PR Profession Grades Higher In Social Media Than Ad Agencies

I was very happy to see the results of a joint study with Worldcom PR Group, the largest partnership of independent PR firms in the world and the Transworld Advertising Agency Network (TAAN), a blue chip organization of advertising agencies.  The joint study discussed how PR is getting higher grades in social media, with good projections toward revenue growth in 2011, as reported by the principals of the agencies that were surveyed. According to the study, “PR executives and their advertising counterparts rarely see eye-to-eye, but a recent study found one area of agreement – both groups think PR is using social media more effectively.”

Elizabeth Sosnow, Managing Director of BlissPR and a member of Worldcom’s Americas Region Board of Directors conducted the study, and presented the findings to the TAAN North America meeting in Scottsdale, AZ.  The survey respondents were the principals of 25 firms in each agency network.  Some of the more interesting findings included:

PR Leads Social Media

  • 84% of PR respondents were pleased with their profession’s approach to social media campaigns.
    • Approximately 20% stated it was an “innovative marketing communications leader.”
    • About 64% said it was “keeping pace.”
  • By contrast, only 52% of the advertising respondents rated their profession either “innovative” at 12% and “keeping pace” at 40%.
  • Another 40% of the respondents said the advertising industry was “falling behind.”

Working Relationships

  • When asked to rate their sister professions, the results were similar.  The advertising respondents gave PR a positive rating of 67%.
    • Over 13% called it “innovative.”
    • About 54% rated it “keeping pace,” higher grades than they gave themselves.
  • PR respondents gave advertising higher marks than did the advertising chiefs, with a positive rating of 68%.
    • Approximately 20% “innovative.”
    • About 48% “keeping pace.”

Social Media Revenue Growth

Both marketing disciplines expect fees from social media work to grow in 2011.

  • About 44% respondents stated that fees would increase 5% – 15% in 2011.
  • Approximately 32% of the respondents stated that fees would increase by 15% – 25% in 2011.

The PR and advertising professionals have been working very hard to learn and embrace social media, understanding how it is integrated with other organizational communications.  Virginia Sheridan, President of M. Sliver Public Relations sums up the survey nicely, and I agree with her comments. She stated, “This survey has two major takeaways for me … First, both advertising agencies and PR firms foresee sustained growth in social media.  Second, it seems clear that such growth could be substantially enhanced by our professions working more closely together to capitalize on each others’ strengths.”

Congratulations to the PR and advertising professionals who are social media champions in their organizations … keep up the good work!