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Digital PR and Communications Report 2018 Launch

I had the pleasure of going to my first PR industry event last week and it was such a great experience that it will definitely not be the last. The PRCA event was held at Lansons and presented the key findings in the Digital PR and Communications Report 2018. 

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Sarah Louhichi

Ellie Glason, MPRCA and Associate Director for Ginger Research: “This year we can see that – although the digital landscape continues to shift and evolve- the PR industry has now firmly taken up the reins on digital and social media content- a heartening if not unsurprising development.”

Ginger Research partnered with PRCA to survey 384 agency and in-house PR professionals across business services, finance and banking, technology and telecoms, charities and NGO’s, Government and other sectors. The event revealed the insights into digital strengths of PR and communications.

Here’s a summary of the most interesting findings (in my opinion):


The key findings of in-house social media use indicate that brands rely on social media to drive awareness (83%), reach a wider audience (65%) and increase brand awareness (64%). However, lack of budget (30%), staff (49%) and time (45%) are the biggest reasons for not putting effort into social media engagement. Most of the budget is spend on paid social media activity (55%), web design (51%) and video based content (49%). The main social media platform used by in-house PR and Communications department used for brands is Twitter (91%), whereas only just over half used Instagram.


The key findings for digital services offered by agencies are online media outreach (83%) and text-based content not far behind with 78% of agencies offering that service to clients. Client expectations mainly lie in blogger outreach (40%) as well as social influences outreach (40%). In addition, 36% of clients expect digital crisis management and online reputation management. The leading agencies services provided to clients are online press release distribution (13%) with text-based content, online media relations and paid social media activity all at 12%.

Unlike In-House departments, agencies heavily rely on LinkedIn and Facebook with 85% and a 11% rise of Instagram use to 70%. The leading platform is Twitter with 91%.

Overall, the report also found that both, agencies and in-house have a need for more education. In-house PR departments cited social influencer outreach as their key area of education (39%), whereas agencies need more education in technology such as augmented reality (39%) , chatbots (27%) and SEO (26%).


Another really interesting aspect of the evening was the panel discussion with industry professionals Toby Gunton MPRCA, General Manager, Edelman ,Marshall Manson, Partner, Brunswick and Abby Guthkelch, Co-founder, Not Another Agency Ltd. Big discussion points were:


During the discussion of influencers all panelists agreed that big agencies pay too much money to influencers that don’t have a big reach and that PR practitioners should be clear with influencers to work in an efficient way. Another interesting point was that micro influencers are now on the rise whereas mega influencers are decreasing, because influencers are about relevance, authority and accessibility and not just a big following. It was also agreed that the responsibility lies with the agency because influencers usually don’t know much about marketing


The panelists revealed what they believed was one of the trends in PR and Communication in 2018:

Artificial Intelligence – is on the rise with paid search optimisation that allows business to increase.

Social media backlash – because even influencers are now removing themselves from social media or “taking a break”, articles and studies have surfaced connecting social media to mental health issues and addiction to social media.

Rise of non-keyword search – keyword search is going to be replaced by voice search or photographic search.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and thought it was very insightful, educational and included a thought-provoking discussion of the findings with an industry panel. It’s not only useful for practitioners but also for students wanting to start out in the PR industry.

For further information and other Digital PR and Communication Report 2018 events around the UK check out the PRCA events site.