The research – which also revealed that 68 per cent of companies spend three per cent or less of their PR budget on evaluation – was presented by PRWeek editor-in-chief Kate Nicholas at the first in a series of Business School Seminars at Henley Management College.
Other trends flagged up by the research include an increasing belief that PR can be properly measured – just 13 per cent of respondents believed PR cannot be formally measured, down from 20 per cent when PRWeek last conducted a similar survey five years ago.
However, only four per cent of respondents allocate at least ten per cent of their PR budget to research and evaluation – ten per cent was a target set by PRWeek’s ‘Proof’ campaign, which launched in 1998 and aimed to encourage client companies to allocate ten per cent of their PR budget to research and evaluation.
Forty-six per cent of respondents said they rely on gut feel to assess campaigns’ effectiveness – a rise of 13 per cent over the past five years. Meanwhile, 30 per cent of respondents said they use advertising value equivalents (AVEs), up from nine per cent in 1999.
Nicholas said: ‘Overall, evaluation spend is up and looks set to grow. But the downturn has had an effect on how evaluation budgets are being spent.’
Also, there has been a surge in using evaluation methods that examine the actual effect of PR campaigns on a target audience, such as consumer surveys, polling and focus groups, according to the survey, which polled 185 PR agencies and public and private sector clients.
Fifty-six per cent of respondents mentioned focus groups as a PR measurement tool – up from 22 per cent five years ago.