The New Media Math: E2P

That’s what Visible Measures Chief Analytics Officer Seraj Bharwani presented this morning during the Brand Marketers Summit’s sponsored breakfast presentation. Specifically, the e stands for “earned” and the p stands for “paid,” and before you think this is just another “paid, earned, owned” rant, it’s not. It’s about trying to apply some scientific analysis on the relationship between two of those components to understand the value created by the combination of them.

In other words, the E2P is an earned-to-paid ratio, or an index that shows how much value earned media contributes in generating combined earned and paid impressions from an advertising campaign. Interestingly, Bharwani’s presentation focused almost exclusively on the relationship between the ad industry’s highest order format – TV commercials – and the tactic of previewing those spots online before a campaign hits.

This is something I’ve observed for years from covering the “pre-release” of high-profile, event-driven spots – usually Super Bowl campaigns – prior to the events themselves. This happened routinely before digital and social and viral, of course, but it was relegated to another kind of free media impressions that are rarely talked about in any of the paid/earned/owned analyses these days –press coverage. Okay, so PR typically is baked into “earned” models these days, but the real action that most brands focus on is the passalong sharing that users post and circulate with each other.

The bottom line is that smart marketers have always known how to goose awareness, attention and impact of their high-profile spots, but pre-releasing them. It’s just becoming more of a science now.

In Bharwani’s model, it’s pretty scientific and based on a multitude of campaigns it has been tracking for a couple of years, and specifically by working directly with four big  TV marketers: Ford, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble and Unilever. The result, he says, are some great benchmarks, norms, case studies, and indices – as well as best practices for what works and what doesn’t in the E2P mix.

When it works well, like Evian’s pre-release of its hip-hop skating Evian “babies” spots, the earned media contributed to 40% of the 188 million total video impressions generated during the campaign. Importantly, Bharwani says it’s not just the amount of impressions the earned generates, but the catalyzing effect it has on driving buzz, awareness and impact for the TV spots themselves.

Equally impressive, has been P&G’s Old Spice campaign, which over the course of two years and nine different executions generated an E2P ratio of six times. And Uniliever’s Dove “Evolution” campaign scored an E2P of 8 times.

Bharwani said Visible Measures also tracked hundreds of sports themed campaigns on YouTube and found that, on average, the ones that “socialized” their TV spots prior to breaking on TV generated and earned-to-paid ratio of five times better results vs. those that did not.

The model works in packaged goods too. An pre-/post-Black Friday campaign analysis for Kraft found a three-times improvement of those who did vs. those that did not socialize their TV spots beforehand.

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