Digital and social media budgets to rise, says PRCA research

Digital PR spending will continue to grow, as does confidence in practitioners ability to measure its impact, according to a PRCA Digital PR and Communications report.

The findings reveal that comms teams are taking ownership of digital and social media activities, with 61 per cent of PR teams claiming responsibility for their organisation’s digital PR output.

The seventh annual Digital PR and Communications report, sponsored and produced in partnership with Ginger Research, also found that 53 per cent of digital and social media budgets have increased over the last 12 months, with 49 per cent of respondents expecting budgets to increase in the next year - only two per cent say their budgets will decrease.

In addition, the most common response by in-house teams asked why their organisations did not have a larger social media presence was lack of time (39 per cent), lack of staff (35 per cent), lack of education (29 per cent), and lack of budget (27 per cent).

It found clients are using the majority of their budgets for video-based content (58 per cent) and are seeking agency support for this service. Paid social media activity budgets are also at 58 per cent.

The most popular social media platforms amongst in-house brands are Twitter (90 per cent) and Facebook (81 per cent). Over the last year Facebook’s popularity has increased by nine percent, while Twitter has dropped slightly by four. This is followed by LinkedIn (76 per cent), YouTube (69 per cent), and Instagram (63 per cent).

It’s a similar picture at agencies, however Twitter’s popularity has dropped from 91 to 85 percent. This is followed by LinkedIn (84 per cent), Facebook (80 per cent), Instagram (67 per cent), and YouTube at (50 per cent).

At agencies, the most highly-rated sources of social media education amongst agencies are expert blogs (47 per cent), external training courses (45 per cent), and conferences and events (45 per cent).

The areas in which brands need more education are social influencer outreach, video-based content, and digital crisis management.

The data shows that agencies are looking for more education in augmented reality/virtual reality (32 per cent), voice/search apps (25 per cent), and chatbots (24 per cent).

Red Consultancy managing director Danny Whatmough said: "Hopefully this report will be a useful way of untangling the trends we are currently seeing in the industry. Giving you comfort that you are on the right path or giving you some ideas as to areas that you might want to explore or develop."

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