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PR Survey: Trends Shift Toward Social Media and Research

In a recently released survey from the Worldcom Public Relations Group (NST is a long-time partner), public relations firms around the world predict a rise in social media and research, and a decline in media relations and advertising services over the next three years. More than 70 of Worldcom’s 104 partners from across the globe responded to the survey.

“The results of this survey clearly demonstrate that public relations has moved multichannel,” said Stefan Pollack, chair of the Worldcom Americas Region and president of The Pollack PR Marketing Group, a Los Angeles-based firm. “From a trend perspective, clients are looking for firms that can deliver immediate impact with sustainable value. These results provide insight to our partner firms about how to gear their client programming and to determine how best to continue to grow services and in what areas.”

According to the survey, the services respondents expect to see a decrease in include: media relations (19 percent), advertising (17 percent), and direct mail and marketing (11 percent). In general, the majority of firms are optimistic about business increasing in the next three to five years.

More than half of the respondents expected social media, interactive/web development and search engine optimization services to increase – 93 percent, 73 percent and 61 percent, respectively. Yet obstacles still remain for firms to determine how to increase revenue from these services; particularly search engine optimization – for example, no agency reported more than 10 percent of revenue from SEO.

In addition, one-third of the Worldcom Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region and Asia Pacific region firms expect the percentage of work from their home countries to decrease. This represents an opportunity for global firms to acquire clients from beyond their home countries. Additional key findings include investor relations and influencer/stakeholder relations as being other significant areas of revenue, and 37 percent of firms in the Americas targeting specific cultural demographics. The most commonly cited was Latino/Hispanic, with 10 percent.

The online survey was sent to 104 Worldcom firms regarding services provided by their firms. Seventy-four firms responded, a response rate of 71 percent. Padilla Speer Beardsley’s research practice facilitated the survey.

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