Middle East PR pros still most commonly use AVEs for measurement - Census

More of the region's PRs use advertising value equivalent (AVE) than elsewhere in world, reveals landmark report, while digital and strategy is of increasing importance to practitioners.

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Evaluation remains a fundamental challenge for POR professionals in the Middle East, according to a major new study of the region’s communications sector.

Middle East gender pay gap 'significant' in female-dominated profession - PR Census

The inaugural Middle East PR and Communications Census by the PRCA, in association with YouGov and supported by PRWeek, quizzed more than 300 PR professionals in the region.

The Census, which incorporates comment from leading practitioners, follows last month’s inaugural PRCA Census of the Asia-Pacific region, both of which replicate the long-standing UK version, which has become the definitive research on the sector since launching in 2011.

The Middle East Census paints a picture of a diverse but stretched workforce, which is increasingly employing strategy and digital tools in its work.

Measurement ‘a fundamental challenge’

One of the key section of the report examined respondents’ views of PR best practice in areas ranging from AVE to the role of digital. 

It found that:

  • AVE is the preferred method of evaluation for 30 per cent of respondents - double the 2019 PRCA APAC Census’ 14 per cent figure, and four times the 2019 PRCA UK Census’ 7 per cent
  • A further 36 per cent use other forms of evaluation - the rest either don’t evaluate or don’t know what form of evaluation is used in their organisation
  • Digital, strategy and online functions are seen as increasingly important elements of PR, while sales promotion is becoming less important. This is in line with changes elsewhere in the PR world.
  • 34 per cent of PR practitioners in the region believe that PR is a profession. The majority (61 per cent) consider it an industry, while five per cent say it is neither. The majority of UK Census and APAC Census respondents this year said they considered PR a profession

Maria Cohn, MD of strategic comms for FTI Consulting, said: "Measurement remains a fundamental challenge for our industry. We have run out of excuses, though.

"Online, digital, data analytics, etcetera, are here to stay. We need to wrap our heads around this and use them in our favour."

In a joint introduction to the report, Omar Qirem, PRCA MENA chairman, and Melissa Cannon, PRCA MENA director, said: "Our Census is the most insightful and informative overview of the current state and future direction of the region’s PR profession. In an age where all smart organisations know the value of data and insights, it will provide food for thought, inspiration, and benchmarks to help our vibrant profession thrive during a period of historic transformation in the region."

Danny Rogers, Editor-in-Chief (UK and EMEA) for PRWeek, which partnered with PRCA MENA for the Census, said: "Over the years I’ve been writing about PR, I have been struck by how similar the problems, challenges, and opportunities are in all corners of the communications business. 

"The same is true when I consider this publication, alongside last month’s inaugural Asia-Pacific PR and Communications Census, and other pieces of industry research, including the long-standing PRCA UK Census, which was launched in partnership with PRWeek in 2011.

"The topics that this Census tackles - from demographics and diversity to measurement, professionalism, and wellbeing - are ones that every PR professional in the region needs to consider."


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