Measurement & KPI's

Social vs. traditional media

Christian Green

Christian Green

5 minutes read

What’s the value of a Facebook fan? How much is a Like worth?

Here’s a simple, handy way of testing how your social media efforts stack up against good-old-fashioned bought media.

That Little Tiny Difference

When you really boil it down, the difference between social and traditional media is the “viral factor.” Although a cliché word these days, virality is what separates paid from earned. The notion that people can choose to share your marketing content, effectively giving you free media distribution.

So, a simple way is to benchmark social media against traditional media to see if your brilliant content really leverages that “viral” magic. And, if it outperforms traditional media. The place to start is calculating your Equivalent Media Value.

Equivalent Media Value

Some people call it Equivalent Media Value (EMV), or “how-much-old-school-media-value-did-I-get-out-of-Facebook.” It’s a handy way of translating your social activities into “normal” media value. It’s easy to understand and similar to the way PR has been quantified for many years. Like it or not, it’s simple, intuitive and practical. And makes more sense than engagement scores and other fluffy metrics.

The first step is to determine your benchmark media values. I.e. what would you have otherwise paid for the media value that you get out of social media. Let’s use Facebook as an example here to keep it simple.

Benchmark Media Value

To benchmark Facebook as a marketing channel against traditional channels, you have to start by determining what you are paying - or would be willing to pay - for clicks, impressions and video views (which is the comparable media output from Facebook). Focus on those to not confuse things by attributing value to strictly social interactions such as likes and shares.

So you figure out your benchmark CPC (cost per click) e.g. from banner ads, CPM (cost per thousand impressions) e.g. from online ads and CPV (cost per view) e.g. from TV or YouTube. You can now use these benchmark metrics to determine the value of your Facebook page.

Do the Math

Let’s say your benchmark metrics are: CPM = 3,632 €, CPC = 0,475 € and CPV = 0,0309 €

Let’s take an example post on Facebook featuring a video. The post got 2,049 impressions, 205 watched the video and 503 clicked the link in the description. This means the total EMV of the post is calculated as follows:

  • Reach: 2.049 x 3,632€ = 7442 €

  • Views: 205 x 0,0309 € = 6.33 €

  • Clicks: 13 x 1,475 € = 19.2 €

= Total Equivalent Media Value: 7,467.5 €

Measuring your monthly EMV will then simply be a matter of repeating this for all your posts for the month you want to benchmark. If you want to put your EMV into a more meaningful perspective, you can calculate a monthly ROI by tracking EMV against your monthly spend on running your Facebook presence.

In Zenbu we have automated this calculation so you can follow your EMV and ROI over time without the messy spreadsheets.

About the author

Christian Green
Christian Green
Co-founder

Content marketing expert with a passion for disruptive, social and digital businesses. I have built unconventional digital marketing companies and worked across three continents as a senior level consultant for clients such as Carlsberg, Arla Foods, PepsiCo, Fiat Group, Bosch and L'Oreal on social and digital marketing strategy. I guest lecture on branded content strategy and social media marketing, play polo and rarely read books.

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