The Public Relations and Communications Association in the Middle East and North Africa (PRCA MENA) has revealed the findings of its first Digital PR and Communications Report, with insights across the following key areas:
- In-house budgeting for paid media continues to rise
- Web design and build is a huge growth area for PR and communications agencies as service is increasingly combined with PR
- Huge expectation that digital budgets will grow over the next 12 months
- In-house and agency staff alike do not feel they get enough training around digital
The first PRCA MENA Digital PR and Communications Report, produced in partnership with YouGov, provides a benchmark of how the PR industry is performing with digital communications.
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Attitudes and responsibilities
When asked why their brands are on social media, in-house leaders surveyed are now less likely than ever to point to negative reasons such as to address a lack of control to online reputation (17%) and to be able to respond to a crisis quickly (19%) while the biggest reasons are to increase brand awareness (52%), and to drive sales (48%).
Now more than ever, in-house teams surveyed see themselves as the owners of digital/social media strategy and execution, with agencies providing supporting roles. This raises some important questions about the role of the PR agency in digital, going forward.
The mean percentage of marketing budgets spend is 51% on paid social media, closely followed by 43% on web design and build. Just under half (44%) expect their digital budget to grow in the next 12 months.
Meanwhile, investment in Image based content is only 20% in comparison to 51% of budget spent on image based content in the UK.
Agencies and how they’re being used
In the past year in particular, we have seen huge growth in in-house PR departments expecting PR agencies to be able to deliver many digital service areas. The highest expectation is agencies delivering creative ideas (54%) and online media (48%)
On the PR agency side, 49% are now offering social media marketing, 41% digital media marketing, and 36% influencer outreach.
Over the last year, in-house teams surveyed have seen the biggest growth in use of Facebook (60%) and Youtube (58%).
The biggest in-house platform losers are Pinterest and Linkedin, with a drop of 7% and 6% in usage respectively over the past year.
For agencies, the leading campaign platforms over the past year are Facebook (78%); Instagram (41%) and Youtube (45%), while it is interesting to note that Twitter use is somewhat lower at 28% compared to 95% in the UK.
When asked to rate their top three, the majority of in-house comms people gain most of their social media education and insight from external training courses (26%). When asked which three things they need more education in, the biggest percentage of in-house comms people need more education/insight around digital media coverage (49%) and digital strategy (43%)
YouGov partnered with PRCA to survey over 2,000 agency and in-house PR professionals across business services, finance and banking, technology and telecoms, charities and NGOs, Government and other sectors. In-house respondents include Directors of Marketing/Communications, Heads of Marketing/Communications, and Heads of Press/PR. Agency respondents include CEOs, MDs, Partners, and Directors.
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The total sample size in 2017 was 2027 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken during April 2017. The surveys were carried out online.