What is earned media value?

Sideqik FAQ: What is Earned Media Value?

If you’ve been working with influencer marketing, you’ve probably heard the term earned media value being thrown around a lot. But what does it actually mean?

Everyone wants to be able to calculate accurate ROI on their marketing actions. In traditional advertising, you calculate ROI by comparing money spent on revenue generated from campaigns. You base paid media value on pay-per-clicks, pay-per-conversions, or pay-per-impressions. But how do you measure all that when it comes to influencers and you aren’t buying eyes? That’s where earned media value comes into play.

Earned media value is attention generated around your brand that you didn’t directly pay for. We have assigned a dollar value to each view, comment, like, and any other engagement across social networks to show what each influencer is earning for your brand. We based the formula on the concept of an equivalent media buy. However, if you have your own metrics, Sideqik allows you to edit those values accordingly.

Example: Buzzfeed Tasty

Buzzfeed Tasty's earned media value

According to Sideqik’s analytics, Buzzfeed Tasty reaches 90.3 million people on Facebook with each of its posts. To achieve that many paid impressions, it would cost an estimated $108,000, meaning the earned media value is about $108,000 per post. Our formula also factors in the cost of engagements, where comments and shares are worth more than just a view.

What earned media value means for influencer marketing

Unless you’re working with a major celebrity, it’s unlikely you’re paying six figures for your influencer posts. This means that your influencer earned media is the crux of your ROI.


Perhaps you want to work with this very cute pug, @Chubbsthewampug. Good choice, very cute, and sure to gain tons of heart-eyes-emoji comments. On Instagram — the world of cute pugs — Chubbs earns an average of 2,900 engagements per post, with a reach of 62,000 (though that heart-eye-inducing photo clearly earned more). According to our earned media value calculator, this pug’s post is worth $1,200. As long as you paid him (or his owner) less than that, you’re seeing a positive return before even looking to see if sales increased.

Bottom Line

Traditionally, you could sum up earned media value as “wow” or “buzz” around your brand. Now, we’re monetizing that feeling and making it measurable by quantifying the dollar value of an influencer’s reach.

You wouldn’t judge a traditional paid media buy through unmeasured success, so why would you treat influencer marketing the same? At Sideqik, we make earned media value a core piece of our analytic capabilities to make sure you’re always getting the most out of your influencer program and making predictive, not reactive, influencer programs.

If you want to see earned media value in action, check out some of our case studies.

Got a question for Sideqik? Email emily@upbeat-kidney.flywheelsites.com and your question could be featured on our blog!

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