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New report shows your agency may be failing at digital PR measurement

PR Measurement

Yesterday we asked ‘What is PR measurement actually doing for your business?‘ Now let’s continue with that theme.

According to the sixth annual Digital PR and Communications Report from the PRCA (our industry’s governing body— the one that awarded us Measurement Champion status), a vacuum is emerging. Here are some numbers to explain…

The last 12 months have seen a 12% rise in the ownership of digital social media activities by PR teams.

57% of respondents say ‘most’ of these tasks are performed by PR and comms functions.

However, only 4% say PR and comms functions are used for digital crisis management.

These statistics should ring alarm bells. Clients are increasingly entrusting their digital social media to PR and comms agencies, but not during times of crisis, which suggests an imbalance. Many businesses clearly have little faith in their agency’s ability to perform under pressure, when the heat is on.

Those paying the bills are not convinced agencies are dealing with crises based on the evidence presented to them


The simplest theory is people are becoming wiser to the shortcomings of digital PR measurement in its simplest (and least useful) forms. Likes, shares, and even video views have all been exposed as misleading metrics. The problem is many agencies and practitioners don’t seem to understand which metrics actually do matter.

PR Measurement

Does your agency get it?

Brands must consider the evidence they have been given. Does it reassure and boost confidence, or confuse and concern?

For agencies that truly know the ins and outs of digital PR measurement, proving worth is a relatively simple, albeit time-consuming task. Everything is tracked, so you just need to access the information, and analyse properly.

Nevertheless, only 58% of agencies involved in the study claimed to be confident in showing digital PR ROI. That’s simply not good enough, and would imply it is becoming easier for brands to wind up with agencies that cannot perform.

Social is in decline, so why care?

The PRCA report does show a drop in social investment, from influencer budget to customer service functions. However, this isn’t born from a fall in perceived value, but rather an overall clawback on expenses and limitations on resources.

In conclusion, then

It has never been more important to ensure your PR and comms representatives have digital PR measurement down to a fine art. To test this, brands should be setting tangible objectives during campaign development. After all, good PR measurement not only reveals current ROI, it can actually help drive leads and sales.

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