UK PR Week, in conjunction with Diffusion PR, last month released a report on the integration of digital into the PR mix, titled PRWeek/Diffusion Digital Integration Report: The Digital Divide. I missed the report when it came out, but have now reviewed and think the findings are worth sharing.
Having worked in both the UK and Australia I believe the markets are fairly similar in the way organisations approach PR and marketing. Of course the budgets here in Australia are much smaller, but generally the way PR is done in the UK and here is similar, so the report and its findings I believe are also relevant for Australia.
According to PR Week:
a landmark PRWeek survey of 128 clients, drawn from across in-house comms, marketing and digital departments, reveals exactly how organisations are grappling with the challenge of integrating social media into their existing operations.
Key report findings:
To what extent have you embraced social media and digital PR?
Findings – more than 60% of those surveyed stated that social media and digital PR is being used either as an element of most campaigns or a core part of comms strategy. However, roughly 40% use it on an ad hoc basis or not at all.
My view – this result was not surprising for me based on the work I do with my clients. However, I would argue it is those organisations that have integrated social media and digital PR as a core component of their work that are getting the best results. Like any marketing discipline, social media digital PR works best when it is a continuous program, not something that is turned on and off.
With which external agencies do you work on social media?
Findings – 43% do not use an agency, 39% use a PR agency, 29% a digital agency whilst only 8% use a dedicated social media agency.
My view – I was surprised to see such a high number of practitioners responding that responsibility for social media was managed solely inhouse. Not that I am suggesting those inhouse are not suited to social media, quite the contrary in many respects. To me this highlights an unwillingness by client organisations to adequately invest in external social media expertise.
In the traditional space even the best in-house marketing practitioners utilise the support of agencies to deliver their results, why should it be different for social media? Assuming the agency gets it, I think in-house marketing people should be investing a good portion of their budget to extend activities in the social media space (disclaimer – I lead a team of digital PR people at a PR agency).
Where does ownership of social media sit within your organisation?
Findings – 36% marketing team, 34% PR and comms team, 17% cross departmental responsibility, 7% yet to be decided, 3% dedicated social media team, 2% IT department
My view – social media is about engaging in a two way conversation with an organisation’s customers and public. Whilst there are multiple departments that talk to an organisation’s target market, there has traditionally only been one that has engaged in a two way dialogue – the communications department. As such, it is my belief that the communications department/PR team is best placed to develop strategy and lead direction for social media.
What do you see as the key barriers preventing social media adoption in your organisation?
Findings – 45% inability to demonstrate clear ROI, 40% lack of digital knowledge and understanding, 38% lack of resources and budgets
My view – it is not surprising to me that the top two barriers are a lack of clear ROI and a lack of digital knowledge. When people don’t understand something they typically won’t find a value in it. Fix the lack of education and the clear ROI barrier will be lowered, as will the barrier of budget and lack of resources.
How satisfied are you with your current lead agency’s social media and digital PR abilities?
Findings – 19% very satisfied, 32% moderately satisfied, 15% very or moderately dissatisfied, 34% unsure.
My view – these results should be concerning for PR agencies. To me it highlights the fact that there are some, but too few PR practitioners with digital PR skills. Everyone involved in PR should be educating themselves in digital PR and agencies should be investing to ensure everyone has a basic understanding.
I have posted below some more graphics from the report.
What do you think about the report’s findings, are they surprising? Do you agree with my opinions? I would love to hear from you in the comment box.