMV primarily focuses on the quantity of exposure rather than the quality of engagement. It does not necessarily account for the crucial factors in assessing the true impact of earned media.

  • Difficulty in Attribution: 

Attributing sales or other outcomes directly to earned media can be complex, especially in multi-channel marketing. EMV may oversimplify the contribution of earned media to overall business results.

  • Neglecting Long-term Effects: 

EMV often focuses on the immediate value of earned media exposure. Therefore, it overlooks the long-term benefits such as brand building, customer loyalty, and advocacy.

  • Lack of Insight into Consumer Behavior: 

EMV does not provide direct insights into how earned media exposure influences consumer behavior, preferences, or purchasing decisions.


In summary, Earned Media Value is a game-changer in digital marketing. It’s not just about how much buzz you create; it's about understanding the true impact of your brand's interactions and influence.

 Using EMV, you can choose the right influencers, shape your content, and spend your marketing budget wisely. It’s all about connecting with your audience authentically and creating genuine engagement. 

So, as you plan your next marketing move, remember: EMV isn't just a number. It's a way to measure real connections and build lasting relationships with your audience. Let's focus on making meaningful impacts, not just chasing figures. 

If you are on the lookout for an influencer marketing platform, might we suggest - It's a robust platform that helps you identify, vet, and manage influencers. The tool offers a range of features, including white labeling and real-time report generation. 

You can try the tool for free or get a personalized demo.

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