Whenever a new state of the PR industry study is released, I tend to turn to the page dealing with measurement. The PRCA’s PR Census 2016 was no different. The online survey of 1,874 respondents from the UK PR industry was undertaken between February and April this year.
The key findings on measurement are:
- 23% of respondents prefer to use Barcelona Principles 2.0.
- 19% use “Other” options, including “KPIs agreed with client” or “a mix of message penetration, behaviour change and claimed data”. While we don’t know all of the “Other” options, it could be that some are unknowingly following the Barcelona Principles.
- 16% use AVEs.
- 30% don’t use PR evaluation methods.
- 12% don’t know what evaluation methods they use.
Looking at the numbers, 42% of the UK PR industry evaluates performance using a defined and qualified process, be it the Barcelona Principles or tracking outtake or outcome metrics. 46% of respondents either don’t evaluate or use AVEs. AVEs are a much discredited metric, they don’t define the value that PR brings to an organisation and have no place in the modern PR toolkit.
While it is a disappointing figure, the use of AVEs in the UK is lower than elsewhere. The Global Communications report, released in April, reported that 30% of it’s global respondents used AVEs most or all of the time. Respondents to the Global Communications report also tended to focus on output metrics, like reach, rather than outcome or outtake metrics. While there is never an excuse for AVEs, the PRCA PR Census does show a greater awareness of effective measurement in the UK.
Barry Leggetter, CEO of AMEC and former PRCA Chairman, said it best: “If this was an end of Term Report, it would get a comment “progress made but could do better’.”
“However we are not discouraged. Each year we make progress. Our big hope is that the new easy-to-use and free measurement framework we will launch at the International Summit next week could be the missing piece to get all PR firms and in-house teams to take measurement seriously and bin AVEs once and for all.”
The PRCA PR Census contains an enormous amount of intelligence on the state of the UK PR industry. There are some real positives – PR is growing at a phenomenal rate, with the industry employing around 83,000 up from 62,000 in 2013, and now worth £12.9bn from £9.62bn in 2015. There are also some negatives – salary levels are down on both 2013 and 2011, a gender pay gap exists and more needs to be done to address diversity. Download the PRCA PR Census 2016.