EVALUATION NUMBERS: What the Barcelona Principles are and how they’ll help you evaluate


A short while back a PR person got very animated that people in the industry didn’t know what the Barcelona Principles are.

For the most part I’d be amazed if the majority know what they are.

For the record, they’re a set of principles US and UK private sector PR people drew-up in the Spanish city in 2010. They’re not the be-all and end all but they are an interesting set of rules that stand scrutiny and you can refer to.

For the record they are here:

  • Goal setting and measurement are important
  • Media measurement requires quantity and quality
  • Advertising Value Equivalents (AVE) are not the value of public relations
  • Social media can and should be measured
  • Measuring outcomes is preferred to measuring media results (outputs)
  • Organisational results and outcomes should be measured whenever possible
  • Transparency and replicability are paramount to sound measurement.

A more comprehensive explanation can be found here.

The thing I like most about them and the thing that chimes is the concentration of results and not simply coverage.

AVE – advertising value equivalent – is dead. In other words, it’s not that 100,000 people saw the campaign that attracted £70,000 worth of coverage that’s important. It asks a big ‘so what?’ to that.

What did those people do as a result?

If 10,000 fitted smoke detectors and you’re target was 1,000 then that’s your result right there.

In particular it tackles the question that many traditional PR people throw at social media. How do you measure it?

The answer is that it depends on what you are trying to achieve in the first place.

That concentrates the mind wonderfully.

But there is a danger that applying them to unimaginatively to social media means you are not getting the point.

The point of social media is conversation and to take part in the conversation. Things you can later measure come later.

That’s something really important to remember.

Picture credit: istock

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