- 04 Dec 2013
We’ve just joinned the PRCA to add to our long-time, close involvement with CIPR. In exploring the PRCA’s resources, I came upon its Digital PR Report 2013 which was recently published in partnership with The Holmes Report and YouGov.
YouGov surveyed 136 agency and in-house PR professionals between 23rd September and 4th October, across business services, finance & banking, technology & telecoms, charities & NGOs, Government and other sectors.
The report found that client digital budgets are growing, albeit slowly, and that many of the areas they are investing in, such as content creation, are “natural PR industry expertise”.
It also reported huge growth in agencies providing SEO, web design and customer monitoring services, with many agencies expecting to grow their digital revenues to 21-30% by next year.
On the less positive side, budgets still seem to be relatively small, and it seems that many brands remain to be convinced of PR agencies’ abilities in online reputation management and social network strategy (although they want them to take these on).
Why is your brand on social media?
Delving deeper into the findings, 70% of respondents said that the reason their brand is on social media is to use it as a customer service platform.
55% said that to be able to respond to any crisis quickly was a reason for being on it, with almost 30% saying, worryingly, that they are on social media because their competitors are doing it.
Other reasons cited included ‘to address a lack of control of our online reputation’, ‘because our brand is being attacked on social media’, and ‘as we move to a content producer format, rather than straight forward press office’.
When it comes to budgets, 46% of organisations only spend 1-10% on digital / social media, according to the report. Though, over the last 12 months, 70% of agency respondents said that the digital part of marketing budgets has increased, and a similar number said that they expect it to increase further in the next 12 months.
The top five areas of budget that digital is spent on, according to respondents are:
- Web design and build
- Monitoring and listening to customers
- Content creation (e.g. blog)
- Online advertising / PPC
Biggest client demands reported by agencies
Content creation at almost 70% was the biggest client demand of agencies, followed by influencer outreach /engagement (about 45%), social network strategy (over 40%), and online community management (nearly 40%).
Growth in services offered
There have been big increases in the number of agencies offering a range of digital services in the last five years, and an expected further increase in the five years ahead. For example, the proportion of agencies offering influencer outreach has doubled to 80% and is expected to increase to over 90% in five years. And it’s much the same story for content creation, online community management and digital crisis management.
As Danny Whamough, Ketchum Associate Director of Digital, and Chairman of the PRCA Digital Group, said: “This research shows that PR agencies have really upped their game over the last few years and are expanding into new service areas. With a wealth of opportunity out there, now is the time for PR professionals to seize the initiative and show what they can do. The signs from our research is that they are taking up the battle cry and driving the industry forward.”