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While it’s helpful for marketers to understand the monetary value of digital word of mouth, EMV is a nuanced calculation and marketers should be wary of technology partners who lack transparency on how they calculate EMV.

You want to make sure you’re basing your investment decisions on insights that drive true value. That’s why it’s imperative you know exactly what inputs are being used to calculate EMV in order to best determine whether or not EMV is a formula you’d like to use in your business.

Here’s how we define and calculate EMV at Tagger:

Earned media is any content that mentions your brand that was not paid for or promoted through advertising and did not come from your own media channel. In simple terms, your digital word of mouth was earned, not bought.

Earned Media Value, or EMV, is a means to assign a dollar value to the various engagement actions – like comments, ‘likes’, shares, and mentions – associated with different social media content types. These actions are then projected to be worth a numerical dollar value to your business.

The dollar values assigned to each action can be increased or decreased depending on how conservative or liberal marketers want to be with EMV calculations. They also vary based on the benchmarks of the social platform on which the content is posted.

So, for example, if a creator receives 1,000 likes on an Instagram Photo, using a customized EMV benchmark of $.10 per like, that post would provide an estimated value of $100. In essence, you are assigning a monetary value to a specific action, then multiplying by how many times that action was taken in your campaigns.

Be transparent & intentional about how you’re calculating EMV

Now that you understand exactly what is going into EMV, let’s talk about the importance of customization. Just as your business objectives are tailored to your unique situation, EMV should be too. With Tagger, you have the ability to leverage your own benchmarks relative to media buying, create custom audience size tiers, or further segment benchmarks by content or platform type.

Controlling what goes into this metric based on your needs is a game changer! You’ll always know that your data is reliable, and custom to your interests.

If EMV is a valued metric in your organization, you’ll want to pay special attention to the methodology when choosing an influencer platform partner. It is important to ensure their calculations are aligned with your team’s internal valuation.

There are many platform partners who are deliberately vague, or will even go as far as to say their EMV methodology is a “proprietary algorithm” or a “trade secret.” You should be weary of this lack of transparency.

Platforms who take this approach often deliver suspiciously high EMV figures as a tactic for client retention. The thought beyond which is if the client sees significant ROI in their influencer campaigns, they can more easily justify a continuation of what appears to be yielding excellent results.

Does EMV matter?

EMV can be used as a benchmark allowing marketers to assign a numerical value to their efforts, helping them to more fully understand the ROI of their campaigns. However, EMV can also be subjective; there is no one, standardized way to calculate EMV across the entire industry.

EMV is a metric that was created in a time where we didn’t have quantifiable insights and accurate attribution models that we have today. So, it should be considered a guiding metric in an arsenal of more quantifiable indicators. It’s advisable to include EMV along with other metrics designed to measure ROI rather than relying on EMV alone.

Refine your business’ definition of EMV

If you do decide that EMV is a formula you’d like to use, it’s important that everyone on your team clearly understands the numbers that are going into your overall EMV number. EMV is not a “one size fits all” metric. At Tagger, we believe that the value attributed to content should closely align with market values found in digital media (i.e. “media value”), whether media buying or what creators have been paid historically.

Because of how subjective- and even controversial! – EMV can be, Tagger offers a robust set of additional metrics that our clients can use to calculate ROI. Many of our users feel that raw data like Impressions, Reach, and/or # of hard engagements (likes + comments + shares) are more valuable pieces of data that they can tell their own story with as opposed to relying on EMV alone.

What do you think? Is EMV a good metric for marketers to have in their arsenal? Or is it too subjective to be truly valuable?